Help a “Friend” Who Has a Problem. Really... a “Friend...”

>> Sunday, August 02, 2009

This isn’t one of those hypothetical situations where I’m really talking about myself. Really. I’m sincerely looking for advice for a friend.

A friend of mine is having relationship issues because of how much time she spends working out and training for races. Her significant other thinks she’s “selfish” and wishes she’d have more time to spend with him. She started dating him when she was a student and he was working all the time - she could workout 2 hours a day, and he’d be at work so he wouldn’t care. Now that she has a full-time job as well, she has to train after work during “their time.”

I was “that guy” once. When Pharmie and I were dating in college, she was training for her first few marathons. (I wasn’t into running or triathlons at that point.) I remember bringing up a conversation something like “well, do you like me or running more?” What an ass. Pharmie didn’t push me into running and tris, but after a few years, I just started getting sucked in. Now I can’t imagine a conversation like that between us. We both just understand that we might spend a weekend “together” out on separate long bike rides or runs.

My friend asked me for advice on how to handle her significant other. Actually, since I’ve been blogging, many people have asked me questions like this, and I NEVER have a good answer. Have any of you been through this situation? How should someone handle this situation? I’m sure there’s no easy answer, but if you have any thoughts, we’d GREATLY appreciate it.

Here’s the best answer that I HAVEN’T sent her: “Before leaving for each workout, spend 15 minutes doing whatever he’d like to him. Think... sexually. Not annoyed anymore, is he?” Yeah, probably not the best idea. Or is it? I dunno. I’m bad at this.

If you have any advice, ideas, thoughts, or shared experiences, I (and my friend) would REALLY appreciate it! Thanks everyone!!

Update (4 hours 30 minutes after posting): My friend saw this post before I was able to tell her about it, and she’s seen the first 10 comments or so as well.

Here’s part of what she wrote to me: “ looks like the most common answer among the majority is compromise... running jayhawk, trimybest, and jess have been the most help!”

Thanks for all your thoughts! Please, keep them coming!


Tammy 7:52 AM, August 02, 2009  

This is a common problem, hence the term "Ironman widow", and there's no easy answer. In my experience, this kind of conversation usually stems from other problems in the relationship... usually. If the relationship is to be salvaged, compromises must be made. That may mean longer workouts on some days, so that days can be taken off guilt-free... or getting up early to workout before work, saving the evening for "together time". Sometimes, it's just a matter of jealousy... the other person may not have something they are equally passionate about, and feel threatened somehow. A definite sit-down conversation with agreed upon compromises is in order. If the other party is not open to that... there's bigger issues. Wish your "friend" luck.

Jumper 2.0 8:00 AM, August 02, 2009  

Coach is right.

I think your friend needs to start with a real attempt to express how important this is to her. He needs to realize this and accept it. I also think that your friend needs to try to accommodate a "together" schedule too. This is not a judgement, maybe she already is.

Some of it is just realizing that things take time to adjust. I was severely out of shape when I started and am now just starting to reach the middle of the pack. When I started, I would be pretty exhausted with my effort and would be largely worthless and even cranky at times for the rest of the day. This is quite rare now. I have also learned what I can handle. In my case I also have 3 kids with games, piano, etc and have learned how to fit my workouts around their schedule.

Also, I realize that some people don't like swimming or running but who doesn't like biking? Can't he come along on slower days?

This takes time and a commitment from both parties!

Brandon 8:17 AM, August 02, 2009  

hey Steve.

Is other friend also into racing/training? I know that when you can't share such experiences together, that can be tough, because the person that is not into the activity has no idea why the other is so into it. If he does train for races and whatnot, I'm guessing that the training thing isn't the "real" problem of the relationship. I think you gotta tell your buddy to get to the bottom of what is really bothering him. My guess....insecurity.

21stCenturyMom 8:28 AM, August 02, 2009  

There's some missing data. Is she always tired? Does she never have time for him? Does she work a 10 hour day with a 1 hour commute on each end plus do the 2 hours of working out? If so he has a legitimate complaint.

