How to Run Together… Without Breaking Up

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How to Run Together… Without Breaking Up

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.


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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.

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  • M Anderson C

    Fun – and wise – piece!
    The other idea here is to do complementary activities, not identical ones. I always enjoyed running with my former partner who would cycle ahead and return. All kinds of nice dynamics from seeing your S.O. do their thing and you showing yours!

  • Matthew James Michael Shinners

    I definitely appreciate the article. The only thing I have found difficult with this is when you cannot motivate them to try anything different (bike, walk, or hike). Being a runner and an active person as well and not being able to motivate the other to even try puts a difficult strain on a relationship. I believe this is becoming a bigger and bigger part of a screening portion for relationships. Yet, I do understand the need to be patient and give the other an opportunity to find their own thing.