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18 Things No One Tells You On Running a Half-Marathon with Your S.O.

You’re working towards a big race with your partner-in-crime, complete with lots of high-fiving, emotional pep talks, and matching running playlists to boot. And while some of that definitely happens, it’s hardly as rom-com worthy as you’d like. Well, at least that was my experience. (For tips on how to build muscle while training, pick up Lift to Get Lean by Holly Perkins.) It sounds so freaking cute, right?

This spring, my boyfriend Sean and I decided to train for the Airbnb Brooklyn Half-Marathon. Neither of us had run more than five miles straight and one of us (cough, him) actually said, “I hate running,” before week one of training. Good.

RELATED: 10 Women Share How They Learned to Love Running—After REALLY Hating It

In the name of journalism, I took some serious notes (and screenshots) to reveal what it’s truly like to endure 12 weeks of race training with your special someone.

1. One of you will probably be the boss. And if you’re like me, that person will be you. Since I didn’t want to go into this totally blind, I enlisted the advice of Olympic long-distance runner and PowerBar athlete Desiree Linden. Linden said that, ideally, Sean and I would be able to push each other to get out the door when one of us was having a “running sucks” day. Unfortunately, I was in cheerleader mode 90 percent of the time.

If he was having a bad day, I’d remind him of the 13.1 miles looming in our future. If I was having a bad day, he basically let me off the hook. Awesome boyfriend: one. Motivating workout buddy: zero.

half-marathonPhotograph by Ashley Oerman

2. It’ll give you something new in common. Planning our runs, whining about our knee pain, and bragging about our furthest distance to date was a nice change of pace from, “So, how was work?” and “Who do you think is the terrorist in Quantico?”

3. You might want to kill each other at some point. Actually, this might happen a few times. During our first eight(ish)-mile run, the weather was looking bleak. We’re talking wind, rain, the works. I was determined to brave the elements since, you know, it could hurricane on race day. He was not so enthusiastic. He even threatened to turn around and go home if it started to rain. Rude. How dare he kill my Kimmy Schmidt-level enthusiasm? About three miles in, it started raining, but we were in the middle of a bridge, so he sucked it up. This message brought to you by endorphins.

RELATED: 10 Weeks to a Half-Marathon: Training Plan

Then there was my issue of keeping a pace. Apparently, I can’t do it. I definitely heard about all the times I sped up (I blame my kick-ass playlist) when we were done. #MyBad

half-marathonPhotograph by Ashley Oerman

4. You talk about the weather all the damn time. Al Roker was basically our sister wife.

5. Carbo-loading is more fun. While I have nothing against ordering an entire pizza for one, celebrating a big run with that cheesy goodness is just better with someone who recycles the pizza box for you.

6. Your pace and his could be (very) different. I’m a slow person with short legs, and he’s about eight inches taller than me. Thankfully, slothing is kind of his jam, and we weren’t going for a P.R. Just finishing the race was setting a record for us.

7. And your schedules will be worse. Since my bae works from home, he could run whenever he felt the urge, but I had to jet from a cube to log my miles. That meant slamming a PowerBar (lemon poppyseed, FTW!) before heading home to run. If you have a weird schedule, protein bars are definitely your friends. (#LostWithoutYou, PowerBar)

8. You’re definitely going to talk smack about other running couples. If I had a dollar for every time we rolled our eyes at the speedy pairs who passed us in the park, I could buy a lot of post-run pizza.

half-marathonPhotograph by Ashley Oerman

9. But you might not talk much while you run. When I spoke with New Balance athlete and Olympic runner Jennifer Simpson, I learned that she and her husband actually use long runs to have important conversations. Um, sign me up. But, when we tried to get deep while going long, we realized we’re not chatty runners. Between the struggle to breathe and limited brain power, my rom-com dream died.

10. Communication is more important than ever. Whether it was whining about our sore knees and ankles or making sure our uphill pace wasn’t too fast, we were constantly checking in. Linden says this is the key to making sure you’re not burning each other out.

11. Running alone feels weird AF. When I hit the road for a long run, it felt so good to have a partner in miles. After weeks of having Sean with me, it was so weird to get out there solo. I guess Sean felt the same way.

HALF-marathonPhotograph by Ashley Oerman

12. You can bribe each other with running swag. Since I kind of roped Sean into this whole three-month training thing, I thought it was only fair that I share the work perks from New Balance and PowerBar with him. It’s amazing how much a protein shake and some sweet new kicks can motivate a dude to keep up the hard work.

13. Not being able to walk is so much better with someone who looks equally pathetic. You win, stairs. You win.

14. Race day selfies are more epic. When the big day finally came, it was nice to have someone to be weird with on the course.

15. There are more bathroom breaks. Two bladders = 2X the bathroom breaks.

16. Passing people is hard. Sometimes we took the “surround and conquer” approach, other times it was the “jog patientlyuntil there’s space for both of us to get through” strategy.

17. Finishing hand in hand isn’t as cute as you think. Exhibit A:

half-marathonPhotograph by ashley Oerman

18. But accomplishing 13.1 miles together is better than you imagined!

half-marathonPhotograph by Ashley Oerman

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