If not - if he just wants more "cuddle time" or if he just wants here "there" even though they already do things together and eat together then he's likely being either jealous or selfish.

They need to have an honest conversation in which the reality of how much time they spend together comes out. If the answer is "plenty of time" then he needs to back down or even support her. If not then they can look at some of the things Tammy said.

Also - if she has to admit that she would always rather go on a long group ride than hang out with him she needs to be honest with herself about that.

FLATOUT JIM 8:45 AM, August 02, 2009  

Tell her "Maybe he's just not into you."

Sorry, had to get that in.

So does your friends BF like the total package? Thets the key, and the package includes dedication to doing something she enjoys.

So if she quit training and racing, and packed on 50lbs, I bet he'd be complaining about something different.

And if it's not triathlon, it'd likely be something else.

I suggest trying to talk it through, re-assure the dude that she won't dump him for a TRI buddy, and maybe tweak the training program to include a little less durations and a little more quality, but the bottom line is that there is likely to be a big decision for one of the partners to make.

Jess 8:55 AM, August 02, 2009  

Compromise. He has to give a little and understand this is important and significant to her, and what ultimately makes her happy makes her a better partner. And she may have to realize that if she wants the relationship to last that she has to cut some races, modify the distances, or re-arrange her training schedule (like moving to early morning workouts) in order to spend enough time together.

Caitlin at Healthy Tipping Point 9:11 AM, August 02, 2009  

i dont know how demanding this guy is being, but my first reaction is "dump him." behavior like this strikes me as needy and self-centered. doesn't he realize how important this is to her? and why doesn't he try getting on a bike and riding with her?

Julie @ ROJ Running 9:56 AM, August 02, 2009  

My boyfriend and I started having this fight and it lead to us breaking up, but like others have said it really was the start of something bigger. When we first started dating he would always ask about my races and training and talk about how great it was I had such a strong passion. But then it became an issue of me not being with him "enough" which was really code for him not having his own hobbies or his friends being available and as the girlfriend somehow I signed up to fill that void constantly? No. It also lead to fights about how I must work out to try and lose weight and if I'm trying to lose weight I must be thinking of leaving him because he thinks I'm fine the way I am, which of course was his on insecurities because he was gaining weight.

I would think if the relationship is important then to talk about things calmly. Is it as mentioned by others a case of her spending what little free time she has training, or is it really only a portion and they still see each other enough to have a "real" connection? Is she training for fun, to maintain, or with a certain race in site? Perhaps if there isn't a specific rave she could scale back to see him more? Even every other week? Or find a sport they both like and do a little cross training to keep him in the loop? Personally at this point in my life and after the last mess I can't imagine I could be with someone who doesn't value and keep up an active lifestyle, if you have to explain your actions or change them for someone, maybe they aren't the best fit for you romantically anyway?

trimybest 9:58 AM, August 02, 2009  

DTMFA. ha! now i can be a super famous sex advice columnist.

yeah that sucks. even though, and you know this already steve, im in a relationship with THE most supportive non athlete in the world, it still occasionaly puts a strain on things. here is what i do, sometimes i get up ridicously early to do my workouts. then we have the rest of the day as a family. sometimes i may skip a workout! (this one may make me crabby though) if i can manage to train for an ironman with 2 kids including a 2 month old and still spend time with them then anyone can do it.

see if he wants to be included. maybe he could tag along to the pool and read or count laps or tell her how great she looks in her swim suit. on her long rides he could maybe drive ahead and hand her water or snacks and cheer her on and take photos. on her runs he could bike along side her for some nice conversation and carry her water. (im a huge fan of this one and we do this often in my family)

and my personal favorites: maybe after a run where he bikes next to her they could hit the shower together followed by a massage. if that doesnt cheer them both up then its time to DTMFA.

good luck!
holy cow that was the longest comment ever.

Iron Jayhawk 10:01 AM, August 02, 2009  

This is definitely a tough spot to be in. Luckily I was in this position for only one marathon training season (it only took 1 race for me before Mike hopped on board). I could tell he was irritated at me going to bed at 9 on a Friday night since there was always a long run to be done on Saturday morning. I was able to remind him that it was only temporary and that he was still more than welcome to go out and see friends (which isn't exactly the case here since they want time together).

