Sweaty Sweethearts


Do you and your partner fall in sync with each other or do you clash on a run? Feedback says a couple who runs together, stays together. 

My mom and dad got back from a run a few weeks ago, huffing and puffing whilst telling me about a new trail they found near our home in Pretoria. “Beautiful,” my mom exclaimed, “and dad stayed with me the whole way!” It was a rather surprising occurrence, because he usually runs ahead of her. While she is trudging up steep hills and keeping a rather conservative pace, he’ll often run ahead, then turn back to run with her again, and sometimes even shuffles backwards up hills while promising to stay with her. That’s common practice for when they go out running together, and despite some of the frustrations this brings for both of them, there’s a lot that comes out of spending time together and sharing a common love of running.

Road for Two

If your partner likes to hit an early morning race and you like to do the same, there’s definitely a plus side here. He or she will understand what makes you get up rather than lie in on a weekend morning. And ‘getting it’ is a rare find. Planning a race together is a winner – whether you’re faster or slower, the journey there will be a shared experience that you both will remember. It’s also reassuring having someone with you at the finish line. Without sounding completely corny, working out together can help build that cooperative spirit.

But when it comes to running together, there are victories and downfalls by the dozen. There are a few things you’ll have to decipher – who’ll be running quicker, and can you manage to slow down for your partner? Is it a social outing or is it competitive training? Decide from the get-go whether you will be sticking together or not. If you have a little more fuel in your tank, tell your partner that you’ll be shooting ahead. Otherwise, you’ll just be left frustrated by the end of your session. The plus side of being together is having that constant support system by your side, pushing you to new levels and PBs.

We asked Modern Athlete readers if love and running can mix successfully.

Jennifer Ann Yeo: “Love running with my fiancé. My tempo runs might be his easy relaxed run, but it pushes me to run harder and he always runs back from the finish to meet me, which makes for a good finish.”

Stuart Wainwright: “We met on a half marathon seven years ago, ran three Comrades together, and countless other races. Now we are on day 115 of our consecutive running challenge and it is our little way to make sure that we get time together.”

Melanie de Bruyn: “My husband and I met at a race, we also got engaged at a race! We train together and run 10km races together – anything further than that, he ‘goes’ and I ‘follow,’ although he did run my first Comrades with me.”

James Allan Davis: “Me and my wife train together and I run at her pace. I also do my own training runs. We have run a few 21s together, the Spur Trail Series and the AfricanX. Great being able to share the journey with her!”