Setting off many a discussion today is a new Wall Street Journal article about how endurance training affects relationships.
The title, “A Workout Ate My Marriage,” is how I feel about a lot of aspects of my life.
Anyway, the premise of the story is that training often can leave one half of a relationship behind, creating an “exercise widow.” If a husband is doing Ironman training that requires long hours, early mornings and sleep in the remaining free time, his wife and kids essentially lose a chunk of that relationship, which can lead to jealousy, resentment and a whole host of other concerns.
“Commitment to a demanding training schedule cuts to the heart of the issues couples often find themselves fighting about—who does chores, who gets time for themselves and who decides where and how the family has fun.
The threat can go beyond time issues. If one partner gets a new, buff appearance and a new circle of buff acquaintances, romantic possibilities can open up—and give the other spouse good reason to feel insecure about his or her own physique.”
I think the issue also applies to other aspects of life, particularly for those of us who are single. How many times have I skipped out on happy hour or even weekend nights out because I either have to work out or am tired from working out? Friends slowly are boxed out, as are other hobbies and even basic activities like grocery shopping, Target runs and appointments.
The bottom line is that IM/marathon training ain’t a picnic, and it takes more than a few hours each week. If you get into it, you have to set clear expectations for yourself and those around you about what kind of commitment you’re signing up for. The article points out that often successful relationships, romantic or not, are with others who share your interest in training.
Fair. But don’t lose sight of the balance you need to stay sane. I think if I hung out exclusively with triathletes I’d go crazy. I need my other awesome friends to talk about things other than training, go out for events other than long runs and generally remind me that I’m more than an athlete. If you can find friends, significant others, etc. who are supportive and can get excited about your exploits without participating directly, you’re in great shape.
[That’s my goal, anyway. Apologies and a huge thanks to all my friends who will see me less and less as the season goes on…]
Do your workouts strain your relationships? What do you do to keep the balance?