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How to Deal with a Partner That Isn’t Into Running or Fitness

Jan 30, 2017 | Lifestyle, Running | 18 comments

what to do if your partner isn't into running or fitness

I had this whole post planned out a few months ago about living with someone who isn’t really into fitness or running, then Tom only went and asked for a place in the London Marathon so that we could run it together. #Love

I’m thrilled that he wants to complete another marathon, is willing to put the training in and I’m so excited for us to be running the race together but it did slightly ruined my roll for the post…

However, I know I’m not the only one that has had to deal with a less than enthused boyfriend/husband/partner when it comes to running, training and racing. I even have  a friend that pretended to be watching a race when really she was running it after her now husband complained she was spending too much money on race entries.

what to do if your partner isn't into running or fitness

Did you read this Women’s Running article on a how one runner made peace with her unsupportive husband? It made me so sad to read it, and relieved knowing that even though Tom isn’t the biggest fan of my running or marathons, he is not like that guy in the slightest. Whilst I too have dreamed of having Tom with a homemade sign on a marathon course, he has watched me run 4 out of the 6 marathons (we weren’t dating when I ran my first marathon but he did come to the pub after to celebrate).

Chicago marathon spectators

Plus the marathons abroad are partly his fault; after one particularly miserable race on a wet Saturday in Richmond Park, Tom and Leah’s husband Jason were overheard bitching and moaning about having to watch (they didn’t realise we knew Lissy, the girl standing next to them!!). Tom said that he wasn’t coming to watch any more 5Ks or 10Ks, only international marathons…. I’ve since run in Chicago, Berlin, Paris and New York!

We have had more heated conversations about running, marathon training and travelling for races than about anything else in our relationship. Except maybe football.

what to do if your partner isn't into running or fitness

Here’s how I deal with the fact that my partner isn’t as into running as me… 

  • I simply run/race on my own. Last weekend I drove down to Farnborough, ran my race and came home in time for lunch. It was minimal disturbance to our weekend, I got to run and Tom got a lie in.
  • Getting support from other friends and family. My Mum is super supportive and she often comes to my races, she’s been to 5/6 marathons, plenty of half marathons and 10ks, she’s also a brilliant race photographer! I’ve also had other friends join me for races and runs, supported on the sidelines or via social media. I love the running community that I’m part of online!
  • Get up early. I’ve got up at the crack of dawn to squeeze my long run in before work so that it didn’t impinge on weekend plans. Like the time I ran 18 miles before work one Friday so that I could go to Tom’s friends b’day dinner that night and his Dad’s 60th the following day – so worth it to be able to be present at both events and not worry about my long run (although I did have to go home from the dinner at 9.30pm as I was falling asleep in my curry!)
  • Bribery. I know it shouldn’t but it works. I bribe Tom with football, pizza, roast dinners, watching sport without complaining on TV etc. Let’s be honest, I bribe myself to go for runs too sometimes. I fully admit that I run to eat and I think Tom has got that mentality too!
  • Finding activities that we both enjoy. Tom really likes parkrun and used to go regularly on his own when he was in Cardiff so making the effort to go to parkrun together is on the agenda now. It doesn’t just have to be running, adding in activities such as rock climbing, cycling, obstacle course racing, or skiing that are fitness based but not quite like a 15 mile long run might be more appealing.
  • Get a treadmill (and some noise cancelling headphones). The treadmill has allowed me to workout while supper is cooking, while Tom is watching football and when it’s pouring with rain outside. Tom’s also used it for a run while he watches sport!
  • I look on the bright side – we’re super competitive and if we both had the same hobby I think it could get quite serious in terms of racing. I do like to remind Tom that I have a marathon PB of nearly an hour faster than his, though!
  • I do pretty much all the food shopping and cooking, so I make sure to keep a stock of healthy foods in the house, make nutritious meals and packed lunches for the both of us and try to educate Tom about food choices.

