7 Keys to a Healthy Running Relationship

1. Keep It Honest Pace too fast, too slow? Say so! “If you’re both running uncomfortably, it’s not good for either person,” says Barbara Walker, a Cincinnati-based sports psychologist.

2. Speak From Your Heart Instead of saying, “You’re going too fast!” say, “I need to slow down.” That way, “You’re saying what you’re experiencing and taking care of your own feelings,” Walker says.
3. No Coaching Unsolicited advice is almost always a mistake. “The less proficient person knows you are more experienced and probably feels self-conscious,” says UNC professor Dennis Orthner. Keep quiet, unless asked.
4. Check Your Baggage “While your breathing is labored, your heart rate is up, and the adrenaline is flowing, it’s probably not the right time to have an emotional conversation,” says high-performance psychologist Michael Gervais. The physical stimulation “can heighten all the characteristics that occur during a fight.”
5. Watch Your Tongue “It’s easy for couples to get desensitised,” says Leon Hoffman, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist and veteran of 60 marathons. “Always be as civil with your loved ones as you would be with a stranger.”
6. Set Ground Rules Before their marathon together, Margaret Champion encouraged her husband to go ahead if he got the urge to target a time goal. “I’d much prefer that than me worrying about holding him back,” she says.
7. Agree to do Your Own Thing Nickie and Gene Matthews go out for a long run at the same time on the same route, but run at their own paces. “It’s very important that we give each other that space,” Nickie says. “I need that time outside for my mental health, and he’s the same way.”
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