The roller coasters we endure in the dating world can sometimes be compared to the twists and turns we confront as runners taking on a new trail or path. We’re excited, cautious, hoping for the best, coping with new conditions and learning how to keep ourselves in control of the situation.
Some athletes choose to put training first, as their priority, and prefer to make a commitment to running and fit life instead of hunting for and committing to Mrs. or Mr. Right. Others want to include their mates in the sport to some capacity and be able to share their athletic feats with someone who has the same overall health values. Another percentage of us don’t even care if whoever we’re dating isn’t the type to lace up and join us for a long run.
To each their own!
For runners who are passionate and committed to training – and want some passion in their love lives too – the hectic whirlwind of the dating world may require a careful balancing act. There are a couple of possibilities on the spectrum – runners who may have met that special someone at a race or running event, or runners who meet and fall in love with mates that have no interest in the sport altogether! In another scenario, maybe you’ve met someone who wasn’t a runner before and you’ve inspired their athletic muse (and vice versa)!
But how, exactly, does being a runner affect our ability to meet our match and gauge who our ideal mate would be? For runners who are married with children and have found the gracious balance between sports and a personal life, you’re already ahead of the game and you’ve probably mastered dividing and compartmentalizing your time. Those still trying to find love in the midst of sticking to a workout routine – and divide their time while finding a mate – can consider the following points when looking for love.
Making Time And Spending Time
Some runners have rigid training schedules, depending on the distance they strive to run and if they’re preparing for a competition of marathon-like proportions. If you’re out there in the dating world, looking for a partner to spend your “spare time” with, keep in mind how much “spare time” you realistically have to dedicate to someone else – especially in the beginning when you need ample time to get to know someone.
If your weekends are spent running for a couple of hours outdoors and then strength training later on, your potential date could be respectful of this but they could eventually be curious when you’ll have (or make) time for them! Quite possibly, if you meet a fellow runner, you could spend more time together on the road – or in the gym – and not “sacrifice” your training time.
Dating someone who isn’t as active as you are isn’t a complete deal breaker – they could be more of a “homebody” who doesn’t have the same gusts of energy but still wants to spend time with you. As long as both people are able to make time without sacrificing what’s important to them, the bond can grow indefinitely.
Of course, making it clear to whoever you meet that working on yourself is a priority is both respectful of their time and their priorities – especially if they’re not a runner and won’t be joining you on your treks. Athletes who routinely dedicate an hour or more a day to their training may want to take a day off or revamp their schedule to accommodate their quest for love, besides – what good is all work and no play!
Be Honest About Your Expectations
Much like running, it’s important to establish your goals when looking for love too! Are you focused on being with someone who’s as physically active as you are? Is it important that your potential companion have the same health and fitness values as you do?
While being conscious of what you really want in the dating world helps eliminate the type of relationship you don’t want, you may think it’s not a big deal if the person you’re interested in doesn’t run as well.
You may want to think about how dating compares to running; maybe you don’t want to be too “serious” or invest too much of yourself, or perhaps you are commitment-oriented in that you’re ready to give 100 percent of yourself and focus on building a strong foundation to grow. One thing you don’t want to do is build up hype about what you want to accomplish (in both running and your relationships) and then decide it’s just not for you or that you’d rather not put the effort into it that would truly make it an amazing experience.
Chemistry And Motivation
For most runners, it doesn’t really matter if their mate or date doesn’t share the same athletic passions as they do – as long as they’re happy and are treated right!
However, there are many advantages to connecting with someone who does share the same love for running and training. When you both have motivation to get up and hit the pavement together, there’s often a sense of bonding, support and teamwork that can bring you closer – and also test your compatibility!
In addition to having “romantic” company on your run, it’s a more fun adventure getting to know someone and finding out about the chemistry you share while you’re trekking a few miles. Finding out how competitive they are – and how self-motivating they are – can be an interesting turning point. Most runners invest a lot of time improving themselves and gain confidence from accomplishing their goals – no matter how big or small they are. Finding someone with the same confidence and energy can promote and foster a healthy relationship – especially if you both had a long day and need to “run off the craziness” instead of taking it out on a loved one.
