January 31, 2018

to have and to hold

from this day forward;

for better, for worse,

for richer, for poorer,

in sickness and in health,

to love and to cherish,

to run marathons together… and not argue or bicker about whose faster…

Marathon training with your other half – good idea/bad idea?

Ask me, and I’ll say it’s a great idea – I have someone to get lost with, someone who can give me that extra push when it feels tough, someone I can chat with… and ultimately someone else who understands the commitments needed to do it.

Ask my husband and he might say, its ok – but I wish she wouldn’t chat quite so much!

We haven’t always run together, in fact for the majority of my Brighton marathon training I was alone, with him joining me for some of the longer weekend runs. He had no desire to run a marathon, no interest to run one – he was just joining me for some weekly exercise.

I don’t know when he decided to sign up a marathon – but he did (he will categorically tell you that ‘Marathons are stupid!’ actual quote from him after Windsor marathon!). He signed up to do one because he was already doing some of the longer runs with me and it seemed like a good idea.

Long story short – he got injured, he moaned a lot – I ran alone a lot… when we did run together I was banned from talking too much, but guess what that was a year ago and we are still married! Winning!

Fast forward to now… last year I ran 3 marathons, he ran 2 – we ran one together (Windsor Trail Marathon) which marathon was my favourite… tough call because each had their merits, but favourite in terms of most enjoyable probably was the Windsor one, we ran together the whole way.

I had a tough first half, he helped me through – he had a tough second half I shouted at him to keep running, because that’s what’s needed. I need love and reassurance and a bit of handholding, he needs silence, the promise of a water station ‘I promise the next one is really really close…’(it wasn’t it was still 3 miles away) and above all he needs me to shout come on lets sprint to the finish… (yeah he loved that!)

I do joke, but actually running with Lee is brilliant – I mean I get to run at 6”3 man pace, making me accidentally faster… we get to enjoy different areas around where we live together and yes, we take the mickey out of each other but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

He has made me faster because I have to keep up with his long gazelle strides, and for that, I am grateful. He has made me learn the art of enjoying the silences, we are learning to love cross-country trail running together and I think we will continue to have a mutual hatred of hill sprints – no matter how much you do them they never get easier!

So 2017 is done, our sporadic training together is done, now what.

Well, we are both signed up to run Manchester Marathon and Toronto Marathon together in 2018.

This has meant, we have a full training plan to get us ready for Sunday 8th April (Manchester) and we have been running solidly together doing the longer runs over the weekend for the past few months.

We decided early on that we want to do more mixed terrain training, more hills, more mud and more scenery and less tarmac, less cars – less polluted running!

This was the turning point for Lee – I think he needed to learn to love running again, and this was the key. Out early on Saturday mornings, discovering areas of South East London that we didn’t know existed, getting lost, slipping in mud and seeing lots of cute dogs … this was it.

By incorporating these more difficult, much more time consuming runs with pavement pounding we have both discovered a new found love of running.

Running with your other half, may definitely not work for some people – some people that run may be their only ‘me’ time and I get that – I have my ‘me’ time runs during the week, when he goes off to the gym… but that one big weekend run – that’s my favourite.

Having a similar pace, having a similar view on running helps – yes we annoy each other, yes it’s not always plain sailing but for those 2/3 hours we are out running it just works. When you are training for a marathon it doesn’t need to take over your life, it doesn’t need to become the be all and end all of everything, but it does take up a significant amount of your time and even your mental energy. Having someone else with you who is going through the same things as you makes it easier.

I’m going to pass the reigns over to @darkeyedwhite now so you can get a perspective from my husband Lee… so ‘What’s it like running with your other half?’(Be nice, I have editing/censorship rights!)

Hello. In answer to @louloubelou_marathon - Its ok, but I wish she wouldn’t chat quite so much! I’m just kidding obviously, well partly anyway. I was never really into running with anyone, or running for that matter and kind of just tagged along with Lou on her training runs. Aside for her constant chatting, which to begin with can be a nice distraction but at times can also become very annoying (especially when I am struggling), it became a regular feature in our week.

I had no inclination to run a marathon myself but as I was training alongside Lou and covering those distances it gave me something to focus on even more. I’m not a particularly competitive person (except with myself), whereas Lou is very much so, to the point where she won’t tell you that tonight’s run is her speed work night. But as we continued on our training/running sessions, we began to support and encourage each other and most importantly motivate each other on our weekly running adventures.

My first marathon was a complete disaster and I was determined to better myself on my second. Due to an ongoing injury I only managed to run a distance of around 12 miles in training for my second marathon. Lou offered to sign up and run alongside me for support and sure enough by mile 20 I was a complete mess. If it hadn’t been for Lou shouting at me (words of encouragement of course) and pushing me to carry on, there was no way I would have got around in the time that I did, knocking 37mins of my previous marathon time. Even after Lou sprinted off at the end to make sure she got over the finish line first! Now, I can’t imagine running without Lou on more long distance weekend adventures. I have to admit, that it has become a lot of fun! And who knew that running could be fun?

Marathon training at any time can be tough, but when you are doing it with your other half you can work together, encourage each other and ultimately its nice to have the person you share your life with be a part of it.

So for better for worse, it looks like we caught the running bug – and fortunately we get to experience the highs and lows together. 

Follow me on: Instagram @louloubelou_marathon

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