Tag Archives: Health

Treat Your Marriage Like a Running Injury

Lately, in conversations with my friends and family, the same topic keeps popping up. In several different conversations, someone has mentioned that couples they know — people our age (late 20s/early 30s) who have been married only a few years– are getting divorced. And it’s scary. In every conversation, someone says, “It just seems so easy.” So easy to ignore your spouse. So easy to stop doing the little things that made your marriage special. So easy to cheat. So easy to just let your marriage fall apart.

It’s also easy to get a running injury. It’s easy to push too hard, too soon. It’s easy to ignore the warning signs. It’s easy to not buy new shoes, to skip strength training, to run on a rest day because you’re “not tired.” But you can prevent running injuries, and you can treat them if they happen. You don’t just give up on running, right?

(image source)

I’m not trying to oversimplify marriage by making this analogy, but I do believe that the lessons we learn from preventing and treating running injuries can apply to our marriages as well.

Disclaimer: J and I have been married for six years. I won’t claim that six years of marriage makes me a marriage expert, but my parents have been married for almost 35 years, my grandparents for over 60 (and both couples still like each other), so I’ve had some pretty great marriage role models to learn from and try to emulate. 

These are my awesome grandparents. I love this picture because it's just the two of them, doing chores on the farm and hanging out because they want to be together. Also, Grandma's hand is unintentionally on Grandpa's bum.
These are my awesome grandparents. I love this picture because it’s just the two of them, doing chores on the farm and hanging out because they want to be together. Also, Grandma’s hand is unintentionally on Grandpa’s bum.

How to Treat Your Marriage Like a Running Injury:

1. Prevent trouble in the first place.
Being injured is a runner’s worst fear, so we take all kinds of preventative measures to keep injuries away. We cross train, strength train, do yoga, and foam roll, even when we don’t want to. We cough up money for massages. We ice, heat, and elevate. We analyze our nutrition. All of those things keep our bodies strong and flexible and keep injuries from slowing us down.

Treat your marriage the same way. Long before trouble arises, work on maintaining your marriage. Make time for your spouse. Have dinner together. Ignore the housework for an hour so you can just chat over a cup of coffee. Do something that she loves, even though it’s not your favorite activity. Bring home his favorite little treat just because you saw it at the store and thought of him. Listen — actually listen — as he talks about his struggles at work or she tells you about the silly things the kids did today. Hold hands, kiss, and communicate, even when you feel like you just don’t have time. That maintenance work will keep your marriage strong, flexible, and happy, and will keep many problems at bay.

My parents are still all cute and snuggly after nearly 35 years of marriage.
My parents are still all cute and snuggly after nearly 35 years of marriage.

2. Treat problems at the first sign of pain. 
As runners, we’ve all ignored that little nagging pain, told ourselves it would go away… and pushed it into a full-blown injury. If, at the first hint of pain, we take a few days off, rest, and ice the twingy spot, chances are that within a week or two, we’re back out running as though nothing went wrong.

Do the same with your marriage. As soon as you feel like he’s putting you second to his job, or she’s consistently being short-tempered and disrespectful, or both of you just aren’t communicating like you need to, address the problem. Especially if you’re like me (i.e. a conflict-avoiding queen), it’s way too easy to just let issues and annoyances build up and simmer in your head until they boil over and you’re screaming at him because he folded your socks wrong when that’s really not the problem at all.

At a recent PD workshop, we took quizzes to determine our conflict management style. Mine was compared to Milton. Don’t be a Milton in your marriage.

When something feels “off,” it’s hard to take a few days off running and watch the zeros line up in your log book, but it’s absolutely necessary if you don’t want months of zeros. And it’s hard to confront your spouse about the little thing that’s bugging you… but it’s absolutely necessary if you don’t want things to pile up into a huge, irreparable explosion.

3. When you do have major problems, treat them. 
Maybe you ignored steps one and two. Or maybe you thought you were being careful, but you still got injured. And now you’re sidelined with a major injury that you can’t ignore any longer. What do you do? You go to the doctor and get a diagnosis. He sends you to a physical therapist, who gives you exercises to do at home. And you do those exercises, even though they suck, because you know that working hard is the only way you’ll get back to the runner you once were.

Marriage is no different. Sometimes, even if we think we’re doing everything right, major problems arise. One of you makes a big mistake, or you’ve let the marriage maintenance slide for so long that reconciling seems impossible. But don’t give up. Work on your marriage. You may need to go to a counselor. He’ll give you exercises to do and conversations to have at home — and they’ll probably suck. But do them, because working hard is the only thing that will get you back to the marriage you once had. (image source)

Preventing running injuries isn’t always fun (see: foam rolling). Taking time off when something hints at injury isn’t fun, either. And when we do get injured, some running injuries take a long time to heal. But most of us don’t give up on running, because we love it too much. We’re willing to slog through the hard times to get back to the running we love.

Cross-training AND quality time... win-win!
Cross-training AND quality time… win-win!

