So Your Wife’s a Runner – What to Expect

So, the New Year has started and improved fitness is probably on a lot of resolution lists.  Running is a popular form of fitness and I am guessing more than a few of you have wives, girlfriends, or significant others who have resolved to start running, run a 5K, half-marathon, or marathon.  As a long time husband of a runner, let me tell you what to expect.

1. Sorry guys. It ain’t happening.

We have all seen what the men and women on the cover of running magazines look like.  A quick flip through the magazines will also turn up phrases such as: Improved muscle tone, increased self-esteem, weight loss, more at peace, increased energy, etc.  When one plugs those variables and pictures into any basic Dude-Calculator, we can clearly see that Running = More sex. It seems pretty clear and we all rush out to buy shoes, Gu, and anything else that will support her resolution.

However, the man-algorithm does account for one variable. The Long Run. For non-runners, most training programs have you run mid-week with your longest run being on Saturday.  Familiarize yourself with the following phrases, “Not tonight, I have a Long Run tomorrow,” “Not today, I had my Long Run this morning, ” “Not today. This is a recovery day from my Long Run,” and “Not tonight, I had to carb-load for my Long Run.” The Long Run is the Runner’s headache. Be forewarned.

2. Women run in packs

I consider myself a runner but train exclusively by myself. My wife finds it physically impossible to run without her pack. For some reason, it is virtually impossible for her to run outside of a neon-colored herd.

Apparently, in order for the runner-pack’s complex social hierarchy to work properly, the pack must also congregate outside of running.  Run-group coffee, brunches, girls-nights, races and drinks are integral to the pack’s functioning.  My wife attends more Run-group events without running shoes on than with them (See #1).  The pack also directly contributes to….

3. The Time Warp

Once again, Man-Math fails us. When I walk out the door I say, “Jazmine, I’m going to run 8 miles at about 8:00/mile.  I’ll be back in about 65 minutes and then I’ll take Ben to soccer.”

When Jazmine walks out the door, I hear, “We are going to run 4 miles at 10:00/mile.  I’ll be back in 4 hours. Don’t forget Ben’s soccer.”  The math does not add up to most men. However, we fail to factor in the pack-factor.  Runs also include pre-run coffee chats, brunches after,  got-caught-up-chatting-in-the-parking-lots,” or, worst of all, “I decided to stop into Target on the way home.”  When she steps out the door for a run, time becomes fuzzy and can not be measured by the usual instruments. Do not even try. The Time Warp simply can not be quantified.”  They say dogs have no sense of time and whether you leave for an hour or a week, it feels the same to them. The Runner Time Warp is pretty much the same.  It may also explain why The Long Run occurs once/week but can be mentioned seven days per week.

4. Gifts 

This Christmas, Jazmine said the words every husband wants to hear, “I want you to buy me underwear for Christmas.”  Of course I will.  In fact , I have several interesting options bookmarked on my phone as we speak.  Let’s talk about this!

We were on different wave-lengths. While I clearly was forgetting Point #1, my wife was showing me what underwear runners want for Christmas. Apparently, extra-warm, moisture-wicking, wind resistant (huh?), winter running underwear is a thing. And that thing is a mere $40. And it comes in beige. And I bought it.

Your gift list will forever now contain phrases such as: Gore-tex, hydrating, refueling, blister-preventing, safety, carbs, warm, functional, and orthopedics.

5. You Will Never Sleep

Allow me to circle back to the Long Run and the Pack.  As the gazelle needs its herd to bound across the African Savanna at daybreak, so too will your wife need her pack to Long Run at the crack of dawn. The gazelle is highly motivated every morning. Something about the threat of a lion eating them tends to get them moving.  The Long Run Pack’s commitment level varies from member to member and does not equal that of the gazelle.

As a result, between the hours of 5:00 and 6:00 AM on Saturday you will be awoken to the sound of her phone exploding with texts from the Pack. “Little Bronn has a cold. I’m out.” “My IT band is sore, I’m out.” “I’m not 100% sure where I am, I’m out.” “Yeah, there is no lion chasing us. My bed’s warm. I’m out.” I have made Jazmine change her text ringer to crickets chirping, so I can pretend that each text is the sound of a lazy gazelle getting picked off by a lion somewhere.

6. Finally, She Will Have Much More Fun than You.

In my experience, my female friends tend to enjoy running more than we do. My personal opinion is that  this is because women tend to generally be better human-beings than we are. I have been running about five years.  I have made zero friends through running. When I train, I do it solo, start with the thought of “Let’s get this over with” and come in exhausted.  I do not meet people at races as I am there to see how fast I can go, beat as many people as I can, get my swag and then go home.

On the other hand, my wife has an entire new network of running friends. She enjoys her training runs and seeing her friends.  She is smiling and laughing at all races. She spends time socializing and meeting new people after her races. Most of her friends are the same.

So, your wife’s a runner. What can you expect. Ultimately, you can expect that she is going to meet people, have a good time and will generally enjoy the experience. And you will enjoy watching it.

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