Ask runners about the love of their life and the chances are they will say ‘running’…. before correcting it with ‘well, after my husband / wife / boyfriend / girlfriend / significant other, of course!’ Juggling a healthy love life alongside an often-selfish running obsession can be a balancing act that requires careful navigation to ensure all parties remain happy. Ahead of Valentine’s Day 2018, we asked some of our inov-8 ambassadors for their tips on this delicate matter of the heart.
*UK ultra runner Marco Consani, whose wife Debbie shares in his passion for racing over epic distances, has the following advice (Marco and Debbie are photographed above):
MARRY A RUNNER
We both have pretty hectic training schedules and a family life, but in many ways that makes it easier. We both appreciate and understand the commitment and time that’s involved, so there’s no resentment. Saying that, we still have to be mindful of each other. I can’t disappear to the mountains for the day when she’s got a long run to do too.
STICK TO THE PLAN
Know you training schedule at least a week in advance and work out when you’re going to run. It’s easy to drag a three-hour run out over six hours because you’re waiting for the rain to stop. Whatever you do, don’t procrastinate. Get out and use your allocated time wisely.
MAKE THE MOST OF LUNCHTIMES
If, like me, you’re not blessed enough to turn professional athlete, then work is always going to get in the way! Instead of using up valuable time in the evenings and weekends that could be spent with your loved ones, try and do as much training as you can around your working day. Unfortunately, my 60-mile commute to work doesn’t allow for a run, but I lace up my running shoes most lunchtimes. I’ve got a great bunch of guys to train with here in Edinburgh – and we’ve got the perfect training ground Arthur’s Seat) right in the heart of the city. I just live in hope that my boss can’t see my Strava account!
SHARING IS NOT ALWAYS CARING
I’m a real stats geek. My wife’s eyes glaze over when I start reeling off splits, pace, HR, cadence etc, so I try to save that fascinating chat for the guys I go out running with at lunchtimes!
You don’t have to spend the whole day travelling to the far-flung mountain trails. Instead, find alternatives closer to home. I can, quite literally, make a mountain out of a molehill by doing repeats of my local 1,000ft high hill.
*US ultra runner Scott Dunlap and his wife Christi will celebrate 25 years of marriage later this year. Here are a few tips he’s learned along the way about being a runner married to a non-runner.
A POST-RUN TREAT FOR HER
If I get to run, then we exchange five-minute massages when I’m done. Now we’re both excited for me to run!
SHARE THE SHOE LOVE
One thing that kills the romantic mood quickly is shoe envy. If I get a new pair, she better be getting something awesome too. Even non-runners love some kick-ass shoes!
The best gift she ever gave me was an outside shower. Keep your mud and dirt outside of the house and everyone inside it happy. Honestly, this is a life changer.
*US ultra runner Amy Rusiecki and husband Brian both love hitting the trails and together. Amy is also the race directors for the Vermont 100. She advises:
BE EACH OTHERS GOOD CONSCIENCE
I sometimes feel lazy and can’t get my butt out of the door, but appreciate it when my husband offers to run the first mile or so with me. This gets me moving. Most of the time, once I’m going, I’m likely to finish my planned run. This also works when the alarm goes off super-early, and I find it hard to motivate myself out of the door. Brian pushes me out of bed and makes me get my run in!
SET TIME ASIDE FOR EACH OTHER
As we both run, this can take up huge amounts of time, especially on weekends. We typically set a plan where no matter what is happening we’ll be home by a certain time on Saturday and Sunday afternoons. This gives us a bit of non-running time together at home.
CELEBRATE IN NON-RUNNING CLOTHES
Celebrate the moments in non-running clothing. Brian and I spend much of our time together in running clothes, so when we go out together, or on special occasions, we both try dress in non-running clothes (i.e. that means a real bra for me, and shorts that have longer than a three-inch seam for my husband!)
SHARE TAPER TANTRUMS
Often we will plan to do the same key races. This allows us to hit maximum training volume at the same time, go through taper tantrums together, and hobble during recovery alongside one another.
*UK trail and mountain runner Gary Priestley has these tips, drawn from his own experiences of love and running:
MAKE RACES ABROAD INTO A HOLIDAY
Plan races abroad (two or three a year is the recommended amount) in scenic, mountainous areas and invite your partner along as support crew. I find Italy and France go down well. Plan the trip for three to seven days so you can make it into a mini holiday, that way you get to do the race you’ve always wanted to do and your partner gets a break in a beautiful place too. Get it right you might not have to go on that awful beach holiday you dread each year!
USE THE TELEVISION TO YOUR ADVANTAGE
Remind your partner that if you are out running and they aren’t, the television remote is all theirs and they can watch as many episodes of that boring Netflix series they love and you detest. Train often enough and you might even get away with watching the odd bit of sport on the television too!
*US ultra runner Yassine Diboun, who set a Fastest Known Time for a supported-run of Oregon’s 453-mile portion of the Pacific Crest Trail in 2016, is married and has a young daughter, Farah. He advises:
FIND THE PERFECT BALANCE
I live a highly active and busy life that involves lots of running and adventuring for my own training as well as owning and operating a business that demands a lot of energy. Because of this I do a few things to try and balance this out. For instance: After a big race I plan on three to four weeks of minimal running. This allows me to ‘fill up other cups’ in my life… i.e. spend more time with my wife and family, clean the garage, work on home projects – all these make her very happy!
GO ON RUNNING DATES
My wife is not a super-competitive runner, but has started to really like trail running. We recently began using a babysitter so we can go out on running dates together. She’s really enjoyed these runs (as long as I don’t talk too much!)
*Norwegian mountain runner Eirik Haugsnes is married and has a young family. Time is precious, so he suggests:
HIT THE KITCHEN – THEN THE TRAILS – BEFORE BREAKFAST
Always empty the dishwasher, take out the trash and leave a note saying ‘I love you and the exact time of your return’ before you sneak out on your pre-breakfast morning run. There are two reasons for doing this. The obvious one is she/he will be happy that the most boring kitchen work is already done. The second is that the note tells her/him when to have the morning coffee – and hopefully some food too – ready for your return!
*Germain Grangier (France) and Katie Schide (US) are a boyfriend-girlfriend duo who have quickly become one of trail running’s power-couples. Outstanding talents in their own right; put them together and, as proven in 2017, they’re almost unstoppable (read more about their successes). Their tips for juggling a healthy love life and a running obsession are:
EAT, EAT, EAT
I get my boyfriend motivated to run with me by promising there will be an all-you-can-eat buffet every hour. Taking him to a race is much cheaper than a restaurant!
BE A TRUE GENTLEMAN
I get my girlfriend excited to run with me by letting her ride on my shoulders when she is tired! Previously she used to be a horse rider, now she is really into running.