It was cold. It was windy. It was hilly. And it required me to run more than twice the distance I’ve ever attempted to run before.
It was also one of the best experiences I’ve shared with my wife lately.
I recently completed my first 5K run in support of Ovarian Cancer Awareness. Running in memory of a close family friend who recently lost her battle with this under-recognized disease provided plenty of motivation to tackle a hilly course in pretty nasty weather conditions for my first 3.1 mile run. And being surrounded by friends took a bit of the chill out of the air.
However, what made this day particularly special was sharing it with my wife. While it was her first race since giving birth to our third child 10 weeks earlier, she really enjoys running and has completed numerous 5K events over the past few years.
Me? Let’s just say I’m not much of a runner. Basketball, tennis, hiking, or 100 miles on a bike is cool with me. But the idea of running 3.1 miles on purpose hadn’t occurred to me before. 🙂
How to Run a 5K Race with Your Spouse…and Actually Enjoy It!
There are a lot of potential pitfalls in running a race with your spouse. This is especially true when one of you is an experienced runner and the other happens to be an ultra-competitive baby at times. Here are some tips on how you can share a 5K with your spouse and love it:
1. A Little Training Goes a Long Way
While 3.1 miles is a warm-up for some people, it’s a real challenge if you’ve never run that far and/or you just had a baby. In order to prepare for the event, my wife and I simply spent some time running for a couple weeks leading up to the race.
I had a great base level of fitness from my ongoing use of the Thrive90 at-home workout system, but I needed to put some miles on my legs and get rid of the associated soreness. My wife needed a chance to ease back into working out postpartum.
And so we ran. With three kids at home, we rarely (if ever) get to run together, so we simply took turns caring for the kids while the other one got in a 30-minute run or walk. When weather permitted, we took brisk walks with our children in tow.
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2. Do NOT Compete with Each Other
We talked to each other before the 5K and agreed in no uncertain terms that we would not be racing. At least we wouldn’t race each other because we knew nothing good would come out of that under the circumstances.
This rule prevented us from resenting each other during the race, and it really improved the level of support that we provided one another. It helped us run as partners and not opponents.
Now, if you and your spouse are both strong runners and you both agree you’d enjoy some friendly competition, then feel free to race. However, I’d encourage you to establish the ground rules ahead of time. And don’t talk too much trash!
3. Run at Your Own Pace and Encourage Your Spouse
In addition to not competing, we agreed upfront that there would be no expectation that we run the entire race together. We each brought our own iPod and ran at our own pace.
This turned out to be very important as I ran at a slightly faster pace, and it would have been uncomfortable for me to slow down and wait for my wife when it’s not my natural speed. I turned and smiled when I could, and we exchanged looks of true support and enthusiasm throughout the event.
After crossing the finish line, we met with a giant sweaty hug and a lot of pride. She was proud that I could actually run 5 kilometers without the need for her to cash in my life insurance. And I was amazed by her abilities to persevere for 3.1 hilly miles so soon after giving birth.
It was an awesome day that we’ll remember and cherish for a long time. And guess who is planning to join his wife for her next 5K? Yep, I have a new Personal Record to break!
Have you ever completed a 5K race or similar event with your spouse? Did you enjoy it?