Ultimately, I have to accept that this is MY hobby. I wasn’t into running and fitness in the same way when we first started dating, I’ve changed (for the better, I think). We don’t have to do the same activity all the time, and as long as we can support one another in our hobbies and interests, then it’s all good. I’m never going to be interested in football, Chelsea Football club or flying in the same way that he is, and Tom is never going to understand why I get overexcited about a race expo, have more trainers than high heels or read running blogs instead of the news!

what to do if your partner isn't into running or fitness

I love these photos that Will took of Tom and I a few weeks ago, he is focusing on his wedding photography business since quitting his corporate job to focus on his passion, yay (although it means that I’m having to look for another blog photographer, boo!) If you’re getting married, are recently engaged or know someone that is, I highly recommend him, he captures amazing images, is professional, friendly and very versatile. Sadly he was already booked for a wedding on the 9th Sept (our wedding date!).


  1. oscar

    Hi many times it’s good that both have different hobbies as know many that have fallen flat on there faces in a relationship where both was into same things but A where one was far better than the other B needing to be different places C no time for each other.
    But as long as both have time for each other and understand each others needs no problem as you can inter twine things between you so need some give and take but once he has his photography work going further he will need to focus more time to that which lets you both focus on your respective agendas!

    So as long as you both communicate and have time out for each other you should get on fine it only becomes more an issue when it becomes one sided.
    But non running partners can always help out as many things they can do to be part of it so not just standing there like wise when your not doing things offer to help him like even modelling/posing for him trying lighting out and cameras.

    PS have a nice Benbow tripod here (one that has 4 tubes that can go in any position so can use even on stairs)up for grabs as i don’t do much photography now

  2. Sian

    A good post. I don’t have that problem, in fact I have the opposite sometimes! My boyfriend is a super speedy runner who has to run pretty much everyday. I think if I didn’t run myself it would be really difficult! At the moment he is racing three weekends a month, which can sometimes make it tricky especially as we are long distance. The massive benefit is that he is so supportive of my running, he is brilliant at running advice and will always come out with me if I want him too even though he runs in half the time I do( his marathon PB is 2;54, mine is 5:32!). It’s lovely to share that hobby together! Sounds like you are managing it well and good that you are running London together!

  3. Carla

    20 years down the marriage Road hear things have changed. When we got married we were both super passionate about natural bodybuilding. I competed he didn’t but the passion was the same. Now that I’ve moved to different fitness paths it is hard for me to help him understand the time I invest in them

  4. Tess @ FitBits

    haha luckily me and Chris are both (nearly) as into exercise as each other. Cycling’s our big joint love, and he’s running his first marathon this year after watching me do it twice before. But I love running a bit more than he does, and I don’t think that’ll change.

    We’re blogging both of our journey to Brighton Marathon atm, in a series of He Said, She Said posts if you fancy a read over on the blog 🙂

    • charlotte

      I love those posts, been following along! Great that you can share a hobby but with individual passions!

  5. Diana Johnston

    Definitely relate to this post! My boyfriend (who I live with) is definitely not into running or formal exercise. But I actually really like that we have our own things. Saturday mornings, I do my long run, he relaxes and plays his guitar for a few hours, and then we are both happy to be back together for breakfast. I think having that time to yourself helps you better enjoy the time you get to spend with each other. And I’m lucky that he is super supportive of my running, comes to my races, and never complains when I talk endlessly about splits and new trails I want to run! We also do some hiking together and he joined me for a spin class yesterday. So it’s fun to get to share some of that with him every once in a while. That’s awesome that Tom is running a marathon with you though!

  6. Dana

    You are a woman after my own heart. Your “How I deal with it” list is nearly my life to a T 🙂 While my fiance has seen me cross nearly every single finish line, mastered the art of race Expos, perfected the finisher medal photo, and enjoy plenty of post race meals & beers.. you are SO right, this is MY HOBBY. Last year I signed myself up for my second marathon to be raced on his birthday in Athens (secretly hoping he would be excited to travel for his birthday) BUT it turned out, he couldn’t go due to work commitments. Was I bummed that he wasn’t going to be there to talk me out of my pre-race jitters and to celebrate at the finish line with me- COMPLETELY bummed BUT I signed up for me- not for him. And now I’ve learned to support his fitness loves that aren’t mine. Great entry! Keep them coming!