When he was doing IM training last year and I felt like I didn't get to see him often I hopped on board and did as much as I could FOR him. I'd hang outside with a book acting as a "water stop" for him on long runs, serve SAG for him on his long rides, help keep track of time and distance on the open water swims, etc. It was my way home showing him how proud I was of his commitment and that I supported him in his endeavor. He's been paying me back ten fold as I do IM training this season, too.

Ultimately, they have to come to some type of agreement on the situation. Is it the end of the world if she misses a speed session on the track to go to dinner with him on a Wednesday night? No. But maybe he'd find it fun to tag along with her at the pool one morning, too.

teacherwoman 10:23 AM, August 02, 2009  

I don't know if I have any good advice. You'd think that after being together for a while he would understand that her working out is her "me time" and she's been doing it for a while, it's just at a different time now that she's working. He should understand. I guess if they just started dating, I would say, ditch the guy. But, that's not the case.
Sorry, really no help here.

BaddApple 11:03 AM, August 02, 2009  

I think we have all had this come up. I'm going through it now and it happened to a friend of mine. It's a real hard one when they don't care for running or triathlons and want to get involved with you. They just see it as a time away from the family. Best thing is communication and try to explain what you get out of it and how its actually helping you and the family. In my situation I tried to explain that it really helps with the stress of work, it's helped me lose 20 lbs, set a good role mode for my kids that life doesn't end at 44. You can go out there and still be active. Also races give me goals to shoot for and if I didn't have the races I would train as hard or even probably workout. I try to communicate ahead of time what my workouts are going to be like for the week. See if there are going to be any issues. I try to do my workouts in the morning, at lunch or on nights that I get stay later and then do kid pickup from events so that helps. A lot of stuff, but it really boils down to communication. Also if your not getting the support it really sucks the fun out of what you are doing and it hurts so you might want to communicate that as well. I do a lot of races solo and it sucks you have no one to celebrate it with. Tell they you need them to be your biggest fan and cheerleader. That might show how they fit into it. That's me. Who wants pie.

Molly 11:30 AM, August 02, 2009  

I honestly can't understand staying in a relationship where your significant other doesn't support you spending time on your own hobbies/activities/goals/pursuits. Maybe I'm lucky that my husband loves when I go off to train because he gets to space to do his own thing, but I just don't comprehend not being supportive that way. On an objective level, it's healthier for the relationship for each person to have outside interests and do things on their own - it gives you a heck of a lot more to talk about than if you spent all your free time together.

Anonymous,  11:32 AM, August 02, 2009  

If your friend is not married, please tell her to think long and hard about taking that plunge.
When physical fitness and training are a fundamental part of your life, it is very difficult when your spouse does not support that, and the two of you cannot be part of a team. I feel like I spend half my life trying to atone for the other half - running and biking - and it isn't a very happy way to live. But then neither is sitting on the couch, which is what my husband would like. More and more I think we will not make it through.
There are ways to to cope and compromise but it seems that life goes much better for people who have common ground on this.
Please forgive the anonymous post but you can probably understand why.

X-Country2 11:52 AM, August 02, 2009  

Aww, this makes me sad. Everyone has given much better advice than I have, but I wish her the best of luck. It's hard.

Anonymous,  12:00 PM, August 02, 2009  

Here we go. Steve Stenzel, SEX DOCTOR. This could be the scenario of a Russ Meyer movie, "Triathlon of the Supervixens."

Hasn't "he" considered cheating? Assuming that's its gender.

What wasted opportunities, the sap!

Speaking of which, why DON'T you do a Russ Meyer take on triathletes? All you need are big bosums and square-jaws, and a camera.

Seems like you're all set.

Nature takes care of subtleties like plot, dialogue....

Your "track widow" can watch. Maybe he'll learn something, but don't count on it....

Velma 12:11 PM, August 02, 2009  

I love this discussion. I was wondering if it is unreasonable to expect a partner/spouse to go to races?

