A Runner’s Spouse Survival Guide
1. The more expensive her running shoes, the lesser are her chances for injury. Or so she will tell you. And trust me – she’d better stay well clear of injuries (see p. 3 for details).
2. If your runner spouse hasn’t gone for a jog today she might be a little cranky. If you want a relaxing romantic evening ahead, do NOT under ANY circumstances prevent her from going for a run. There’s no point in explaining to her that it’s unsafe to run outdoors during a thunderstorm. You, as a couple, would be far better off if she got hit by lightning. It would be a small but necessary trade-off to ensure you’ll be spared a domestic cataclysm later.
3. Suppose that she has been sidelined by injury and has been boxed for an entire week. Do yourself a favour and hop on the first flight far away from her. Spend some quality time alone at the most remote destination you can find. Don’t worry! Your absence will go entirely unnoticed as she will be too busy carrying “the weight of the world on her shoulders.” For her, anything is better than having to put up with the irritating presence of an injury-free non-running husband, especially one who is wandering aimlessly around on his two healthy legs, cracking stupid jokes such as how “Taking a rest will make you the best”.
4. Should the missus inform you that she will be going out for a 1 hour run you might as well consider yourself a free man for at least 2.5 hours. Indeed, the running itself might take 1 hour, but you must consider that first she has to “Warm Up” and then she has to “Cool Down.” This is followed by shooting post-work out videos, at least 30 minutes of searching for the best lighting and angle for Instagram, as well as synchronising running activities across all running platforms and devices. It is quite possible that the longest running-related activity she undertakes is her constant inspection of who gave her Kudos on Strava. This might go well beyond dinner time.
5. You would be best advised to make plans only for yourself on Sundays. Unless you are also a runner, which only deteriorates the relationship, loading it with additional complications (see p. 13)
6. On race day, your sweetheart (who is a firm believer in the “don’t touch me while I sleep, sleep is my highest priority” and usually snoozes the morning away), is up at 6:30 am. She has transformed herself into this laser-focused, hyperventilating alpha-female psychopath, who is swallowing shaky handfuls of boosters and anti-diarrhea pills. Under no circumstances try to calm her down with resigned affirmations such as “There is more to life than running/racing”
You know nothing about life, as you don’t have one, you poor non-running mortal.
7. About your behaviour during the race: if you have chosen to support her by volunteering to provide her with gels and fluids at the aid stations, this is a very good move. Just be aware of the one pitfall to avoid — sharing your observations! There is a right and a wrong way to support your spouse. Statements akin to “It’s quite surprising that this leggy chick with abs firmer than yours is running ONLY 2 minutes ahead of you. Kudos for lagging behind her by so little, man” are flawed. The sentences you’re looking for are: “This woman that is ahead of you is obviously taking doping. There is no other logical explanation. That’s why sport doesn’t exist in Bulgaria, man.”
8. And the ultimate post-race advice. This one is written in stone. After the race ends, NOTHING you will say will go down well. If she has been running well, she will be snotty, big-headed and extremely irritating. How come you, the non-runner, could even dare to speak to her — the successful runner. You are not entitled to have an opinion, because you don’t know “what pain she has gone through during the race”, nor “what she has sacrificed to get here.” Let alone the fact that you still call a 5k run “a marathon”.
And if she didn’t run well…well, let’s just say that for your sake I really hope she ran well.
9. If you want a calm and peaceful evening, you need to set the mood in advance. This is textbook way to do it:
Ask her how the race went. Insist on learning every single detail of the race, broken down per km. Be prepared to learn about her struggles and pain in grueling detail. If you really want to give her the impression that you are genuinely interested, you can up the level and ask her to open her Strava account so you can fake interest by looking at her splits, while she speaks. A master level is achieved if you comment on her pace/cadence etc (haven’t you learned the meaning of these terms yet?).
A bonus tip: When you say “This was obviously an easy run for you, sweetie, your heart rate is just 192 bpm. I’m sure that if you pushed yourself harder, instead of opting for an easy run, you would finish first”- you should train your voice, so it sounds sarcasm-free.
All that is left to do now is listen to her following endless rant where she is describing her pain, her breathing patterns and especially her feelings and emotions that were changing with every 100 m of the 10 k race.
This is what my hubby looks halfway through one of these. Have a double espresso. Don’t be like him.
10. There is a possible predicament you should try to avoid, when you volunteer to check in the finishers at the finish line of a 6 k race. If the missus has finished second – only 12 secs after the champion, don’t tell her that the difference in your finish times is roughly about a minute. In your mortal, primitive, jungle, monkey brain 12 seconds might be close to 60 seconds. Indeed – against the backdrop of the trajectory of time, space and history of mankind, these two timings might seem interchangeable. In the brain of the runner, however, a 12 seconds difference in finishing times at 6K runs shows a similar running performance, while 60 seconds difference in finishing results displays a difference in the runners’ class.) 48 seconds make a whole world of difference for any runner. It will do you good to remember this number for good, as it equals the number of hours she will not speak to you after that.
11. All travel destinations will be firmly aligned with the regional and global racing calendar.
12. If you come across her PBs online, abstain from any commentary other than praise! You don’t understand a thing about running anyhow. If you blunder an ill-panned comment, you can still remedy this if you quickly heart all her photos from all races on her social media. Stay well clear from reacting to the photos of other female runners, especially from the photos of the “dopers”.
13. Have you decided to start running yourself because you want to have common interests? This is the Gravest Error Of All Times, especially if you are a woman and your alpha – male-macho-hubby has been running for a while before you join in. Every single time, when you have had the ill fortune to finish before him in a race your life would turn into a nightmare. For you. Probably for him too. For the rest of the day you will be bombarded with unsolicited explanations regarding his race performance. For instance – his shoes were tight. His shoes were so tight, in fact, that now (for some reason) because of YOU his toenail is black. Also, his spleen gave him pain. Actually, his spleen, his stomach and his lungs are all your allies, as they joined forces to put him through the highest possible level of physical discomfort and to give you an unfair advantage.
After that, he would point out that he was racing against men, while you were racing against women. ( “Exactly” – you think- “then why compare yourself to me in the first place?”)
Beating women is a piece of cake (he would carry on the tirade) … if you swapped places and he was racing against women, just like you did – he would be the one on the podium. After this unbeatable argument you know you should just give up the fight. The final straw will be back home, when he opens the cupboard and a pile of cluttered pots and pans falls directly on his head. He will accuse you that because of your running, you have neglected all your household chores. But we all know that this is called Karma. And Karma is a bitch.
Last, but not least if you are a runner family. Whatever happens, there should be no compromising race photos where you are ahead of him. On all tangible evidence that will remain for posterity you should be clearly marked as “behind him”. The least acceptable distance is two respectful steps behind Mr Speedy Gonzalez – aka Your Husband. See Exhibit 2 below.
Summary: For a peaceful family – don’t overtake your hubby at the races if you are a lady. And listen to and admire the boring racing stories of your wife, if you are a guy.