Reasons to Keep Breathing: Love is in the Air

Infallible source of both news and love advice, the Huffington Post, published a piece this week proving that “the couples who sweat together stay together.” Setting aside all sophomoric “thats-what-she-said” opportunities, perhaps there is no better day than today to consider what – if any – truth there is in this.

Credit: Brooks Running via Pinterest
Credit: Brooks Running via Pinterest


By way of disclaimer, I ought to say that everything contained herein is purely anecdotal and not in any other way “researched” or “substantiated.” This is a goofy lifestyle blog on Valentine’s day, after all, not some amicus brief on The Way Things Really Are. (Pass the conversation hearts).

Of course there’s a basic understanding that people who like to be active are likely to self-select for other people — romantic partners — who also like to be active. Sure, “opposite’s attract,” (I mean, who ever saw a better couple than Paula Abdul and Chester Cheetah MC Skat Kat?), and it’s not totally healthy to be every bit as interested in every little thing as your partner is, but you can see how two runners might meet, find each other interesting and interested, and fall in love. I’ve already opined at some length about why athletes are better than academics, and it seems — for many of those same reasons — that they may also be better in love.

Runners are the loaded baked potatoes of dating: Freaking irresistible.

Athlete’s are better than academics because they are easier to meet and socialize with, they are committed in a way that’s admirable and not just cloying, they enjoy exchanging race stories without one-upping each other, they frequently have an encyclopedic familiarity with popular music since they likely spend long runs thinking of little else than whatever is pumping through their ear buds, and they’re frequently found in spandex, short-shorts, or spandex short-shorts (season depending, natch). So it follows, then, that athletes are also easier to hone in on for potential date-ability. Even accounting for varying tastes, I defy you to reject a social, committed runner with a hilarious arm-chafe-calf-cramp-still-didn’t-DNF race story, who can shake it to anything in the 140-185 bpm range, wrapped in the brightest, tightest pants money can by. You can’t. Runners are the loaded baked potatoes of dating: Freaking irresistible.


And what about sustaining love once you’ve been lucky enough to find it? What keeps the two hands cupping a tiny flame (nascent attraction), protecting it from mighty winds (criticism, doubt, fear, friends, family, and dry cleaning), from just dusting against each other in the universal hand sign for “I’m calling it quits?” It’s sharing in things together, and that’s what the Huffington Post piece is really getting at. Working out together can provide you with a number of bonding experiences. Just think:

  • You’ll be seeing each other try something new. Even if you are lucky enough to meet and fall into mutual weirdness with someone equally as active as you are, you’ll definitely get a chance to have a go at their sport, have them take a crack at yours, or take on a mutual activity in a new and different way. Anyone who tries yoga for the first time in front of someone who’s opinion they actually care about is a keeper. Period.
  • You’ll be seeing each other through hard times. Two-thirds up the 40% incline in mile 12 of a half marathon, a fan’s goofy sign will go from being moderately funny to one of your lasting inside jokes. During mile 56 of a bike ride that’s only a first for one of you, you’ll see exactly what that newb is made of.
  • In fact, you’ll be seeing each other at your worst. Sitting on a curb, wimpering about a foot cramp and avoiding crying only because there simply isn’t enough air in the earth’s atmosphere to do both that and suppress your wheezing is a kind of vulnerability you just don’t get from rom-coms. Can they ever find you attractive again? Do they strike a superhuman balance between coddling and coaching? If they do, file under #keep.
  • You’ll be setting long-term goals. In the early stages of falling in love, it can be exciting to wonder if we’ll still be walking hand-in-hand in six months.  Planning a race together helps ground that dream by giving you something to work toward.
  • You’ll be rejoicing in mutual success at the finish line. Success is precisely the opposite of a loaded baked potato: It’s so much better shared.
  • You’ll be toasting mutual success with post-race beers. It’s fine to be toasted by your adoring fan for something you accomplished solo, but like success, celebratory beers are also so much better shared. (Don’t be crazy about it, though. Still get your own beer. Bendy straws are only cute in milkshakes. In 1952.)
  • You may even be saving and budgeting money. Once you’re part of an event-running duo, you may be more willing to consider out-of-town, destination racing. How freaking awesome would a half-marathon in Vancouver be? A lot MORE freaking awesome if you could split costs and not end up in a Canadian hotel room alone. (Canadian. Hotel. Room. Can’t put my finger on it, but it just doesn’t seem like it belongs between Eating a Whole Box of Kraft Mac & Cheese, and Then Going Bikini Shopping on the list of Things You Should Totally Do Alone.)
  • Did I mention you’ll be seeing each other in spandex? If you’ve been holding on to your “that’s what she said” since before the jump, fine already. Go ahead and have at it.



Happy Valentine’s Day to all the loving runners and running lovers. May you run toward each other, run long together, and never succumb to the DNF.


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