I got into a rather interesting debate today with some fellow runners about what effect (positive or negative)being in a relationship, dateing in general, or having a significant other will have on their running/racing/training. Some felt that when they are single they have more time on their hands to train and therefore run better. Some felt that they even had an almost instinctual urge to run faster to impress more people (i.e. to get a date). (This I found rather pathetic, but possible for some people with low self esteem) Others thought that when they were in a relationship their life was much more in order and they were able to focus on things that are important to them much more (the significant other, training, family, work, etc.), instead of getting easily distracted by being single and constantly on the lookout. I know some will try and pervert their answers in some way, but we all felt it was an interesting topic that warranted a debate.
My personal story:
I ran better when I was single and unattached. My feeling was that the lack of "action" made me angry and edgy thus, more motivated to kick some ass on the weekends.
Then I met a wonderful woman who became my wife. She is very supportive of my running ambitions (or lack thereof) and has no issues with my time spent training. Perhaps it's age but, I became contented and running slipped down the list of priorities. I tend to think that happiness, sharing, and regular sex (Wejo-please don't ban me) takes some energy (anger?) away from your running. I found that my ego didn't need the hard training / racing any longer.
(Coincidentally, I also embarked on a career and gained a lot of non-running friends at about the same time.)
I think there are so many individual variables here that it is impossible to make blanket statements. If you get involved with someone who is selfish and places demands on your schedule, it will undoubtedly affect your training..even if you still "get" to train, it may no longer be on your terms exactly. For example, you might not have the option of sleeping in on Sat AM and running later...you may have other obligations that require you to train earlier. As Portland Runner says, that might be OK, though, if you are overall happier. If you have a demanding career AND high-level athletics you are probably selfish about your time...or you wouldn't be able to carry both off. So when you throw an intense, involved relationship into the mix, something WILL give I think . there are personalities out there who function better with structure though and having added obligations in your life will do that. I have had plenty of training partners who have all day Sat and Sun to train and still wind up doing it after sunset because they can't seem to find the time during the day. For myself, after years of high level training and racing I got married relativley late in life (39) and have for sure slowed down...but I haven't had the eye of the tiger for training of late either, so it may be that it really is the desire to train/race that is missing. I think all in all from a scheduling perspective it will depend a lot on how flexible your mate is; from a desire standpoint, it's hard to predict how it will affect you.
Muhammad Ali used to stay away from his wife for a month before a fight and he kicked a lot of guys' butts.
ali was a great fighter, but which wife did he stay away from? and did he stay away from the girlfriends as well?
my boyfriend and i are both serious runners and we work it out . . . he's my coach. i think it would be really hard to be with a non-athlete, or at least someone who didn't understand the time constraints. -- kk
Just like paula & co ---> her husband was a pro runner.
Just like KK & co ---> his wife is his coach.
Just like Szabo ---> her husband is her coach.
Just like Yuan Yufang ---> her husband is her coach.
We have heard and witnessed so many great wife-husband mutual running relationships. So why you're araid to start one? It would be great.
And katyk was right, you need someone who understands that you need to get outdoor once/twice a day, someone who understands your freak diet restrictions on fatty food, someone who understands you need 8-10 hours a day and not hanging up till 2 AM still making love. So I think a good understanding is needed between the two.
I think it's a very rare chance to get a life partner who has the same interests like yours, especially the one like our sport. You are lucky and you have to appreciate him/her if you can find one.
ps: Is there any case in this world in which an elite got divorced from his/her wife/husband because of running?
it mostly depends on how much your significant other is willing to accept that your daily run is something you have to do. if they are overly needy and dont understand the necessity of the run, and the lack of competition between it and them then problems will arise and it will affect your running.
and who else understands better of your running necessities other than a running freak him/her self? He/She is supposed to be a running freak as well. Otherwise, the relationship won't last long.
I knew a 2:14 marathoner who once broke his hand puunching a refrigerator when his wife was bitching at him for taking off for 3 hours every Sunday to train. ANd this was right before the Olympic Trials.
But also most of the top runners I knew from the '80s were married. But in those days the pool of elites were much older than they are today.
