One of the things missing from Hood to Coast (for me) was Michael.
After my second leg I had a lot of downtime. I was an emotional wreck. I’d been up for 26 hours and I’d run almost 12 miles (the most in one day I’ve ever done) and I felt so utterly alone. I didn’t know any of the people in my van. I was not friends with them, they all knew each other. I felt very sad. I called Michael to hear his voice and he talked to me and tried to cheer me up. It was a really hard experience.
Hood to Coast was MY challenge. It was MY experience. And despite it being a team activity, I was alone. That really opened my eyes to what I want out of these endurance challenges. I want someone by my side to support me and experience those things with me.
I read a great article from FitMarriage.com called “Keys to Running With (and Not Away from) Your Spouse”. I wish that Michael was a runner but he’s not and he has no desire to try. I’ve made peace with that. Running is mine. It’s my challenge and I’m okay with doing it by myself.
So what if you want to share your fitness with your partner? My advice: pick something both of you enjoy.
When I first met Michael he said he hated hiking. I thought, “Hm. Who hates hiking? And do I want to be with someone that hates it?!” I’m glad I decided “yes” because guess what? I managed to convert him to loving hiking.
That picture was taken on our very first hike together. He complained the whole time, saying “Hiking is hard” and “My feet hurt.” But it only took that one hike to convince him that hiking was something fun that we could do together. Not only that, hiking is GOOD EXERCISE!
Since that first hike together we’ve been hiking ever since. Converted. Hiking is something fun that we can do together. See new sights, exercise, and explore places we’ve never been. The best news: there’s always hiking nearby.
Michael loves riding his bike. When we first started dating he was building up his endurance on the bike so he could bike commute to work. It had been probably 5 years since I’d been on my bike. In the spirit of learning something he loved, I started bike riding.
Guess what happened? I loved it too! We started taking our bikes on vacations with us, seeing the sights on two wheels.
Then we got a hair-brained idea to participate in a group biking adventure.
Training with someone for an event is pretty awesome. It’s nice being able to spend the time together and work towards a mutual goal. It was definitely a relationship booster.
We went for all day training rides every weekend in preparation for Reach the Beach. It was grueling. I hadn’t really experienced intense training before. I had my struggles: my entire body being sore, crashing my bike, getting a flat tire, totally “bonking” during a bike ride and wanting to quit. Michael was my cheerleader and I was his. He kept me going, he told me to not be a baby because I CAN do this.
Working towards a common goal like Reach the Beach together created a deeper bond in our relationship, I think. And it also gave us stories to share!
Couple’s fitness doesn’t have to always be “Epic” either. Simply going for a walk every night after dinner together, or taking up something like tennis on the weekends is an excellent way to share the experiences.
Doing an activity like hiking or walking together also creates time to talk. It doesn’t have to be about intense topics or heavy “relationship” stuff. When Michael and I hike, he’d tell me stories about Mixed Martial Arts and sports, childhood memories…I’d tell him some of my memories, discuss vacation ideas, plan our next adventure.
Last winter I was happy to share my love of snowshoeing with Michael!
It’s such a fun experience AND a freakin’ hard workout! He had a great time and now we’re looking forward to snowshoeing again this winter.
Sharing a healthy lifestyle has so many benefits. Besides the above mentioned benefits, it also creates a support system. If one partner isn’t feeling motivated, the other partner can give them that push. Often times the only push someone needs is for someone to say “Put your shoes on, we’re going for a walk.”
QUESTION: Do you share any form of fitness with your significant other? What benefits have you experienced?