Anonymous,  12:24 PM, August 02, 2009  

Sex ain't the answer. Wham, bam, gotta run! You can't solve relationship problems with sex (unless lack of sex is the problem). Why can't she compromise and work out in the morning? She's only working out 2 hours according to your post. Get out of bed and out the door at 5. Or split it up - an hour in the morning and an hour in the evening. Wanting to spend time with your significant other isn't needy and selfish, especially if the significant other isn't making time for you.

How about this for advice: COMMUNICATE WITH THE GUY (OR WOMAN). What does he need, what do you need, and how can you both get it?

Nicole 1:35 PM, August 02, 2009  

Well I don't have much to add because most have hit it right on the head...but rest assured, I think most people end up having this issue eventually, especially when one is in endurance sports...compromise is definitely the key...I think as the one that participates in events that require a significant amount of time away from your partner to train/race need to be honest with themselves and allow for time to train and time to nurture the relationship...what this means is different for everyone...maybe less racing...maybe a night out set aside every week for the partner...etc etc...relationships don't work unless both are committed to making it work, but with that said, also remember they are fluid...and some times what each brings to the relationship may not be an even 50/50 split at any time...the key is that it has to ballance out in the long run! Talk it through...good luck!

Stef0115 2:28 PM, August 02, 2009  

Before I got into triathlon I sat on my ass a lot and complained that Glenn was away from me sailing too much. I raced with him for awhile on the boat (and got pretty good) but never really liked it that much.

Having been "that person" I can confidently say that it stems from jealousy, insecurity or both. Glenn did not stop or lessen his sailing. And I'm glad he didn't cause it showed he had a backbone and he stood up for something he has loved to do since childhood.

Plus, it was never that out of hand. He always more than lived up to his obligations around the house and to the relationship.

When I got into triathlon he was thrilled beyond belief that I'd found something to get into. He welcomed the new people I met. And now . . . . I agree 100% with what Molly said. I cannot imagine being in a relationship without that support -- support that goes both ways.

People don't have to have passion for the same things, BUT support, and passion, and hobbies and healthy living are all, in my opinion, non negotiable in a relationship.

Jayson 3:08 PM, August 02, 2009  

It'll take some sacrifice on her part. I'm kind of in the same position. It requires early morning or late night training and a promise that after the early morning training you'll be awake enough to function and be part of a relationship the rest of the day.

I try to train while commuting to work. Or I'll make sure my wife has time to do things she wants to do.

We always have all day Sunday together, Monday nights and Friday nights. Without fail. That's probably the most important. You have to have set aside times where nothing can be allowed to interfere.

Anonymous,  4:10 PM, August 02, 2009  

Tough situation. But, to me it seems like your friend and her boyfriend need to sit down and talk about this situation. Maybe they just need to see each others side. If they have a strong relationship then her training shouldn't be problem. Maybe they can set aside time each week where they do things together. I am not sure of their dynamics together, but part of a relationship is support, compromise and communication.

Elisabeth @ 4:56 PM, August 02, 2009  

My BF is just as active as I am, so I haven't had this specific issue. However, I do know that having time for each other in our world of running, cross training, weight lifting, martial arts classes, and work is very difficult.

It really does come down to compromise. If I know that he's sleeping later than I am, I get my run in during the hours that he's still sleeping. If he has a martial arts class at 7PM, I'll come home from work at 5:30, chill out with him for a couple of hours, then hit the gym at 7 for my cross-train.

You have to find a schedule that works best for both of you. Although it is technically selfish of HIM to require that you change your schedule completely, you also need to put enough value into the time you have together to be willing to compromise a little.

Have you considered that he may just be feeling a little jealous that you are experiencing so many of your fitness goals solo? Maybe he wants to be included in some way?

Missy 5:12 PM, August 02, 2009  

Getting in workouts before he's even awake - sucks but helps.

Dragging his ass on every bike ride with me, ok, most, helps.

Making sure he's getting time to do his 'thing' - whatever it may be.