Preventing marriage problems isn’t always fun, either. Sometimes it requires skipping other things we think are important, or doing something we don’t really like but our spouse loves. Confronting little problems is not fun, either. And when big problems do arise, marriage injuries take a long time to heal, too. But don’t give up on your spouse, just like you don’t give up on running. You’re committed to each other. You love each other. And your spouse is worth the effort it takes to keep your marriage healthy.

 

How long have you and your spouse, your parents, and/or your grandparents been married?

What advice do you have for keeping marriages healthy?

 

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Back in the Groove: Target Practice

I usually post Target Practice on Sunday nights, but it seemed a little inappropriate to go from “I’m worried about the flood victims” to “Look what I did and plan to do!” in the span of a couple of hours. I don’t know that a day is much better, but…

Target Practice

Target Practice is where I post my weekly goals. I “borrowed” this idea from Fit. Fun. Femme. I also give myself a grade on the previous week’s goals, because I’m a teacher and that’s what I do.

Here were last week’s goals:

LIfe: Call, text, and/or get together with at least one of the friends I haven’t seen in a while. Well, I did contact or was contacted by a number of friends I hadn’t talked to in a while, but not at all in the way I planned. Instead, I exchanged a lot of “You okay?” “Yep. You?” types of texts. (No grade here. Participation points only.)

Health: Eat clean and get enough sleep. I did fairly well with both of these. B+.

Fitness: Follow my training schedule, strength train twice, stretch/foam roll twice, and do at least a short yoga workout once. Here’s how the week played out:

Monday: AM3 x 3 miles at goal marathon pace, with 1000m recoveries. 12.2 miles total. Before work. I’m not gonna lie, folks, I felt pretty cool. PM: Muscle Works at the Body Firm. It kicked my butt.

Tuesday: AM: 30 minutes yoga PM: 9 miles easy.

WednesdayPM: 4 x 2-mile tempo intervals, 12 miles total. I nearly died.

ThursdayAM: 8.5 miles easy, followed by some quick stretching and foam rolling. I intended to strength train later but…I didn’t. Our nieces were playing volleyball here in town, so we went and watched them and then went to dinner with the in-laws. I would have had time to strength train later in the evening, but I just didn’t.

FridayAM: 7.3 miles easy

Saturday22 miles. Weird to think that a big chunk of those miles is now under water.
watch

SundayRest.

Totals71 miles (new weekly PR! By one mile, but hey, a PR is a PR), 30 minutes yoga, 1 hour strength training

GradeB. I missed a day of strength and only stretched once, but I’m okay with that during a peak mileage week.

Goals for this week:

Life: Do what I can to help flood victims.

Health: Continue eating clean and getting adequate sleep. Just one month until race day!

Fitness: Can you guess it? Follow the plan. Strength train twice. Yoga once. Stretch and foam roll. It should be a little easier than last week; this is a cutback week mileage-wise.

Do you celebrate mileage PRs?

Tell me a goal you have!

Target Practice Monday

Happy Monday! How was your weekend? We spent Friday through Sunday at my in-laws’ doing birthday celebrations and a family reunion. It was a good weekend, but guess what I didn’t do? That’s right: take pictures. Because, again, I am the worst blogger ever. My in-laws even had a new calf born over the weekend, and I didn’t get a picture of it. Fail.  Here, I found you a similar-looking calf on the Internet:

 (source)

It’s Monday, which means it’s time for Target Practice. Remember, I stole this idea from Fit. Fun, Femme. and use it to set little goals for myself each week. Before we get to this week’s, though, let’s see how I did with last week’s goals.

Last week’s life goal was to get a solid start on on setting up my classroom. I’m pretty much there, which is good. One thing I did last week was clean out my file cabinet. I hadn’t done it since my first year (I’m about to start year seven), and I had a LOT of stuff I didn’t need anymore — dated materials, bad ideas that seemed good as a first-year teacher, etc.

picture 007

Look at all the good ideas I didn’t have! This all came from one drawer. Time to recycle.

My health goal last week was to focus on post-run recovery nutrition. As it turns out, drinking chocolate milk after most runs is not really difficult. 🙂

And my fitness goal last week was to complete all my scheduled training runs and strength train three times. Done, to the tune of 56 miles run and three hours of strength work. Boom.

Now for this week’s goals:

Target Practice

Life: Two main work-related goals this week. I found out last week that the (free) web host we’ve always used for the school newspaper is no longer hosting, so I need to figure out what to use now. Second, I need to carefully go back over my curriculum, double-checking standards alignment, so that I’m ready to get syllabi done by the end of the week.

Health: I ate a lot of sugar this weekend. It’s back to the veggie-heavy, sugar-light diet this week!

Fitness: Adding on to last week’s goals … I’m continuing the goals to follow my training schedule and strength train three times, and adding at least two days of stretching and foam rolling. Things are getting tight over here.

What was the best part of your weekend?

What’s one goal you want to accomplish this week?