A couple that sweats together, stays together.
Or so the sickly sweet, his-and-hers coordinated lycra-wearing couples on Instagram would have you believe. But fearing that my reluctant-to-run husband and I may fall foul of this fortune (and knowing it would be great to share something I'm really passionate about with the person I love the most), I've been trying to convince Andrew to run with me.
It's not that he can't run – he plays baseball and has even run races with me in the past – he just doesn't understand why anyone would choose to do it when they're not earning a hunk of metal or running away from a serial killer. So I set out to try and convince him that running for no real reason can be fun and somehow it worked! This is how I did it...
1. Be Enthusiastic
Most runs are naturally brilliant. You probably already struggle to stifle pre-run glee and post-run joy, so no problem there. But every once in a while you'll have a bad day and find it hard to kick yourself out the door. It's these occasions that you'll need to keep quiet. A reluctant runner will never be convinced to get out there if they see you having to drag yourself out for a slog around the block. Keep up the excitement about running and they'll start to feed off your enthusiasm.
2. Bribe them with Kit
Who could turn down a shiny new pair of trainers?! SportsShoes, the price-matching online provider of all things running, kindly helped me bribe Andrew with a pair of Asics GT-1000 V2 shoes. They look great (and are apparently very comfortable with enough support to help his supination) but they're just on the right side of the trainers-that-should-only-be-worn-for-sport category. Of course, any piece of kit will serve the same purpose, so long as it's running specific.
You could also try rewarding your partner after each time they join you for a run. Stopping short of treating them like a pup in training, you could strike a deal where each run equals a big fat slice of cake and a bucket of tea or making it your turn to do the dishes.
3. Make it Easy
If your boyfriend, girlfriend, husband or wife hasn't really run since chasing down the 243, any sort of distance will sound a bit intimidating. Keep any proposed runs time rather than distance based, perhaps suggesting a 20 minute trot instead of planning a route based on kilometres.
I also make it clear that walking is absolutely allowed – we're not going out for a serious run, it's meant to be enjoyable. We've been walking from our house (so the neighbours don't see), running a bit once we get round the corner, walking to catch breath, then running again.
4. Find Distractions
My husband reckons plodding pavement is boring. Agreed. So when I take my husband out for a run, I make sure we go somewhere interesting. Choose somewhere pretty, where the views will distract your partner from the effort of running. If that's not an option, make sure you trot along at conversation pace, so your run feels more like a moving chat.
The most successful distraction I've used seems to be continually taking moving selfies. My husband thinks I'm nuts – galloping in front of him with my arm in the air, waving my phone around in an attempt to capture us running together – but by the time I've finally got a good picture, we've run a kilometre and he's none the wiser.
5. Add Some Friendly Competition
We're not a hugely competitive couple but if one of us throws down a challenge, the other is likely to take it on. Our return journey includes a steep but very short hill. I jokingly suggested racing up it and my husband was up it like a shot! And this was after turning back because he just couldn't run any further.
After beating me to the summit (his legs are twice as long as mine!) his confidence grew, along with his taste for competition. He decided on a sprint finish to our door. Admittedly, he started a little too early and I flew past him to claim victory but the fact that he'd suggested running fast is a complete win.
Do you have any tips to get your partner running?