Always make time for sex, even when you're too tired to think about it because you just rode a bike for 6 hours and your junk hurts. Guys really are that simple - sex, food, eat, sleep, gets them pretty happy;) ...I have found in my own world.

Wedgie 5:25 PM, August 02, 2009  

As a perpetually-single person I'm the last person to be giving advice. But this is the internet so everyone's an expert. And I was a HUGE Melrose Place fan so I know a thing or two about how relationships work.

First: Let's make sure the girlfriend isn't passive-aggressively using her training to escape part of the relationship. I have seen that happen and people don't even realize they're doing it. But assuming that isn't the case, then it's the boyfriend who is being selfish. Training and racing isn't a hobby, it's part of who we are. It's part of our identity. And how exciting for the boyfriend to have so many opportunities to support and be proud of his girlfriend. Plus, he gets the added bonus that she's going to be/get into pretty good shape.

"Compromise" is a dangerous word because too often the wrong people are the ones making the bigger sacrifices. I don't know these people nor the specific situation, but I just don't want her to have to give up a part of herself to appease a boyfriend who maybe doesn't understand.

And if I learned anything from Melrose Place, there is no conflict that can't be resolved by throwing somebody into a pool.

Trishie 6:40 PM, August 02, 2009  

^^ all good advice so far.

My husband is (luckily) very cool with my training and how much time I spend on the road, but I make sure to do things for him/ for both of us. For example, he's a big Giants fan (and I'm a big Skins fan) so I bought us fball tickets to NY/ Washington. I take us out to dinner midweek (and I treat!), etc. I also make sure he knows how much I appreciate his support (I wrote an 'open letter' to him on my blog on our anniversary). good luck!!

JenC 6:41 PM, August 02, 2009  

When my husband and I started dating, he was way serious into Ironman training. We literally only saw each other once a week. I didn't care though, because that one time was a quality experience.

Bottom line. He needs to except her for who she is and if he can't, show him to the door. Life is too short to feel bad doing the things that make you happy.

Pharmie 7:13 PM, August 02, 2009  

I think once upon a time when this was an issue for us (before college even, I remember this talk in high school - sheesh we're old). I said something like, "Look, running and staying in shape helps me to be happy and healthy. Without taking care of myself, how can I be putting energy into our relationship?" I'm sure it was a MUCH longer conversation than that, but that's the meat of it.

It took us years, but now this is something that we share, and we have tons of fun doing it. This definitely won't be the result in every case, but here are a few ways to help it along:
1. Ask if he wants to come with. Ask often, but not every time. Do it in a way so he knows that it's totally OK if he says no but you'd love to have him join you. Do it for a workout that you know he could handle.
2. Try to drag him to a race or two, but only if he actually wants to come. Sometimes just being there is motivation enough to start something!
3. If he truly detests working out/training, encourage him to explore some of his own interests.
4. Don't be too pushy. He has to find it himself or he'll hate it.

I could go on, but I think I'd just be repeating more of what's already been said. Good luck!

Kat 8:55 PM, August 02, 2009  

My Hubby is pretty sedentary so without some creativity we would see a lot less of each other than we do. Hubby isn't the type to get mad if I'm not able to spend a lot of time with him on a workout day, but because we do obviously like to spend time together, I take the following steps to help:
Thinking "outside the box" when scheduling workouts. Maybe get up an hour earlier and go to bed an hour earlier, or do some searching for alternate workout locations that might allow you to save on travel time to/from the pool,etc.
Also, in exchange for him being so patient with my schedule, I try to let him pick how we spend our "together days". Lastly, I sat down and asked him what type of "Sport" he would like to do together and so now we do martial arts together one day a week. Not really tri-related, but it'll help my fitness level more than watching a movie with him and still keep him happy too.

Regina 9:28 PM, August 02, 2009  

I have a husband and a three year old son. Although this is my first year doing triathlons, it was still a big change in terms of how much more I was "working out" than I had been.

My husband is NOT a morning person, so I try to do most of my workouts before anyone is up. This isn't easy as I too am NOT a morning person. My husband never complains, which I am thankful for, but my son does, although very occasionally.

