What’s It Like To Love A Non-Runner

You're significant other doesn't have to be a runner to share in your love of the sport.


*Courtesy of RunHaven

I’ve been a competitive runner since I was 12 years old, not counting all of the soccer practices and timed gym miles that came before that. I’m now 21 years old and still going strong with my last year as a collegiate runner looming before me. What happens when you’re a runner smitten with somebody who doesn’t run at all?

That isn’t to say my boyfriend of two years doesn’t support me. In fact, I think dating a non-runner has been one of the best things to happen to me—and my running—since chocolate milk. But, I have had to adjust on the fly and learn how to merge my two worlds—or maybe even keep them separate.

  1. Patience. I’ve accepted that running jargon can be confusing to non-runners. Boyfriend has learned several of my common race distances and knows I’ve never done a marathon. When somebody’s asking you, “How far is your marathon?” realize that this person is just interested in running. Let’s not scare him or her off.
  2. Creativity. I’ve gotten very good at figuring out how to describe a race in a creative but succinct way. People don’t want to hear about how you felt like death at Mile 2, but they definitely want to hear all about how you tripped and fell into stagnant, nasty water.
  3. Aide. I may be a little irritated that my boyfriend hasn’t memorized my PRs. I have to lead him through the motions and enlighten him to my accomplishments, like an unexpected 50-second PR in my 5K. However, he at least knows what PR means, and he’ll get me flowers or ice cream when I say I’ve gotten one.
  4. Relief. It’s actually really refreshing to not have to discuss my running 24/7. I don’t always want to relive my race or talk about the benefits of compression socks. Maybe I had a great race or a terrible one. Sometimes, I want to talk about something else — like which flavor of frozen yogurt will go with this caramel mocha.
  5. Variety. Finally, it’s a relief to have somebody outside of this world of running — somebody to remind me that I am not just a list of numbers in the depths of the Internet and that I really don’t need to spend all day scouring for the best deal on yet another pair of shoes. This levelheadedness that my boyfriend supplies helps me keep a healthy relationship with running — it’s just another great facet of my life.

Can you relate to my experiences with dating a non-runner?

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