Relationships are hard work. Sometimes they can suck. But sometimes (most of the time, hopefully) you wouldn’t want to be with anyone else. No matter what relationship you’re in, everyone faces the same difficulties from time to time. Arguments can happen. It’s normal, but shouldn’t be tolerated.
That’s why I want to talk to you. I want to talk to you about how marathon running can help your relationship. Whether it’s the strongest it’s ever been, or you’re nearing a divorce – it doesn’t matter. Now: getting your spouse to run will be half the battle, and convincing them can seem as plausible as convincing them you’re a witch with eight toes and can fly on a broom. But it must be done.
And, from this, I have decided to make a list of reasons marathon running, as a couple, can be the best thing you can do in your relationship. Literally; the best thing.
1. You’re in it together
Cheesy or not, it’s true. You’re not alone, nor are you with just a friend. You’re with someone you’ve dedicated your life to. Someone who understands you. Someone who feels the same as you do about them.
You’re going to experience some rough patches. Times where you want to rip your partner to shreds. It’s all part of the journey. The journey which you will be embarking on together. Together is the key word here. You’ll both smell worse than the breath of a dog after eating its own excrement. But at least you’ll smell like it together. That’s all that matters.
Put all that behind you, and it can be fun. You’ll each have your own goals. You’ll be more empathetic with one another. If nobody can be bothered to cook or clean, it won’t result in a fight. But it will result in a “put your feet up and watch TV for a while.” When times get tough, you’ll begin to appreciate one another more. Who needs conventional counselling anymore when you can run a marathon?
2. Anger outlet
Being angry is never a good thing. It sucks, and it’s the root of all evil.
Depict this. You’ve had a rough day. Your boss is annoyed that you didn’t finish your report on time. Your friends don’t have time for you right now. There’s absolutely nothing good on TV for you to watch. You just got a bill from your credit card company that seems like someone’s playing a nasty trick on you. As you can imagine, you’re having a bad day.
Now, DO NOT let your anger get the better of you. Go for a run with your partner. Seriously. Talk with them. Discuss your feelings. Use this as an opportunity to show a bit of that good ol’ emotion. You’ll feel resoundingly better afterwards, and you probably won’t even care what your boss has to say. You could even turn it into a game: just don’t get fired.
3. The marathon itself is worth it
The training is just the start. The 26.2 mile race is just a distant thought. But when you’ve done the training, you’ll know you’re ready for the marathon. The journey with your partner only gets better from now on.
Not only will you be running alongside your partner, but also the thousands of other runners in the race. Not to mention all the people watching – chanting your name as you run past them.
The excellent thing about this, is that your partner feels the same. You’ll be running together, and get to experience the same emotions as each other. Nothing says “true love” than enduring torture together, and getting through it. Just remember that it gets easier. Not only the running, but being a couple. Because being with one person can be hard sometimes.
And, just to add: crying like a baby is not uncommon at the end. I don’t care how much of a man (or woman) you are. Don’t hold back. Don’t be emotionless. If you cry, you cry. If you’re a “man,” you may feel your masculinity take a hit, but who cares? Don’t try and please other people. If they mock you, then stuff ’em.
4. Sharing travelling experiences
We know marathon running is a continuous, never ending sport. If you’re lucky, you’ll be 90 before you consider taking a much needed break. You don’t just run one marathon and stop there. That’s not how it works. If you’re a serious runner, you’ll run as many different races as you can. This means you’ll have to travel. A lot. To other countries, states, and cities.
But it doesn’t stop there. You’ll be with your partner the whole time. Providing the plane or car doesn’t crash (we’ve had enough of them) in the process, you’ll find yourself traveling the globe in search for the best marathons. And you’ll run them together. Sure, it can be expensive, but so can any other hobby. The experiences are ones you’ll never forget.
Just don’t forget to actually do something to remember the experience. Don’t spend your days away from home cooped up in your hotel room. Get out. Experience the culture. Do something you’ve never done before. Go skydiving. You only get one opportunity. Don’t waste it. Do something fun with your partner. It’ll be worth it.
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. Marathon running is, in time, going to be something that couples participate in to grow, heal, and strengthen their relationship. Not conventional counselling. Think outside the box. Make your spouse read this article, from top to bottom. It could be the start to something far better than what you currently have. Even if you feel your relationship is as healthy as you think it’ll ever be.
Curt Davies is a marathon enthusiast who found the mental edge you need to finish a marathon. He’s compiled some of his best tips into a free download you can get at his website.