The hidden benefits of running as a couple


Running as a couple or as part of a team is much more fun than running alone, according to Andrew and Sue O'Brien.

They should know, having written a book about the benefits of running as a couple, titled, Couple on the Run. In 2008, the pair famously challenged themselves to run eight marathons in eight countries in eight weeks, and have over 100 marathons under their belts.

We chatted to Sue and Andrew, about why we should be running with a partner or team. Sue is a Fitness Officer at UWA Sport.

Why we should be running with a partner or team

1. Accountability
Sue explains that unless we have a partner to meet with, there are many distractions that tend to outweigh our commitment to exercise, “It’s much easier if we’re committed to a regular exercise session with someone than trying to self-motivate to get to the gym or procrastinating,” she says.

2. Safety
Another benefit of running together is the added safety of exercising with someone. “When you become injured or unwell whilst running, a partner will be there to come to the rescue. Running with a partner can also give you extra confidence if you feel vulnerable, for example whilst running in a dubious area at night,” says Andrew.

3. Learning about each other
You can learn from each other, not just in a fitness sense, but also learning different tasks or finding new skills, says Sue. “It might be just finding out the news of the day, or learning something different about your partner. You’re actually sharing time together in a conversational sense and in a much healthier and more active way than sitting having a cup of coffee or a drink after work in a pub!”

4. Shared goals
“By running together we start to develop shared fitness goals and find ways of working together. The Partner running process doesn’t have to be running, of course. You could decide you’re going to go for a bike ride, walk, hike or go to the gym together,” says Sue.

5. Perseverance
Andrew adds that partner running helps us to maintain discipline, rather than give up when it gets too hard, “Once you put yourself in the space and open up to the possibilities of saying, ‘No matter what, we’re going to succeed together’, then you can tap into each other’s strengths and do far more than you otherwise could,” he says.

So there you have it – by running with a friend or partner, you’re more accountable, safer, you can learn about each other, strive for a shared goal and learn to never give up.