By Andy Jones-Wilkins
CTS Ultrarunning Coach
It’s Valentine’s Day tomorrow and as such the CTS Running Coaches and I thought it would be a great time to share a few thoughts on how we encourage our athletes to maintain loving harmonious relationships at home while running long distances, training for hours on end, and often attending weekend-long events in far away places.
For maintaining healthy home harmony in the midst of the ultrarunning lifestyle here are four great places to start:
Coach Darcie Murphy says it’s pretty simple, “Communicate, communicate, communicate! Most of the problems I’ve seen erupt in runners’ relationships have come when the ‘supporting spouse’ is left in the dark.” I couldn’t agree more with Darcie. Maintaining clear, open lines of communication allows for an open exchange of ideas, both positive and negative, and can keep relationships on an even keel.
Jason Koop, Director of Coaching at CTS, has another simple method, “I hired my wife a coach and it’s worth every penny.” And, when you think about it, what better way to show a spouse or loved one you support and encourage what they’re doing than working to provide a means to mutual success. Of course, in this case Koop goes on to say, “And that coach is most certainly not me!” Clearly, a bit of distance and self-deprecation always helps, too.
David Henry, the CTS Coach who quite likely logs the most weekly miles and is himself coached by Koop says, “I definitely make a point these days to match time spent running on the weekends with time offered to my wife for her to either run, or otherwise engage in whatever self-care activity she finds appealing.” In short, Henry offers up a trade. It’s simple, and perhaps transactional, but it clearly works.
And as for me, after 26 years of marriage and running, what I’ve found works is to involve my loved ones in the process. Sure, none of them want to talk about running nearly as much as I do, but they all love going to beautiful places, love hanging out with the friends I’ve made in the sport, and most certainly love the post-race parties. So for me, I have found harmony in the shared aspect of running, the community of our sport and all the gifts it gives not just to me, but also to my entire family.
Here’s wishing you all a happy, harmonious, Valentines Day!