    • charlotte

      Thanks Dana!! Wow I’m not sure I’d get away with a marathon on his birthday though! You’ve actually reinforced that we do it for us! Thanks 🙂

  7. girlontheriver

    I totally get this. When my husband and I met he did a bit of running every now and then and I did a lot of couch-hugging. Now he is quite a serious runner and does circuits while I am obsessed with rowing. Not what either of us signed up for! But it works – I like the fact we have separate interests and friends. It helps that we both are into fitness in our different ways, but the main thing is the desire for each other to be fulfilled.

    • oscar

      Rowing would be good for his running also as gives your more power as higher resistance training it uses so many muscles in the body gives you great core fitness builds endurance
      It’s also great for as you get older as we loose speed(Fast twitch muscles)leading to more stamina so often more endurance sports plus our lactate levels change as age older people can endure higher levels where as younger not so much.
      but competitive/speed rowing is great as a cyclist i loved it gym i worked at had a video rowing machine got myself top score was like a speed boat! lol also had a floor stepper had it on max used it for sprinting
      Miss the cycling as Fibromyalgia type thing wiped all my racing stuff out! could do 250kg calf raises.

  8. Shapin' Up

    Great post and very relatable! My husband will go on runs with me but has no desire to sign up for big races (although he did run one marathon 10 years ago, ha). I look on the bright side that while I’m out running, he is brewing coffee, walking the dog and cooking me breakfast (ok, sometimes….). I too think if we were both super into running we’d get competitive so it’s nice to have him balance me out with just a moderate interest in running.

    • charlotte

      I wish I had breakfast ready! Normally we make breakfast together when I get back!! 🙂

  9. Johnny

    A great post! One tip I would suggest is training to time rather than distance. It’s easier to say, “I’ll be gone for x minutes / hours etc” than to say I’m just going off to do x miles.

    It takes a change in training mindset but I made the change over the course of 6 months and now much prefer training for time. My coach still sets pace or distance targets, but the running and cycling are done for time.

    • charlotte

      Oh I hadn’t thought of it in that respect, although not sure if saying 15 miles or 2 hours is worse!!

  10. Iain @ bettersorethansorry

    Great Post! I have a similar thing. My girlfriend thinks I’m a lunatic for getting up at 7am on a Saturday to go running, but it’s good to get it done early so we can spend time together later. Are you purposely always slightly ahead of Tom in all the pictures or is it subconscious 😉

  11. rob

    my wife was never a runner and i tried my best to get her out and run. finally after months and months of well basically annoying her it worked lol.. we run about 2 miles a day together and have become closer bc of it. she has always struggled with weight loss so i went to a few nutrition pros that i know and regularly work out with and the hands down fav weight loss supplement to aid and speed up the process everyone wants to is Asian Garginia try it , i hate posting any free pub for a page but this stuff is incredible .

  12. Roslyn Rachel

    I loved this post, you two are adorable! I’m more of a gym-goer than a runner and I don’t have to cope with this issue seeing as my SO is a fellow Personal Trainer… however we definitely have different hobbies (I like blogging he likes gaming) and it’s so important to let each other have your own thing! Looking forward to reading more posts 🙂

  13. cakevsscales

    Ahhhh, I loved this post because my partner isn’t into running like I am.
    Okay, he’ll come on the odd 5km and he has watched and waited at races, although he admits that he finds them seriously boring. Then, I started entering more and more obstacle course races and he loves those which means we get to run together – Hurrah! Although I’m too slow and take ages climbing over things..
    Like you, I go early so I can make arrangements, I cook us and just try and balance it all 🙂


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