Runners are a weird breed, and our romantic partners deserve a medal of their own. After all, many of them wake up with us at 5 AM on race day, rub our aching feet, and allow us to pillage their pantry for crabs without resentment. We hope.
That said, sometimes they don't know how to support you as an athlete, especially if they do more "couch" than "5K." Which is why, after reading about Love Languages, I created a cheat sheet for your romantic partners with creative, runner-specific ways to woe.
LOVE LANGUAGE? IS THAT THE SOUND OF ME EATING A SLEEVE OF EVERYTHING BAGELS AFTER A 20 MILER?
According to Gary Chapman, a relationship counselor and author of The 5 Love Languages, there are five primary ways you and your partner may perform and recognize acts of love. You might speak one language and understand in another, which can get tricky.
Do your love life a favor and take the free Love Languages Assessment to determine which love languages you speak most fluently. Have your partner do the same. It might just blow your mind to discover that your significant other drove you to the DMV because they love you and not for the efficient and friendly customer service.
Love isn't rocket science. It's harder. So, after you take the assessment, help out your boo by sharing these love language- specific ways to warm your 40 bpm heart.
CHEAT SHEET TO A RUNNER'S 40 BPM HEART
- Talk your beloved runner through their ice baths while holding their blue, nearly lifeless hands.
- During races, track your runner through Google's location sharing capabilities, or get a rough estimate of their finish time and wait for them at the finish line with a big, sweaty hug.
- Join your runner for the first few minutes (or, hey, all of) their run!
- Go shopping with your runner and help them select snazzy lycra fashion statements.
- Learn to give full-body massages, but start with the back and feet if that sounds intimidating. There are many YouTube videos explaining how to give a (nearly) professional-level sports massage. Be gentle— growing muscles are sensitive.
- Assist your runner in caring for their body: help apply sunscreen, bandage boo-boos, wrap them in a thermal blanket after long distance runs to conserve heat.
- Post-marathon, help your runner shower (bow chicka wow wow) and then snuggle with them for about 30 minutes until they fall into the most satisfying night of sleep of their life.
- Make your boo a running playlist!
- Buy them a membership to your local running club.
- Take photos at the finish line. Photoshop the "I'm dying" look into a smile, or superimpose this guy's face onto theirs. Frame the photos in a shadowbox with their race medal or bib.
- Surprise your runner after a weekend run with a full spread breakfast: coffee, eggs, avocado toast, yogurt, banana, a strawberry coconut carrot cake with mascarpone buttercream icing, the usual.
Words of Affirmation
- Remind your runner how hard they trained when they’ve got pre-race jitters.
- Create funny signs and meet your runner along the course.
- Write a letter for your runner to read before heading to the starting line.
- Send your runner a few encouraging texts/pictures of corgi puppies throughout a race (but clear this with them beforehand, they might not like the interruption.)
Acts of Service
- Drive your runner to the starting line on race day, or drop them off at a training location so they don't have to drive tired or concern themselves with parking.
- If you live together, clean up the house before race day so they'll come home to a cozy, uncluttered cocoon of rest.
- Runners go through laundry like nobody's business. Add their gym wear to your loads if you have the space (and the stomach for stinky socks.)