This post was written by Lindsay Webster and Ryan Atkins, and first published in September 2018.
It seems like the dream of any active couple: going out and running together for hours on end, pursuing your endurance goals as you cultivate a romantic relationship. But as anyone who has actually gone after this dream can likely tell you, it isn’t always sunshine, rainbows, long runs, and Lady and the Tramp-style-pasta dinners.
We should know; we’ve done probably somewhere in the realm of 100 obstacle events together over the years, but it’s getting through the really hard training days together, and all the extreme highs and lows that come with them, that have ultimately strengthened our relationship.
So take it from us: These 8 tips can help you sidestep any issues you might encounter when training and racing together as a couple, and help you work together as a team. Grab a protein drink, sit down with your significant other, and read on.
8 Top Tips for Couples Who Train Together
1. Don’t Get Too Competitive
A little friendly rivalry is good, but when you start competing too much or too intensely with your sweetheart, things can turn out poorly for everyone involved. Try not to race each other, especially in training. We like to do all our intensity on our own. If you want to cheer on your partner during their hard efforts, going on the bike beside them is a good way to motivate without throwing off their focus. Another good way is to get your partner to pull you along, on your bike with the brakes on. This is like a super motivating tire pull!
2. Don’t Be Judgy About Food
If you and your significant other are both trying to lose weight, don’t shadow what they eat. Guys and girls require different foods and different amounts. What you do in training will greatly affect what you eat and how much. Also, your body size has a massive effect on the number of calories you burn. So don’t shame each other for having a little snack when one of you is hungry. Make it healthy, reasonable, and move on.
3. Give Each Other Training Space
You can’t always train together, so don’t even try. Its natural that one person’s pace will be different than the other person’s. Work with it! For instance, if the faster person has to run tempo pace, and the slower person is supposed to run threshold, then it’s likely that your speeds might line up and you can run together. Warm up and cool down together. Hill repeats are a great thing to do together, because you can run your own pace, but you get to see each other over and over again.
4. Strength-Train Together
Doing strength workouts together is great motivation and you can just adjust the weights to make it the right difficulty for each person. On top of this, there are tons of 2-person exercises that you can do together.
5. Stretch Together
Stretching after a hard workout together is a great opportunity to talk about your training. What worked? What didn’t? How did you feel? Talking through these feelings is an invaluable way to assess your workout. It's much harder to be objective about your training if you don’t say it out loud. This way, if you truly felt terrible, you have the accountability of someone else to take it easy tomorrow.
6. Make Your Next Vacation Fitness-Focused
Next time you’re planning a vacation, instead of taking a cruise or sipping mojitos at a resort, use your fitness to explore a new corner of the world! Hiking and camping trips or running new trails in far away lands are an excellent way to stay active, explore, and reconnect with the natural world. You can get the stronger person to carry a little bit more gear. Don’t forget to reward yourselves with some tasty local food after you get off the trail.
7. Be Considerate
Sometimes, when you’re putting in big hours and things aren’t quite going your way, a Mudder can get a little touchy. It’s important to recognize this and be considerate toward the other person, even if sometimes it might seem like they aren’t being totally reasonable. Talk it through, have an ice bath, and move on.
8. Take a Training Break
Don’t forget to do non-active and non-sport related things together. When we’re not training and competing, we like to take on creative woodworking projects for the house together, and we both enjoy cooking and baking a lot. Disconnecting from your passion a little bit can bring you back to it with the flame burning brighter than ever!
Ready to run with your significant other? Sign up for a Tough Mudder event today.