Spousal Support: how to love your runner

I left Saturday morning for my training run, and the whole time, I couldn’t stop thinking img_20161105_150210about all of the ways that my husband, Jon, loves me through his support of my running. (#2 below is what started this string of thought that lasted me through most of my run.) I know this sounds sappy, and don’t get me wrong, just like every marriage, there are plenty of opportunities for both of us to work on, but when it comes to supporting my passions, Jon has it nailed. And honestly, if you asked whether I would prefer a husband who cooked and cleaned, or a husband who supports my running, I’m going to go with running every day of the week.  (And Jon will argue that he does cook and clean, but I will say that our versions of those responsibilities are a little different. :))

So here is a list of some of the ways that Jon loves me through running.  If you are a spouse to a runner, you may want to take notes.  If you wish that your husband supported you a little more, maybe slip this link into an email (but be prepared to receive a list in return! ;)).

  1. All of my nicest and best running gear is from Jon.  I hate to shop, and Jon and I are both really conservative spenders.  But Jon bought me my first Garmin when I started to show an interest in running in 2013, he researched hydration packs and bought me the best one as a surprise for my first trail ultramarathon in 2014, and all of my nicest brand name running outfits came from him as gifts.
  2. Jon has never expected me to get up early on the weekends to get in my runs so that I can free up our time together.  Now that we have a baby, Jon is especially conscious that I don’t get much sleep during the week, and he watches Cadence on Saturday mornings whenever I finally make it out the door, no complaints. (He wanted to do a spin class this past Saturday morning, but shrugged his shoulders and said, “Why don’t you just get in your run instead.”)
  3. He helps me maximize my time with the baby, despite that fact that I am training all of the time. This is seriously one of biggest gifts that Jon could give me.  He brings Cadence down to our basement gym to say hi when I’m running before work, and he often plays with her during my strength training after work so that we can all hang out together.  I get to take her in the stroller for hours at a time, even though that means that he doesn’t get to hang out with her at home.
  4. He reminds me of my goals and helps me reach them, even if it means more sacrifices for him.  There are so many times that I get discouraged or burned out, and Jon is always there to encourage me to keep training hard, even though that means more time away from him.  I don’t know why this still surprises me, but he truly has my best interest at heart when he gives me advice.
  5. We budget for the expenses of running and racing, and Jon doesn’t complain.  I don’t even want to know how much we spent to allow me to run the Yeti 100 mile race, but I know that the AirbNb alone was over $600.  I have a coach, I get massages when I feel like an injury might be coming on, I replace shoes as soon as I think they are getting weak, I sign up for distant races, we have a fully outfitted home gym, etc.  Always in the budget.
  6. Jon is at the finish line (with a baby) when I need him.  He doesn’t go to the races that I tell him are just for training, but he has spectated in the pouring rain and freezing cold to watch me cross the finish line for goal races. (While getting his MBA, he did a group project from the car while I ran a marathon in Nashville so that he could be there to support me.)  He was critical on my crew for the Yeti 100, even running the last 16 miles with me.
  7. He joins me in my training efforts even when it’s not what he had on his agenda.  The other night we were running through the park with headlamps on so that I could get in my second run for the day, and I was thinking of how thankful I was to have Jon by my side because I would feel uncomfortable running those trails by myself in the dark, and I certainly wouldn’t have brought Cadence along for the run if Jon had not been with me.  His presence is always a great motivator to get out the door, even if I don’t feel like it.  There was one day when I was training for my 100 mile race where I called him from the park and asked for him to bring me a gel and told him that I was really flagging.  Not only did he show up with the gel, but he also came dressed to run so that he could help me finish the workout.
  8. Jon knows the details of my training, splits, goals, and schedule, and he can carry on a really convincing conversation about all things running, even though he doesn’t share the same passion. He helped me map out my race plan for the Yeti 100 with paces, crew stops, and nutrition, and we ended up being spot on with the planning.  He knows me so well!
  9. I gave up wine and I go to bed earlier than he does every night, and he still wants to be married to me.  Ok, so just kidding here, but really, I’m not as much fun anymore now that I am training so hard, breastfeeding, and not sleeping.  With so many demands on my body, I never like staying out late, and I am really careful with what I put into my body (unless it is chocolate, of which Jon buys me Costco quantities).
  10. Jon knows that vacations for me are not vacations without running and working out.  We’ve picked hotels based on the hotel gym, and Jon has run up and down the streets of foreign cities so that I could get in a run.  One of my favorite memories is running all over Berlin with him.  What better way to see a city?!

There are times, like in any marriage, when I get frustrated because my expectations are not being met.  But the items on this list always bring me back around to nothing but gratefulness and a full heart.  And it’s also a good reminder to me that I need to support Jon and show him love in the way that it matters to him.  We might have a dirty house and a baby with only one shoe on her foot when we run out the door, but we have learned in the last six+ years of marriage how to love each other.  And I’m so thankful that Cadence will see her father’s love as an example when she starts to understand all of the ways that she is loved.


Anyone else want to brag on their partner?