My husband doesn’t like running, and that’s an understatement. He’s that guy who played sports in high school, and to him, running was punishment for not completing a tackle or kicking the soccer ball off-sides. We runners turn this around to mean we’re hardcore: “Our sport is your sport’s punishment.”
Yes, my husband believes that completely: on a recent 20-degree morning, with ice-covered sidewalks, he thought there was something wrong with my head. Why would anyone in their right mind voluntarily go run in this cold?
Well it just so happens that, given the right frame of mind, a ball-playing non-runner husband might voluntarily go run in the cold.
If your husband isn’t active it might be a lot more difficult, but most men have some experience with sports and a lot of pride. My guy plays softball, flag football, and basketball in co-ed adult leagues, and I since he’s no couch potato I figured he’d make a semi-decent runner at least.
I convinced him to run a race with me, his loving (CRAZY) runner wife, by playing into his love of another sport. Back in the beginning of November, I strategically hinted at running the Buckeye 4-miler race together. He is an Ohio State University alum, the race ended on the 50-yard line of the Horseshoe, and the medals were detailed, etched and heavy-duty replicas of the stadium. He really couldn’t say no to this one.
And it could be a fun, bonding experience, right?
We started back in the 11-minute mile corral (there were 10,000 runners), and it was windy and cold. Luckily, the strength and conditioning coach for the OSU Buckeye team, Kenny Parker, kept the crowd entertained with his drills and my hubby, huge Buckeye football fan that he is, was eating it up. We regretted starting back that far but being new to racing, one goal he had was to run negative splits and prevent going out too fast. He averaged a 9:30 pace (not too shabby for a non-runner), with a 37:58 finish. I tried to be that supportive wife throughout without being annoying. I let him pick the pace but tried to push him in the middle, once his feet starting feeling like “concrete,” as he put it.
To his surprise, I actually was right–it was a fun bonding experience! He really enjoyed his first race with me! I think it had something to do with getting two full-sized bottles of wine for finishing, but either way he voluntarily suggested we run another race on Thanksgiving.
Last year, he cheered for me at the Cleveland Turkey Trot. This year, we decided to have a “Staysgiving” with some friends and he suggested we check out the Flying Feather 4-miler, a local race here in Columbus. It took me about 10 seconds after this conversation to get us all signed up, before he could change his mind.
Though he pleaded that we skip it when we woke up to 20 degree weather that morning, the hardcore runner in me (and the fact that we’d already paid 90 bucks) convinced him we’d be fine if we bundled up. We started with the 9:00 milers this time to get moving a little quicker, but I didn’t do the best at pacing and we went out a little too fast. He didn’t achieve the negative splits he wanted, but he did PR by 27 seconds with a 9:23 pace throughout, finishing with a 37:31.
It’s so exciting to me when new runners are just learning their potential and can pretty much PR at every race! It’s so encouraging to him that he’s beginning to embrace the whole running thing, and I’m super lucky to have a guy that gives anything a shot for me! On the other side of the coin, he once tried to get me to sub at a flag football game this fall, and I refused. Contact sports aren’t for this klutz (just sayin’!)
But with a little encouragement, even your non-runner spouse can be plied out onto the roads for a race or two. And who knows, if he starts to see those new-runner PRs maybe he’ll even start to get curious about (gasp!) training!
Does your significant other embrace our sport? If not, how do you compromise on spending your free time?