I met my husband because of fitness. Six years ago, I was a newish runner, fresh off a messy breakup and ready to do something for myself—ideally something affordable, since I was now the sole occupant of a New York City studio apartment that I definitely could not quite afford. So when I saw that a local running store was looking for runners to train for a marathon as part of a marketing campaign, I jumped at the chance—as in, I quickly applied online and then forgot about it for a few weeks.
The short version of this story is that I ended up getting selected for the campaign, and along the way I met a cute guy I thought was the caterer for the whole thing. (Nope—just because someone offers you a piece of fruit one time at a photo shoot does not make him a caterer.) Turns out, the cute guy—Brian—was actually the owner of the advertising agency behind the whole campaign. I fell for him because he was nice and fun and motivated and, TBH, hot in a Jason Bateman-meets-Chris Pine kinda way (at least I think so). The fact that he was a competitive cyclist didn’t hurt, either.
In the first year of our relationship, Brian and I would stay up all night, and then we’d pop out of bed at 5 a.m. to get our Central Park workouts in: me on the run, and him on the bike. I’d run the opposite direction I knew he’d be riding so we could pass each other a billion times and wave and I’d get all giddy—I know, barf, but it motivated me! Saturdays meant a three-hour run for me, a six-hour ride for him, and the best naps together afterward. Our lifestyles seemed like a perfect match.
Fast forward six years, and we’ve now been married for a year and a half. I’m still running—albeit slightly slower than I was the year we met—but he’s been riding a lot less. Apparently working 18-hour days isn’t totally conducive to a competitive-cycling habit. As much as our lifestyles have changed since our first date (which, BTW, was a few hours after I ran the Brooklyn half-marathon—and I wore compression socks underneath my jeans), we both still have a bit of competitive drive in us, and we still love a good sweat and a hefty dose of endorphins.
So when I was tasked with working out with my husband for a week—and documenting it—I had two immediate thoughts: The first was, Yay, guaranteed time together! That’s a rarity sometimes when you’re married to an entrepreneur, so I was psyched to get to tell him that it was my job to work out with him all week long. But my second thought was: How am I ever going to make this happen? Brian’s schedule right now is dictated by work, and there’s not much free time going on. But I was up for the challenge. Here’s how it shook out.
Subscribe X Close Subscribe X Close Day 1: 3.1-mile family fun run on Marathon Monday
My husband is not a runner. He ran a few half-marathons when we first started dating, but his true love is cycling. When I suggested we kick off our week of love workouts (that’s what I’m calling them) with a family fun run, he wasn’t thrilled. But he didn’t say no, and when our alarms went off at 5:30 am, he was ready to rock! Plus, it was the day of the Boston Marathon, so we had to get in a few quality miles.
Going into this week, I knew the trick to getting Brian psyched about the workouts—sorry, the love workouts—was to involve our dog, Ellie. Ellie is a 1.5-year-old lab mix rescue pup, and we are unhealthily obsessed with her. I knew if I brought her into the workout mix, Brian would do whatever I wanted.
There’s a running track 1.5 miles from our apartment, so I suggested we run there and back. And he was into it! The run ended up being more of a stop-and-sniff on account of Ellie’s lack of focus, but it was an awesome way to start the day. Brian and I are very much in the habit of waking up and immediately diving into the day—walking the pup, showering, going to work, all while glued to our phones—so it felt like a treat to enjoy some quality family time before diving back into the regular routine.
And Brian liked it, too! “I didn’t hate it,” he told me when we got back home. “I was actually more awake than you were at first.” (Rude. But true.) “Meanwhile, my assistant is running 26.2 miles today and I’ll probably be more sore tomorrow than her,” he said laughing. (Spoiler: His assistant ran a 3:03 marathon. Brian ran for 30 minutes and was, in fact, more sore.)
Related: 18 Things No One Tells You About Running a Half-Marathon with Your S.O.
Day 2: Brian gets the flu
Brian and I were supposed to go for another easy run this day. As much as I would’ve loved to bring him along to some of my favorite workouts, like a Spin class or hot yoga, I knew his schedule wouldn’t allow for it—and that convenience would be key. A quick run or workout at our building’s gym would have to suffice.
So on Tuesday, I would do my track workout—I was half-marathon training at the time—and then he’d join me for my cooldown. Ellie could come, too.
Related: THIS Is How To Change Your Cardio Routine If You Want To Lose 10 Pounds
But plot twist: Brian woke up Tuesday morning with the flu. “It’s because I went for that run yesterday,” he told me as he failed to move from the bed. After rubbing my deadline in his face (I’d say I did so “good-naturedly,” but I was pretty serious about this assignment), I went for my run alone. He ended up going into the office, only to return home a few hours later and proceed directly to bed for the rest of the day. Turns out, he really was sick. I gave him a pass. And a hard time.
