How to Cope When Your Significant Other Is a Runner
It's Not You, It's Him
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If your partner trains regularly, particularly for distance events, it can feel like he spends all of his free time running, recovering, foam rolling, cross-training, racing or simply talking about running. Yes, your partner is probably borderline obsessive compulsive, but this is a common trait in dedicated runners; it's what drives them to keep running week after week, year after year. The bright side: Your sweetie likely channels this determined work ethic and devotion to other areas of his life. It might be one of the reasons you love him.
She Spends Soooo Much Time Running
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Although you may not understand why your beloved would voluntarily rise at 6 a.m. on a weekend to run 20 miles, or arrive late for dinner because she was running intervals around a track with her teammates, it's very unlikely that she trains so hard because she doesn't want to spend time with you. Runners train and compete for many reasons, but most of the motivations originate from a desire for self-improvement or self-discovery. Running is a self-centered hobby, so if you're feeling neglected, talk to your partner. Or use the time when she's training to do your own thang.
Who Invented the Run-Cation?
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You were thrilled when he mentioned the idea of flying to Oahu in December, but quickly cooled when he mentioned the words "Honolulu Marathon." Going to bed at 9 p.m. every night while visiting a tropical island; attending a hot, crowded expo; and schlepping around the race course trying to hand off fuel or an iPod while shouting encouragement doesn't sound like an ideal vacation to you. How can you both win? Make sure your honey agrees to stay put for a few days post-race so you both can enjoy his recovery break by lazing in paradise.?
Her Post-Run Stench Wilts the House Plants
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No matter how many outlets you stuff with plug-in air fresheners, you know when your honey's home from a run: You can smell her from across the house. It's hard to believe that your delicate-as-a-rose beauty could emit such hobo-like odors. It doesn't help that she often lingers in her running clothes, foam rolling or stretching, completing core work, or blending a recovery smoothie. Short of following her around, spritzing Febreeze in her wake, there's not much you can do except encourage her to change into dry, clean clothes before puttering around post-run.
His Race Is the Only Thing Going on in the World
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You know the pre-race taper has begun when he moves to the opposite side of the room when somebody sneezes, worries about adding a few pounds to his slender frame, and pretends to appreciate this period of more rest than running. As you tiptoe around the house the week before his race because of his earlier bedtime, and shuttle the kids around town to their Saturday practices and soccer games so he can pick up his bib at the expo and put his feet up all day before his Sunday race, you take solace in the fact that the two of you will enjoy a week or two of post-race recovery time on the couch before he starts talking about what to train for next.
Why Is It So Hard for Her to Take a Break?
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She runs while on vacation; she doesn't know what to do with herself during her offseason break; she's on edge when she tapers for a big race. You're astounded that one sore IT band can create so much turmoil for a person. You might wonder how healthy running actually is if it makes your partner so dependent on it. Your dearest is likely addicted to the endorphin rush running provides, the gratification that comes with adding another mile or workout in her training log, and the confidence that training and racing imparts. It's not an exaggeration to say that you only truly understand what goes on in the minds of runners if you are a runner. She may be slightly neurotic, but then again you might feel the same way about something you're passionate about.
His Running Clothes Choke the Laundry Hamper
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That acrid post-run stench can be elevated to a whole new level of foul when running clothes are draped over the laundry hamper to dry. Waiting a week or more to wash the offensive gear can cause odors to permeate, but it's also wasteful to wash a tiny load of workout clothes every day because there's no way you're combining your silky unmentionables or favorite pair of jeans with those things. As you may have found out the hard way, dry-quick materials come with their own set of washing rules, including no bleach or super-harsh chemicals and little or no time in the dryer. Hanging wet running clothes in the laundry room or bathroom is hardly ideal, but it'll prolong the life of the clothes, and that gear is pricey. The same care rules likely apply to your Victoria's Secret bras, so you're even.
Why So Fixated on Numbers?
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He just emerged from the finish line chute of his fifth marathon and greets your enthusiastic wave and congratulatory grin with a frown. Your heart sinks as you realize that he must have failed to surpass his personal best. Yes, he smells worse than the pair of "good luck" socks he refuses to wash during football season but wears every Sunday during games, and yes, his exhaustion might make it hard for him to analyze his performance rationally, but you throw your arms around him tightly anyway and tell him you're proud of him. While you might never understand why he endures months of hard training only to be disappointed on race day, you admire his ambition. And you've learned the hard way to show your support quietly until he's climbed out of this funk (and he will) on his own.
Her Running Friends Are So Boring
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It's late Sunday morning and you forgot that she's hosting a post-long run brunch for her running group. You swoop into the dining room, grab a bagel and then duck out before anybody can ask you what you've done so far with your day (because you don't like how "slept in and read the paper" compares to running 15 miles). Their chatter blurs in your brain like the white noise the parents in the Peanuts cartoon make. It's hard not to assume these people's interests are anything but one-dimensional when all they do is talk about running when they get together.