Run-Love: 6 Tips to Balance Your Running and Relationships

Photos by Marques Jackson/ Filles Garçons Photography .

Photos by Marques Jackson/Filles Garçons Photography.

When I was in college, I used to break up with people when I needed more time to run. It would build up over the course of the relationship (usually a few weeks was long enough in my young mind), and I would get frustrated and stressed with all my school work, and training for track or cross country, and trying to see someone regularly, and, well, let’s just say running and school always came out on top. Sorry guys.


Later, fast forward past the dramatic early 20s, and I realized this militant approach didn’t have to be so severe. And people can be kind of, you know, good company, and such. Although it may seem overwhelmingly busy some days, it actually is possible to balance your relationships and your running program. Here are 6 tips to keep you running happy and loving hard:

Schedule your runs ahead of time. If you have a consistent schedule, it’s easier to identify when your best times to run are, and make a date with the pavement, track, or trail. If you’re like me with an always-changing schedule (oh, the entrepreneur life), then look at your calendar each week and schedule your runs in. It may mean some early mornings, some short runs on the go between errands, or some evening jaunts. But you’ll be much more likely to get them in if you plan ahead.

Get your partner into running. This doesn’t have to be as simple as getting your partner to run with you — although that is always welcome! — but is more about mental support. Let your lover know how much running means to you, how it helps you be more sane, calm and happy, and I bet 100% will then support you and your running. I mean, who doesn’t want to be with a calm, happy person? This support can be as simple as encouraging you when you’re trying to get out the door to run or more involved like cheering for you at races (marathon snack holder, anyone?). The main thing is to get your partner behind you in your running program and you’ll both feel better (and less likely to break up over needing running time).

Make time for romance. Just like you have to schedule time for running, make time for your relationship as well. If there is one thing my 21-year-old self was bad at (besides public speaking and not drinking), it was relationships. And a lot of this was from not making them a priority (see above intro). Which is fine, depending on your goals. But if you’re in a relationship, chances are you are there for a reason, so make it great. Whatever your schedule is, make time at least once a week to do something together as a couple. This shows your partner that running isn’t your only priority, and you really value them as a person. You can even get fancy and wear non-running clothes for this.

Remind them of your race ahead of time instead of freaking out and screaming “How could you invite me to drinks tonight?! I need my carbs and sleep!!!” at 6 pm on a Friday.

Communicate. Sometimes we get so sucked up in our training that we assume people know we have a long run Saturday, or will be gorging ourselves on pizza the night before. But everyone is busy, and your partner may forget or not realize when you have a big race or run. Remind them ahead of time instead of freaking out and screaming “How could you invite me to drinks tonight?! I need my carbs and sleep!!!” at 6 pm on a Friday. Mention big events ahead of time, or send a calendar invite, and you’ll both have much smoother sailing.

Show gratitude. If your partner comes out in the cold/wind/heat/rain/snow etc to cheer you on at a race, say THANK YOU! We are often so focused on our running that it can be easy to forget the other perspective: It is not always fun to stand and watch thousands of pained looking faces trudge by for hours during a marathon, to try to find your face in a sea of rain amidst a million other racers, or to get up at 5 am on a Saturday. Take a moment to appreciate someone is supporting you in this and give thanks to them.

Examine your priorities. If you still find yourself feeling chronically stressed and like your partner is holding you back, maybe it is not the right person for you. Sometimes we don’t make people a priority for a reason. So if you’re feeling the urge to literally run away from someone on the reg, you may actually want to do so. But in a clearly communicated, adult-type way.

Whatever you do, may you have many memorable runs ahead and experience much love.

What are your tips to balance your running and relationships? Comment below.

Resources: BetterHelp online therapy

Marnie Kunz is a writer, entrepreneur, and running coach based in Brooklyn, NY. For more articles by Marnie on running, health and NYC life, check out her stories on Medium.

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