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Female jogger

Like dating a doctor or a parent, dating a runner means entering a world where you come second. Always. But while patients and children are understandably more important priorities, it isn’t immediately clear why you should come second to a pair of smelly trainers and a stretch of canal path. Knowing what you’re letting yourself in for (and when you should expect to be ignored) when dating a runner will make accepting your position as a permanent runner-up all the easier.


Did we not just mention the depressing reality of being forever in second place to PBs (personal bests) and race days? It takes a very self-assured person to not feel slighted when nine mornings out of 10 you awake to an empty bed and no cup of tea. But remember, this is because running has to take place at antisocial hours (mainly because the running rush hour is worse than commuter rush hour but also because leaving time for a post-run, pre-work shower is imperative). Which allows us to segue into the next downside: the pile of sweaty Lycra that will prove to be a permanent feature in the corner of the bedroom when dating a runner. Trainers will also feature heavily in your life, and as an accessory to almost all of your partner’s outfits.

5 signs you know you’re dating a runner

  1. If they’re not wearing trainers, they’ve got a pair in their bag.
  2. They spend all evening wearing Lycra, because they’re ‘just about’ to have a shower.
  3. Their browser is always open on Google’s kilometre to mile conversion calculator.
  4. Their toenails are at various stages of falling off.
  5. You catch them timing your resting heart rate in bed.


Apart from early morning alarms, ignored text messages (there’s no way they’re replying mid-run) and no morning tea? Steel yourself for lots of talk about ‘k’ (not the illegal kind, but what all runners call kilometres), ‘hitting the wall’ (the point at which your glycogen stores run out and your legs turn to jelly), and something called ‘fartlek’ (an improbably named training technique which combines fast and slow running over a variety of distances). But during all this riveting running banter, never ever accuse your other, slightly fitter half of aimlessly running in circles. It’ll only encourage them to sign up for another race, fun run, or, worst of all, marathon. There are more than 35 UK marathons held every year which means that, in theory, you could end up discussing how not to hit the wall all year long. If this happens, direct them to the Bluffer’s Guide to Running a Marathon and check back in 10 minutes once they’ve learnt everything they need to know.


Of course. Whilst there’s nothing positive about laundry-ready Lycra, there are some benefits to the tight-weave fabric itself. These can mainly be identified around the abdomen area, which will be generally flatter than that of non-runners. You’ll also have Sunday mornings to yourself which means that by the time they bound back into the kitchen, slick with sweat and flushed as the freeze-dried berries in your sugary morning cereal you might actually have started to miss them.


If you really want to impress the runner in your life, and you’re determined to do so without buying your own pair of trainers and a Polar heart rate monitor ‘sports’ watch, then suggest a different sort of marathon: the movie kind. Run Fatboy Run, The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner (the 1962 classic based on a short story by Alan Sillitoe) and Marathon Man being the obvious choices.

DO ASK ‘How’s your fartlek training been working out for you?’

DON’T SAY ‘I’m sorry, I forgot that was the day of your 10k. I booked a table for lunch.’

Happy Bluffing!

Emma Smith


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