Running can bring out the very best in you, as your mood may shift when you’re in the running “zone,” revealing a part of your personality that a potential mate hasn’t yet experienced! Running with someone new, and setting aside time to start an exercise routine with them, gives you an opportunity to spend time alone – quality healthy time that’s not spent in a crowded restaurant or bar where sitting for hours in a closed-in space limits your experiences together.
Another aspect of sharing chemistry as a runner is physical attraction. It may be important to you that your object of affection is in tip top physical shape and takes care of their body. Subsequently, your focus as a runner may comprise of a carefully planned diet with a workout regimen and a sleeping schedule that excludes partying!
If you’re dabbling in the dating world and come across potential partners who are fun to be with – but they would also rather spend weekends binge drinking/eating and staying up late at night while you’re heading to sleep early so you can train the next morning – the mental chemistry may waiver after some time if your diet and quality of life values are drastically different.
On those days when you’re not feeling motivated and your spirit isn’t soaring so high, having a partner who also loves to run can help boost your energy and endurance. You might be more likely to get out there and go for a run if your sweetheart encourages you to join them on a long therapeutic trek.
So, What’s Great About Having A Running Mate?
Obviously, getting exercise by yourself is important – but when you find someone to connect with who also values taking care of themselves and their health, it can be more enjoyable to know that you’ll be able to plan exciting new outings, head to undiscovered destinations and map out trails you’ve both never trekked before. Or maybe one of you has repeatedly covered the same trail and you need a little variety – who better to experience a different running environment with than someone whom you share a romantic connection with!
As a runner, it can be tumultuous trying to meet someone who understands your goals and the thrill that comes with conquering new territories. However, having a running partner by your side can keep your calendar filled with different race destinations, distances and perhaps even training for a competition you didn’t think you’d be able to do by yourself.
Many studies show that couples who run together and challenge each other have greater bonding experiences – plus, running with a partner may bring out your sense of playfulness and fun! Running together – with the same goals in mind – makes it more enjoyable, regardless if whether one person is better than the other. Your love interest may even demonstrate a few running techniques that help make you pick up speed or increase your mileage.
Experts add that if you’re an evening runner – especially a female – and are hesitant to trek outside at night, having partner who also runs can keep you safe during those treacherous outings.
The Unconditional Love For A Worn Out Athlete
You’re sweating, you’re weak and you can’t walk right! Is your date making fun of you and telling you that you smell bad?
We all need a partner who’s understanding of our rustic appearance after we’ve completed a long run or trail trek that took hours to complete. Being a runner isn’t easy at times – with our feet not being so “elegant” or clean looking and our post-training appearance resembling someone who was truly put through the ringer!
Whoever you date should have an unconditional love for you – whether you look like a million bucks on your off days, or if you look like a washed up mop on your training days. If you’re afraid that your companion will catch you “at your worst” after a hard-core run, think about how they will react when they support you at a race and see you exhausted from possibly the best run of your life. It’s important to be able to show your “true athletic self” – messy hair and dirty clothes – to whoever you’re with! It’s a side of you that you should be proud to display until you can recuperate and get polished up after you’ve hit the pavement.
Knowing How To Cope With “Me Time”
Sometimes when you start dating someone new, it’s super important to maintain and establish your “me time” – and it’s also important to have a partner who understands that! Everyone has their “me time” to work on an activity that they value – an activity that helps them clear their mind, stay grounded, zone out, and get into their own head space.
Dating someone who understands that you’re not neglecting them or throwing them to the back of line can be tricky at the beginning – so can explaining to your date that you need time by yourself to work on your goals.
However, studies show that even couples who have been together for quite some time can maintain their running as a healthy outlet to practice alone as well. If you’re not dating someone who runs, their appreciation and support for your time alone to run by yourself says a lot about their character and respect for your space.
No matter who you’re dating or where you’re looking for love, there could be a lot of deal makers and deal breakers! While us runners are strong minded, strong willed and focused in life, we still want to make sure whoever we’re giving our hearts and minds to appreciates our goal-oriented character.
You fell in love with running – you’ll soon fall in love with someone whose motivation matches yours. Happy hunting!