They used to say the divorce rate among runners was higher. I think the best alternative would be if your partner had their own hobby that didn't require you to tag along so you could spend that time training. Unlike some girlfriends of mine who couldn't spend an hour by themselves let alone understand why I enjoy taking that time to run and get away from people.
Im literally asking your opinions, do you think we runners need our own dating service or similar events?
Btw running is a prayer.
Date other runners! Or at least someone who has a similar hobby that is just as time consuming as running. I dated a musician in high school that practiced 2-4 hours a day. When she is practicing, I am out running...
My girlfriend understands, after several arguments, that nothing is going to keep my from getting out of bed in the morning and going running. The alarm goes off, I stay in bed for a few minutes, then I get up and go run.
I have had girlfriends break up with me because of this. Some have gotten really pissed that running is so high on the list of priorities, but that's life. My answer is always the same. Sure, we lose time together because of running, but I wouldn't be the same person (or as happy a person) If I didn't do it.
Personally, being in a relationship helps me, for a few reasons.
1. There is someone to give support at races. Ever crash in a marathon, nice to have someone there to drag you to the car and get you into a hot bath.
2. There is someone who will listen to you vent/strut, depending how your workout went.
3. There is someone to take your mind off running. Perhaps for others this is not a good thing, but for me it is. If I am going for a really tough workout in the afternoon, if I was alone I would worry about it all day. Instead, I spend the day with my girlfriend and don't think about running, and don't start the workout with that little bit of self pity that gets us all from time to time.
i am currently going through a rough end to a 3.5 year relationship and i am a collegiate runner. it completely killed my desire to race and train this fall. i ran awful all season only showing up like i should after an argument. since the ending of my relationship running has picked up and i am starting to return to my form. i think that women can ruin your mental ability to run and most importantly to race. i agree with the thinking that you should be with another runner bc my ex had the bad timing of dropping bombs on me the night before races and she was not a runner.
Negative effect - women are inherently evil. They weaken the legs.
I'm married and the bitch harasses me constantly about my running. If I go in the morning, it's too early and wakes her up. If I go after work, I get home too late to have dinner. If I go in the evening, I'm taking away from "our" time. Nag, nag, nag, bitch, bitch, bitch. Why do I need new running shoes, the ones I have look fine to her. It's too cold to be outside running for 2 hours. You're an idiot for doing that. You're obsessed. You don't need a hr monitor. You're going to spend how much on a shirt? You have tons of cotton ones in the closet from your races.
Thanks for reminding me that the bitch needs whacked with a huge baseball bat.
I agree with the people who say that your significant other should have some kind of pursuit or hobby as well. Dating "normal" clingy, needy people will have an adverse effect.
My wife is a ballet dancer who rehearses several hours a day, she totally understands and respects the time that I put in training and vice versa.
I think relationships will have a negative effect on your running, unless the person has gone through or knows what it's like to train so hard, and be a runner. So find a good runner to date. Proof:
The Culpeppers-both Olympians
One of the Hausers and Sally Hauser-both top runners
KK and Sandra-she's a decent runner like 19's for 5k i thought i saw.
Paula and her husband-her husband was like a 3:5? miler.
Emil Zatopek and his wife-his wife was a gold medalist Javelin thrower so she knew what commitment was.
I'm sure there are many more.
Not to mention Szabo.
Bob Kennedy's dad was a runner also.
i think if you're weak mentally, it'll effect you. as far as time interference with training, don't be stupid and date someone that's gonna bitch about stuff like that. things don't have to be perfect to get the job done.
I personally am married to a woman who runs occasionally, but is not nearly as in to running as I am, but she gives me totally positive encouragement. I think most of the people who have troubles with their relationships who have posted on this board seem to sound a little self-absorbed. A person can train very hard and accomplish their running goals without making their running schedule the absolute priority in life. Having a significant other who is there for me through thick and thin is much more important to me (and probably more positive for my running psyche) than worrying about rescheduleling a run in order to spend some time together. Training actually only takes a few hours a day, even if your running 100+ mile weeks. I guess for me, a relationship is a positive component to my running, not a hindrance.