My husband is a professional cameraman for TV News, and still photography is a new, very serious, hobby for him. So now he gets very excited to go to races and photograph, not just me, but other athletes too. It serves as good practice and a portfolio builder. As a former athlete, now with no cartilage left in his knee, he does understand the love of sport.

He also knows, if I get my workouts in I am a happier wife and mommy.

I have passed on a run or too if my son has gotten upset, priorities, but most of the time he is proud of his mommy.

Not sure if any of this helps, but if there is any chance in getting him involved, as others have also suggested, that might help. Maybe you sacrifice a workout to spend time with him (just every once in a blue moon!)'s all about compromise.

Runner Leana 9:47 PM, August 02, 2009  

So many people have given some great advice. I'm single and I struggle with this so much whenever I look at dating someone. Triathlon is such a big commitment. Part of it is me making it a big commitment since I'm single and I have time....but I do try to schedule things so I have free time. I swim early in the morning, and lately my long run has been me running into work. That may not work for everyone, but at least it frees up a lot of my evenings.

Ultimately you want someone who will support you through this. Maybe not necessarily a workout buddy, but someone who will come and cheer you on at your race. And if there is some way to reciprocate that for him that would be great. It will take some open and honest communication.

This problem isn't specific to triathlon by the way. The big problem comes when there is such a discrepancy in the level of activity of the two partners. If you need that level of activity to keep you a happy and healthy person though, what do you do?

I wish her the best of luck. This happens to a lot of couples and I'm sure that if this relationship is important to them they can work through this. 10:06 PM, August 02, 2009  

Get him out there with you! My fiance was gone for 6 months 2,000 miles away...I had since gotten into cycling. When he got back, I bought him a bike and we haven't stopped training since!
It was the best $500 I ever spent because I get to spend SO much time with him. Not only that, but we are more healthy because of it. Instead of finding ways to be lazy together, we find things to do...swimming, biking and running!
Nothing like doing it with your best friend.

Lindsay 6:27 AM, August 03, 2009  

i sometimes get a mini-guilt trip about putting running first, but i've never actually felt bad about it. he knows how important running is to my sanity and i make an effort to spend my non-running time with him. luckily he's gotten into running a little, and will often bike along next to me on my long runs. i can't imagine how boring that is but it's really nice to have him there.

everyone has given good advice and hopefully you will be able to find a middle-ground. maybe you can invite him out for the last couple miles of your run, see if he takes to it at all? :)

Sun Runner 8:33 AM, August 03, 2009  

Everything that should be said pretty much already has, but I just have to add my two cents. This happened to me.

Short story: I got divorced.

Long story: way too long to write about here.

In-Between story: My Ex-Husband did not look favorably on my running endeavors. He was unwilling to accept how important running had become to me after I joined Weight Watchers and started losing a LOT of weight. The Last Straw came on December 20, 2008. I was dressed and ready to head out for a chilly yet enjoyable run and as I stepped to the door, Ex-H said, with as much scorn and derision as he could, "Well, time to go appease the running gods again."

And that was it. In that moment, I knew it was over. I'd had enough of his jibes and verbal put-downs. Of course, there were other factors at play in the disintegration of our relationship. But..."Time to appease the running gods again." I thought to myself: "I do not want to have to hear that [and many other things besides] every time I lace up my running shoes...for the rest of my life."

I'm now dating someone new, another runner. He understands completely, because he goes out to appease the running gods all the time as well. Sometimes we appease the running gods together. :)

Rachel 9:21 AM, August 03, 2009  

What a great topic. I deal with this all the time as my boyfriend doesn't run. I find times that don't interrupt "our time" to get my runs right after work when I'd be sitting in traffic anyway or bright and early when he is sleeping. Luckily if I do have to get a run done during "our time" I can justify it because he has his own hobbies that take up lots of time as well (racing cars).

