Running your relationship

What to expect from your fleet footed partner

Running is not just a hobby; it is a lifestyle. This sounds like a good thing right? And in fact it was a great thing during the courtship period when your future better half’s self-discipline, steely eyed determination and intense focus was quite inspiring. Now a couple of months (or years) later, you can’t quite understand why they can’t just miss  one day’s training, roll over on  the weekend when it’s raining and why it is so important to finish that 10th Two Oceans and get that blue number. If you are a trotter then as a running couple your marriage will “run” forever. If you are a non-runner, however, here is a short list of what to expect from your gazelle like partner.

  • Ugly toenails: Any self-respecting runner has at least one toe nail missing. If they are not completely gone then as the bare minimum there should be a black toenail! Ugly to the normal people, bragging rights to the runner.
  • Running weekends away: Do not be tricked by the promise of a romantic weekend away. If you google your heavenly breakaway you will no doubt pre-empt what your partner will tell you en route to the venue, that there is a half marathon that they have entered on the Saturday!
  • Always tired: Runners are always tired. But importantly, they are never too tired for another run at 5am. Runners don’t like standing a lot, nor taking the stairs and they definitely do like too much walking, even a romantic stroll on the beach might not be ideal as the beach has a camber, which could lead to injury. True story. Sitting is ok, but been horizontal is world class. Late nights are not ideal, because of course they need to run the next morning…
  • Niggles: Most runners normally have a niggle, no actual injury, which according to your partner could be an injury in the making. Niggles are mostly just aches and pains from too much running, and hopefully will pass, but there will always be a hip, calf, hammie or shin that is aching. This white noise can be blocked out, however, be ready when full blown injury strikes and your partner is unable to get that endorphin fix in the morning. Grumpiness, mood swings and general unhappiness will ensue affecting the household until trotting can resume. Physios, lynotherapists, chiro’s, biokineticist, acupuncturists and reflexologists will suddenly dominate breakfast, lunch and dinner conversations and although there was no money for a Friday night date night, there is plenty of Mandela’s for a treatment.
  • Always hungry: Trotters are always hungry. There are two reasons for this. The first of course is the obvious one, which is that the more your train the more fuel your body needs. The second reason, however, which might sound quite bizarre, is that runners do not want to carry any additional body weight. This is dictated by the muscle to weight ratio, which simply means that if you can keep the same muscle, but loose a couple of kilos you will run faster. As such, although starving, runners try to in fact not eat a lot. So basically runners burn more calories than people doing no exercise and then eat less than the average person as well. And so they are always hungry….I rest my case.
  • Shoes and race T-shirts: Any half decent runner has at least two pairs of shoes at any given time…for actual running. Then there are the older shoes, which is kept just in case the new ones do not quite make the cut (whatever that means ) Finally there are the shoes that are kept simply for sentimental value, as it was the pair you won a race in, came top ten or simply finished. All these shoes are stinky, horrible looking and might be located inside the house. The best you can hope to achieve is get your partner to move them to the garage, but do not give them to the gardener and definitely do not ever throw them away. The same holds true for race t-shirts.

The above might not blow your hair back and you might want to run for the hills while your still have a chance. However, there is some good news. Firstly you will have a healthy and happy (if not injured) partner at your side. Secondly you will end up with quite a lot of me-time, which will allow for tea or shopping with your girlfriends, or for the guys some ammies with your mates. Finally just be grateful that your partner is a runner and not a cyclist or god forbid a golfer. Cycling takes at least 4-6 hours on a Saturday and golf the entire day, excluding the 19th hole. A normal long run tales around 90 minutes and if all goes well your partner would have solved the world’s problems with at least 16 hours available just for you.

Lieuwe Boonstra

About Lieuwe Boonstra

Lieuwe is one of South Africa's most established triathletes. He is a triple SA Short course triathlon Champion, SA Olympic Distance Champion, SA Xterra Champion, double SA student Champion, Olympic Squad member and multiple podium finisher at the African Triathlon Champs. He represented South Africa in all forms of the sport and stood on the podium on all continents for over 12 years and filled 5 passports in the process. After 4 Epics and an Ironman he retired from professional sport at the end of 2011. He recently turned his attention to trail running, which he does not ever intend to retire from.

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