Tight on time? This quickie workout will help you squeeze in some exercise:
Day 3: 60 minutes of at-home yoga with a side of puppy kisses
I love yoga. I’ve been practicing yoga for a few years, and I told Brian that before we got married, he had to come to one class with me. I wanted him to give it a shot and see why I loved it so much—plus, I knew a regular yoga practice would be really beneficial when it came to his cycling. All that time hunched over the handlebars is practically begging for a good stretch!
So one month before our wedding, he joined me for a yoga class in Bryant Park—and he loved it. He said he didn’t know what he was doing most of the time, but he wouldn’t stop doing crow pose in our living room for the next month straight. (Meanwhile, it took me a year to be able to hold crow. Jerk.) I tallied up wedding RSVPs and wrote thank-you notes while he just hung out there, all, “Look at my Crow Pose!” We even did two yoga classes on our honeymoon—including some freaky partner stuff like stacked planks and wild inversions. We survived, which was a good sign for our marriage.
Brian refuses to set foot in a hot yoga studio—“I get too hot and I’ll pass out,” he insists—but he likes the idea of stretching and balancing, so I figured the perfect post-virus practice would be a home one.
We set our yoga mats out in the living room and popped on a yoga video. And this would have been great—we were both focused but had fun chatting throughout the video, and it was free. But that puppy I mentioned? She really wanted to be involved. So it became increasingly difficult to be in Downward Dog next to an excitable dog who just wanted to lick our faces and play and drop tennis balls on our backs during child’s pose. That made it fun and funny, though, which is pretty much the exact vibe I like in a marriage. I’d give this effort a 1/10 on the sweat scale, but a 10/10 in fun.
We wrapped it up with a push-up competition. “Let’s see how many push-ups we can do,” I challenged him, thinking I’d be some kind of beast since I run regularly (and don’t do nearly enough strength training) and he hasn’t been riding his bike in, oh, the entire time we’ve been married. I was wrong. He did 100, and I did 10 with subpar form. Not important. (The Slim, Sexy, Strong Workout DVD is the fast, flexible workout you’ve been waiting for!)
Day 4: 60-minute bike ride
Brian was finally feeling up for a bike ride—yay! We used to ride together all the time—I got him to buy a $60 pair of Brooks Adrenaline running shoes, and he convinced me to spend $1,000 on a Trek road bike, plus the cleats, helmet, and padded shorts to go with it. But the investment was a worthy one, because we spent many hours over many miles together, including a 100-mile century ride two years into our relationship.
But as Brian got more competitive, I couldn’t keep up. His easy days were still too fast for me, so I’d fall back and get frustrated and eventually we’d just stop and get muffins. (Don’t I sound fun?!) Since he hasn’t been riding much lately, though, this seemed like my chance to finally be able to keep up.
We woke up early to get on our bikes and ride the scenic River Road along the Hudson River. We got to catch the sunrise, and spent a minute sitting together looking at the river. It sounds romantic, but really he just had to respond to an urgent email, so I sat there trying to hold his hand and taking pictures. Before we turned around to head home, Brian said we should ride up the big hill that all the cyclists in the area love (and do repeats on—no thank you). I told him to go ahead, and that when he got to the top, he could turn around and find me on the way back. But plot twist, I rode the whole way up, and only finished a few yards behind him! We were equally shocked, and high fived before booking it back home to start our day.
Related: ‘I Got Rhabdo After Spin Class’: What You Need To Know About This Woman’s Story
Day 5: 5 miles on the trails
For our final workout, we brought Ellie back into the mix and headed to one of our favorite nearby parks for a trail run. The plan was to run five miles—but after running straight downhill for the first 2.5 miles, we decided to call it a 2.5-mile run plus a 2.5-mile hike. There was no way I was running back up those beastly hills. But this actually turned into a lovely morning: Ellie loved getting to be off-leash on the empty trails, and then we found a river, so she got to enjoy a mid-run swim (and we got to enjoy a break to catch our breath). The walk back to the car—sorry, the “hike”—felt impossible, but overall, it added up to a lot of quality family time.
The verdict: Brian and I are still married! Ideally we would’ve been able to tackle some tough partner-based workouts this week, but such is life. We definitely made the most of our time together, and we had a blast doing it. It was especially nice to spend some disconnected time together. We are both always attached to our devices, so I loved leaving our Slack, email, and Instagram at home in favor of being together and doing something good for our bodies.
Most surprising: Since then, whenever the weekend rolls around, Brian’s the one suggesting we go on a family fun run. Now if only I could convince him to call them “love workouts…”