Ask the Coach: Sweet Togetherness?

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Although I’ve been an outdoor person in the past, I’ve become somewhat of a couch potato. Recently I picked up Trail Runner magazine and thought, “Why not?” But how can I convince my husband this would be a great thing to do together?
—Lois Hancock, Lancaster, MA

This article appeared in our June 2009 issue.

For better or for worse, I checked with my own husband, Michael, for his thoughts based on our 12-plus years of running and working out together. His advice is to first determine your expectations: Will you want to run together all the time or just occasionally? Then, you’ll have to determine whether your husband even wants to run, and, of course, what his expectations are. If he comes from a road-running background, selling him on the joys of trail running could be a slam dunk.

Coach has observed that women tend to enjoy the social aspect of running more while men tend to want to run. So figure out your running personalities and determine if they mesh. Once you have that down, it’s time to hit the trail. If you are together and one is slower, consider it OK for the faster one to go ahead and then loop back to the slower one as agreed. At some point, one of you will be faster or have a different goal, so you’ll need to adapt to maintain sweet togetherness.

“If she is faster,” says Michael, “he will need to be comfortable with that, which is sometimes tough for the male ego.” To be together but not glued at the hip, you could also do a warm-up and cool-down together while the stuff in the middle is sized to fit each of your needs, or some days can be totally separate, allowing you to discover your own running selves.

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