Dear Stephanie and Bruce: I need your help with recruiting my wife to be my running buddy. – Justin, age 35
Stephanie: We think it’s great that you are interested in sharing one of your passions with your wife but our first question for you is, has your wife expressed an interest in running?
Bruce: We would encourage you to get clear as to why you want your wife to be your running buddy. Is this a “Honey, do you need a back rub conversation?” which attempts to disguise the real question? What we mean, is the real motivation to spend extra time with your wife or do you think she needs a nudge to become more physically active?
Keep in mind that most of us will accept feedback, coaching and nagging from a friend rather than our spouse.
Stephanie: If you have established that yes, your wife is truly interested in running, perhaps she is reluctant to join you for other reasons. Is it pace, competiveness, distance, or feeling like she has too many obligations at home or work? If your wife is a beginner, you may have to sacrifice some of your own goals to support her new running habit. Are you willing to do that? Or perhaps your wife is worried that you will interfere with her goals or that she will feel too much pressure to perform to a set standard.
Bruce: If your motivation is to spend time being active with your wife, consider having a conversation about what types of physical activity you might both find enjoyable. All runners should cross train. Maybe your wife would be open to hiking, biking, rowing or dancing.
Stephanie: If you truly want a running buddy and your wife is not interested, here are some factors to consider for selecting a running buddy:
• When to work out
• Where to work out
• How often to work out
Bruce: There are several ways your spouse can share your passion for running by:
• Being there at the finish line
• Charting your weekly mileage
• Traveling to race events together
Stephanie: Your wife may have ideas as well. It is important to honor each other’s interests and accept that some may not be shared.
Bruce: If your wife and friends are not interested in running, running solo can clear your mind so you remember key information for a happy marriage; the date of your anniversary, wife’s birthday, and the names of your kids.
Best wishes for your continued success.
Stephanie Norton-Bredl is the health and wellbeing director at the Auburn Valley YMCA and may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org. Bruce deJong is a group exercise instructor at the Auburn Valley YMCA and may be contacted at email@example.com.