Love and Marriage and Long Distance Running

Originally posted by Gingko on April 3, 2013 (five years ago today).

Long distance relationships are hard, but how about long distance running and relationships? When you’ve got to go out for a 3-hour training run on Sunday and miss quality time at home, how do your loved ones feel? For those of you with a partner at home, does your training provide your mate with much-needed alone time, or does it put distance between you? I don’t know if it’s because I’m getting married in three weeks, but lately I’ve been finding myself feeling guilty for having running be such a priority in my day-to-day schedule when I never really worried about it before. Do you ever feel guilty or selfish going out on your daily runs? Is serious training compatible with married life?

I’m a known “people-pleaser,” and have a hard time saying no; but when it comes to running, I’m very rigid in my routine. If something is going to get in the way of my daily run, I’ll do my best to rearrange everything to make it work. Whether that means a 5 a.m. wake-up or driving separately to a family brunch, chances are I’ll do the run. With my upcoming wedding, I’ve learned this just isn’t going to fly. It’s not all about me and my running.

When I first started dating my fiance back in 2009, I wasn’t too keen on the give-and-take that a committed relationship meant. I think I’ve grown up to realize that running can’t be at the absolute center of my universe; it’s not realistic for what I want out of life. Now don’t get me wrong, I still take my running and training quite seriously, but I’ve become a bit less obsessed and a bit more well-rounded, and I’m prepared to continue to compromise. I try to put myself in my fiance’s shoes to better understand. He doesn’t run, he thinks of it as a punishment. He can’t imagine why anyone would go on a 3 hour jaunt, just for the fun of it. Why wouldn’t I rather spend time at home or out with him? Because, you see, running is a part of me, as I’m sure it is for many of you. I’m sure if you’re reading this you also feel that a day just isn’t complete without running (unless it’s a planned rest day, of course!)

I work full-time, am a part-time doctoral student for a weekend cohort program through Kent State University and train on the side for Brooks Daily Inspire. My fiance works full-time, is a full-time student working on a second degree and plays intramural softball, so we don’t necessarily get much time together. When the weekend rolls around, my scheduled 20-miler isx yet another reason why I can’t cuddle up and eat banana pancakes with my love.

Is it possible to be in a happy relationship with another busy person and be a serious runner?

YES!

Be flexible. It’s easy when you’re single and childless to get set in your own routines with running. I like to compare it to taking a shower. When you live alone, you can shower whenever you want! When you’re living with another adult, you’ve gotta work on the shower schedule so you both can get to work on time and both have adequate hot water to rinse out that shampoo. Same goes with exercise routines. For example, my sister has a 2 year old. She is able to take her in the running stroller sometimes but other times, her husband takes one for the team and skips a run until later so he can stay with the kiddo. It’s all about compromise and being unselfish.

Run in “fun” races together. My fiance and I do the races together that involve gimmicks and obstacles, especially the ones that end with a post-race celebration or beer. I certainly can trick him into thinking racing can be fun! We ran two Color Runs together last summer and had a blast. Key word here: compromise! Try to involve your significant other in your love of running. Who knows, maybe they’ll get addicted too! But keep your expectations in check.

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Do the little day-to-day things that just show you care. A smiley face text or a quick “i love you”; a hug before hitting the trails or a smooch afterwards. The little things that remind each other how much we care can make all the difference! This can be applied to any relationship where running can cause time away.

Make Time. If you have time for running, chances are you have time to nurture your relationships. We try to have one evening that is just for us. Whether it be a movie night, a quick happy hour, or just lounging on the couch with our Weimareiner watching Bob’s Burgers or the Simpsons, we make sure we keep each other a priority!

Support each other in our varying athletic preferences. I go to his mid-summer softball games and roast in the sun without anyone but testosterone-ridden fans surrounding me. He comes to my fall half marathons and freezes to death for THREE hours when it’s all said and done. We make it a point to be there for each other and show how much we care, regardless of the irritations that come along with being a spectator. We are each other’s #1 fans!

Since being with my fiance, I haven’t trained for anything longer than a 1/2 marathon, so it hasn’t been as extreme of a situation for us. Back in 2007 and 2008, my 3 hour training runs were frequent and may have posed more of a problem. Right now, I can’t imagine training for a 100-miler or anything of the sort, but I’d love to hear how you deal with this. Is it possible to get it all in while not feeling like you’re neglecting someone? How do you make it all work?

Sal is a 4 year old 77 hour trail marathoner looking to whittle a few minutes off next time. Being a gastropod, Sal is neither male nor female but will accept either set of pronouns. Sal's spirit animal is the cheetah and Sal's mantra is, "What's slow to some is fast for others." Sal writes about Salty Running news.

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