Forget WAGs, there’s a new sporting accessory in town. From endlessly waiting for your girlfriend to finish her 10-hour ultra-training run to listening to him indoors bang on about his 10K PB, if any of the following rings true, it sounds like you might be a running widow.
10. Sunday run day
Planning a romantic lunch or a cosy roast? Forget it. If you’re dating a runner, Sundays are reserved for long runs. You will see your beloved in the afternoon, eyes glazed with a serene post-run expression on their face. Don’t expect them to do a damn thing, they’re in recovery. Provide refuel carb supplies and beer and listen to them wang on about their mileage, and they will love you forever.
9. Excessive run kit
Your partner has enough trainers, rucksacks, jackets, buffs and Lycra gear to fill a warehouse and every single piece of kit is considered essential. Your laundry room is stuffed with so much running gear you could tune in to Radio 4 off the static. Just don’t question the need for more kit. Runners always need more kit.
8. Sayonara toenails
You’ve forgotten what normal toes look like and assume all men have rotting stumps for feet and it’s perfectly normal for women to have nail varnish painted straight onto their conspicuously nail-free toes.
7. Left and right
All your partner’s socks have a little L and R on, just in case they forget which foot is which. But you will rue the day you point out they’re wearing two left feet, so keep quiet and just be grateful you know your left from your right.
6. Family affair
Nothing comes between your partner and race day. Give up on anniversaries, learn to celebrate your birthday mid-week and don’t bother to christen your children. Running a marathon surrounded by total strangers will always take precedence over family events, so suck it up and wave goodbye to weekend family time.
5. Carb for life
Your kitchen cupboards consist entirely of pasta, out-of-date energy gels and strange little packets of protein from race day goody bags. Don’t question the nutrition strategy, just make sure you always have plenty of food in the house, as there’s nothing worse than a hangry runner.
4. Mini breaks
Your partner’s idea of a romantic mini break involves sitting in a car in the Lake District in the rain while they drop off reconstituted rice pudding at designated mile markers for their ultra runner mates. It’s usually about this time that you decide to sign up to an ultra race too, as a sneaky ploy to actually spend time with your beloved.
3. Beware injury
You thought losing your partner for 16 weeks during marathon season was bad enough, but then injury struck. Nothing is worse than an injured runner. One week of a wounded runner hobbling about the house and moaning about their sore foot/knee/ear and you will be begging for them to go out for a run.
2. The dramatic mood shift
Your partner can leave the house in one mood and return 30 minutes later a completely different person with a cracking smile and a twinkle in their eye. Don’t question it, just enjoy the post-run high while it lasts. Now would be an excellent time to ask for things like engagement rings, holidays and in-law visits.
1. The cult of running
It takes approximately 12 weeks of a new relationship before you realise that unless you start running too, you’re doomed to a life of waiting at aid stations clutching melted Jelly Babies in the rain, so you sign up to your first marathon and join the glorious, mud-filled, wonky-kneed world of running. Now would be a good time to read this. Welcome to the club.