Tri Mommy 10:26 AM, August 03, 2009  

I encounter this from time to time with my husband. I tried to get him to do a tri, which he did and promptly said it was the first and last one he would ever do. Having 3 year old twins makes it even more interesting. Part of it is jealousy that he doesn't have something like this of his own, but part of it is that he misses his wife being around so that the day can be a bit more spontaneous. But the things that we have found work the best is to sit down every Sunday together and talk about the workouts for that week and how we can make things work. For the most part, I workout in the mornings before work and as much as possible after I have at least helped out getting the girls ready for daycare. There are some mornings that I am not around for that, but we talk about which mornings and all that the Sunday prior. I also have one weekend day that is my rest day so we have an entire day together as a family. And sometimes I end up skipping a workout here or there because of the kids needing or wanting their Mommy, etc. It's all about flexibility and seeing what you can do to communicate and work it out together. Without the support of your loved ones, it's going to make it miserable. Please tell your friend "good luck" from me!

The Boring Runner 5:30 PM, August 03, 2009  

I think that you could ask any long distance athlete in a committed relationship if this has come up and I'll bet that most would agree that it has. That said, I'm sure that every person is different and every situation is different. For example, I am married to a wonderful nonathletic person who initially expressed some of the same concerns that your S.O. did. In fact, we are still working through them (after 10 years of being together and 5 years of marriage!) So, the take away is that, in my case, they never go away completely. Things that I've found that help:

1. If I get up early, cutting into my own sleep, and getting a jump on everyone, everything runs much more smoothly.
2. Communicating that the time spent is hobby time. Some women shop, have brunch with the girls, etc etc. You train. The time would be spent somewhere else anyway - you are just more fit as a result.
3. Rearrange your schedule to have your 'hard/long' workouts on Sunday/Monday. This will enable you to stay up late on Friday to have at least one day 'out'. That one has worked wonders for me (when I could do it). I'm not sure what your training looks like, but even a longish run/ride is doable Monday after work.

Joe and Christy 11:14 PM, August 03, 2009  

Good discussion, y'all. My husband got into endurance biking before I got active. I vividly remember feeling left out of this new and exciting part of his life, but not not really being able to articulate (in a non-pathetic and non-insecure sounding way) why I felt so excluded. While I was happy that my husband was getting in shape (and who doesn't like a partner with rock-solid abs?) and I supported him as best I could, I did struggle with feelings of annoyance and jealousy at the sheer amount of physical time and mental energy he spent on cycling. The sweaty inside-out biking shorts draped about, the internet forums, the dashing off if anyone called for a ride... For a while, it just tripped up the established balance and patterns of our relationship.

While we have ended up happily ever after on a tandem (now he gets really good workouts by hauling me up and down the hills!), I would advise your friend to acknowledge the validity her partner's feelings, take full stock of the relationship, and take some of the good advice above to together find a way to care for each other.

Melanie 11:21 PM, August 03, 2009  

After almost 11 years of the dating game myself, I've learned a thing or two about men... and first and foremost I want to say it's great that he wants to have quality time with his girl. So many times it's the girl fighting to get more quality time together.

I think it's true... it's definitely about compromise. I've dated some guys who aren't into running, but they have their own hobbies. As long as we find a balance of doing our own things and then going things together, it works out fine.

But I've also dumped a guy or two who has had serious problems with my marathon training schedules. There have been other factors that led me to that decision with each one, but it certainly was a big red flag for me that they couldn't be supportive of my interests. There's a difference between missing your significant other and being selfish and jealous of his/her time.

In the end, it's just like what we athletes have to do on our own anyways... find balance.

Laura 10:39 AM, August 05, 2009  

I don't have any great pearls of wisdom that differ from what the majority have said thus far. Compromise and understanding are key. My husband and I are both busy with training - him more than me as he is a duathlete. When he became injured, I was worried that he might become resentful of me still training and want me around more. He was the opposite actually - he really pushed me to make sure I made it to all our training runs, talks, bike drills etc. He understood what it means to skip a workout and just gets it. He has been coming out to help out like others have suggested - being at the turnaround point for our long runs, helping out during hill training etc.
Good luck to your friend. Giving something up because your significant other doesn't really get it bites.

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