According to some people, the thought of running a race with their significant other or a friend is the worst imaginable thing on the planet. An event where surely one of them would end up wanted for murder, or both partners ending up completely crazy and splitting up. But, have no fear. It is possible to run a race with the one you love and and finish both with smiles.
Here are some tips:
1. Training runs:
Just like you don’t run a marathon without training for it, you don’t run a marathon with your significant other without logging a good amount of miles together. Start a training program and get those long runs in together. Training runs are where all the mistakes can happen and where all the kinks get worked out. Figure out what works for you both. Team work can be a huge factor here. Now you have two heads to stay on top of nutrition, hydration, mileage and distance.
2. Don’t get defensive:
Admit it. When things aren’t going exactly hunky dory, you can get irritable. Throw a 3 hour training run, some hunger and sore legs into that and you might be looking at a recipe for disaster. This could be perfect brewing grounds for some unnecessary arguments between the two of you. If your partner is saying enthusiastically “hey honey we can totally run this section” and you’re thinking I can’t even walk this section, don’t get grumpy! You’re both going to struggle at different times. Use their positive energy to get you through this hurdle. Plus the roles might be reversed soon and you’ll appreciate a positive response from them.
3. Don’t compete with each other:
You’ve set out to do this together, and it’s supposed to be fun. Don’t get competitve with each other. If you agree to start the race and run it together, don’t let the competion of the race get to you if your partner is starting to slow down. There will be other races so don’t hurt your partner in the process by leaving them in the dust if you’re feeling really good. Support them and stay positive!
If you’ve put the time in together (in and out of running shoes) you probably trust each other more than most other people on the planet. If they are saying you need to drink or eat more, you probably need to drink or eat more. Do not be stubborn. Listen to their advice. This becomes even more important the longer distances you run. In a half marathon, nutrition isn’t as much of a game changer as say in a 50km. Having that person there to get you through a low can be a game changer.
5. Embrace the highs and the lows:
Just like in any race, you’ll experience a bit of both along the way. When you race with someone, you’re not alone in your waivering emotional state. Learn to read the body language of your partner, when they are feeling low, stay positive, pump them up, support them. A positive attitude can change everything. You might feel ups and downs at different times so it’s important to help each other through the lows to keep the overall mood high. Nothing is worse than two grumpy runners!
5. Have fun with it:
We sign up for races because we want to. We pay money to suffer out there for hours, so try and enjoy it! You’re there because you chose to be and there are a lot of other places you could be instead! Enjoy the race together, it can be such an amazing bonding and strengthening experience for any relationship. Maybe dress up in a costume, match or wear a funky hat. Do something to make you two stand out as a team. Keep it light hearted. If you’re running together, you probably aren’t out to win the race, so just relax, take the edge off and enjoy every minute of it. When you are feeling a low, take it lightly. We kept things funny when we were suffering, we fantasized about the first thing we were going to eat when it was all done and made up elaborate celebrations such as swimming in our own private infinity pool. Whatever gets you through!
6. Hold hands across the finish line:
When you finally reach your goal, cross it together! Grab each others hand and celebrate the accomplishment that you conquered together. You started the race, ran the race and now finished the race side by side. Bask in the glory of the finish line you are sharing. It is a pretty special moment to accomplish something together.
Have you ever ran a race with a friend or significant other? Leave your story in the comments below!