It always sounds like a good idea… Running together seems more original and productive as opposed to the normal dating options of meeting at a bar for drinks, or a cafe for coffee, or to get dinner and a movie. Whether it’s a first date or fourth, or you’re many anniversaries into a committed relationship, heading out for a run as a couple isn’t as easy as it sounds — or as romantic as Hollywood portrays it.
Thankfully, there are ways to run with your honey that don’t involve trips to a couples therapist or even sore feelings. With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, here are a few do’s and don’ts if you’re trying to plan a romantic run.
DO: FIND A FUN ROUTE AND TAKE IT EASY
Unless your significant other is at the exact same skill level as you, plan for this to be an easy run — and make it fun. That sweet trail with a waterfall at the end is infinitely more romantic than your normal 10K loop around an office park.
DON’T: FORCE A RUN ON SOMEONE
If your GF or BF simply hates the idea of running — let alone running together — don’t push the issue. Consider a hike instead. Or, if that’s even off the table, think of another fun activity you can do together, like couples yoga or stand-up paddleboarding, one where both of you will be beginners.
DO: PLAN FUN EVENTS AROUND THE RUN
Especially if you’re running with a non-runner, plan to start with a shared latte at a nearby coffeeshop before hitting the trails. Ease into the day, don’t spring out of bed and toss on your trainers. And plan something nice afterward, whether it’s a picnic lunch at a remote location or even a couples massage. (Or foot rubs at home, if you’re on a budget.) And even the most painful of calf cramps can be soothed with a chilled bottle of Champagne.
DON’T: RUN UNPREPARED
Especially if you’re running with a beginner, channel your inner scout and bring water and an extra gel or snack with you. A hangry date is never good — especially when you’re three miles from the nearest convenience store. A snack pack of almonds can go a long way toward getting back into your partner’s good graces after they bonk on a tough section of trail. Also, pay attention to the weather forecast. Another quick way to kill a mood is if the wind picks up during your run, or there’s a sudden downpour. (Note: The absolute worst thing you can do is pack your own jacket, put it on and then wonder aloud why your partner didn’t bother to bring theirs.)
DO: PAY ATTENTION TO YOUR SIGNIFICANT OTHER’S NEEDS
If your partner starts to lag behind on technical sections or on hill climbs, slow the pace to a walk, and — if you really want to keep the peace — huff and puff a bit alongside of them, even if you have to fake it, as a show of solidarity. Running is hard: Remember how brutal your first few miles were as a beginner? Now, imagine you’re running and trying to impress someone you love. Yep, it’s hard!
DON’T: BE AFRAID TO CUT IT SHORT OR FINISH WALKING
There is no shame in finishing a run by hiking your way out of the woods or taking the shortcut back to town. In fact, it’s probably smart to plan for a lengthy walking cooldown regardless, so you have more time to chat and enjoy the fact that you just had a great run together.