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Making the Workout Mismatch Match

Working out can be a great way to spend time together with your partner. At least if one of you isn’t a “Type A” personality.

Type A’s are typically achievers. Folks wound a little tighter than the rest of us. They’re competitors. So slowing down for their spouse – or not being able to keep up with them – will drive a Type A personality a little crazy.

Fortunately, as far as running goes, I left my competitive streak behind long ago. And my wife never had one. She wasn’t even sure she could tolerate running. But she was willing to give it a try.

By the time we decided to work out together, I was several months back into a running program. So we were a major mismatch as far as pace and stamina goes.

But we were also the better part of a year away from our planned “race,” so we decided to build up together.

I sat down and worked out a plan to take us from zero to 13 miles. Right from the start, we agreed there was no requirement to run every mile of our Disney event… and there was no expectation we’d have to do that on training runs, either.

This took a lot of pressure off my wife, though it meant my workouts wouldn’t be as demanding as they had been. But we devised a plan for that, too.

I would run on our days off. Since our shorter “together” days were more or less rest days for me, my wife’s rest days became my harder training days. It’s just a couple of days a week, but means we’re able to spend more time together, while I don’t lose my edge.

We started off with short distances, and worked on beating 15 minutes a mile. (The Disney pace requirement is 16 minutes per mile.)

The first week, we covered 1 mile each day for 5 days. We walked most of it. But we walked fast enough to beat 15 minutes. Every week since – with just a couple of setbacks – we’ve increased our mileage, our pace or both.

Most weeks, I’ve done “day off” workouts or run extra mileage after our workouts together. So far, it’s working pretty well.

We’re getting two payoffs. First, we’re exercising regularly. And we’re working our way up slowly enough to keep it fun and easy – even through 10-mile Saturday morning workouts.

The second payoff is we’re spending time together… talking, sharing, and enjoying each other’s company. We’ve discovered how easy it was to drift a little apart into our own worlds. And how rewarding it is to reconnect more closely.

Actually, there’s been a third payoff. We’ll talk about that one in an upcoming post.

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