Life Lessons Learned from Running: How Running Saved Our Marriage

Here is a photo of me running on the beach one recent Saturday morning with my husband. We are training for our 3rd half marathon together. We are heavier than we have ever been, in fact he is surprised I am sharing this photo with you.

Life Lessons Learned from Running: How Running Saved Our Marriage

I am not particularly fond of photos of myself at the moment but I am thrilled with my life, my marriage and my goals. I am working on the body piece and focusing on acceptance.  Hey, I ran 7 miles on Saturday!  That’s what I am focusing on.

This is a guest by by Dr. Minette Riordan, an award-winning business owner, published author and certified coach who lives in Santa Barbara, CA.  Her first book, with co-author Dr. Caron Goode, From Fizzle to Sizzle: 4 Crucial Tools for Relationship Repair will be released in October 2012. Learn more about Minette at http://www.bydesignforwomen.com or follow her on Twitter at @heartwiselife.  If you want to guest post on my blog, check out the guidelines here.

Momentum and Consistency Keeps You Going

I have a love and hate relationship with running, these longer distances wear me out, and then I feel guilty that I am too tired to do anything else. Thankfully, I have a great relationship with my husband, and two awesome kids who support us getting fitter.

Running has never been easy for me and I realized during our 7 mile training run/walk Saturday that running could be easier, if I could find a way to keep the momentum going year round and allow myself to get fitter, stronger and faster.

That’s true for marriage also: it takes momentum and consistency to keep the mojo flowing, it takes the willingness to keep having the important conversations and to constantly touch base with each other with a talk, a touch, a smile or a quick text.

Time for Change

It’s been a couple of years since our last half marathon. During our training for that event, my business was struggling, we were struggling with our finances, and my husband was unhappy in his job. We were stressed out and stretched thin.

Running brought us back to each other and back to ourselves. It brought us home happier and more present for our children. It also gave us time and space to dream and to plan what we needed to do to create the life we really wanted.  That was the moment when we realized we needed to make some serious changes in our lifestyle.

Establishing a Good Flow

It took us a couple of years to get everything going the direction we wanted. We recently moved our family from Texas to California. We are living near the coast again and near family again.  We worked hard to get here and it’s exciting to be able to celebrate the joy and freedom we have created for ourselves.

Here are a five life lessons I would like to share from our experience of running together:

  1. We realized we were not spending enough time together as a couple – we needed time away from the kids to talk through the difficulties we were experiencing.
  2. Running makes me feel good about myself – I always feel better when I am exercising consistently.
  3. When I feel good about myself, I feel much better about everyone else as well.
  4. Running is a great way to relieve stress, both physical and emotional.
  5. Making running a consistent habit means we are also creating time to be together 3 to 4 days a week, without the distractions of regular life. 

Finishing the Race

No matter what is happening in our lives, it tends to be hectic, and we are easily distracted by all the to-dos on our list.  For the first two months we were in our new home, my husband and I walked together every single day!  We were averaging 25 miles a week with 6 mile walks on the beach on the weekends.

We did not dive into running again without some prep time, mental and physical.  We were reluctant to start running, knowing our weight is not optimal. Then my husband remembered the people who passed us in the last half marathon, we know we can do this.  It’s not about speed, it’s about completion and the joy of spending time together. 

Slow and Steady Wins the Race

If you are considering adding consistent exercise to your life, start at a place that feels right to you.  I love walking, all you need is a pair of shoes and out the door you go.  I have done a variety of walk to run programs and have found that I feel best when I do a combination of walking and running. Taking on too big of a goal will wear you out and set you up for failure.

Exercise, like marriage, needs to be entered into slowly and with loving care.  The extra time and attention you spend nurturing your body and your relationship will lead to a lifetime of joy.

Question: What kind of benefits has exercise brought about in your life?  Please share in the comment section below.

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