How to keep your Spouse and Family Happy (whilst you’re training hard)

If you have not already noticed your partner may not be so supportive when you disappear for hours on end on the bike or you talk endlessly about your love of riding. So here are some tips to keep them happy and how to manage your cycling addiction whilst not creating world war three in your lounge.

Noel Carroll in 1981 highlighted that there was a ‘selfish runner syndrome’. He suggested that

‘Runners (change this to cyclists in our case. Ed.) may make better lovers, but sometimes lousy spouses: that is the problem’.

He stated that runners are an introverted lot. They like to keep their thoughts to themselves. Their behaviour is at best anti-social, at worst utterly selfish… It can create an atmosphere that does nobody any good, and certainly not the runner’.

Unless we are competing at a very high level and earning an income from cycling, we should aim to keep a good balance between cycling and the other areas of our life.

Tim Noakes in his brilliant book ‘The Lore of Running’ adds further to this with some helpful tips. The following is from his book.

1. Limit serious running to every second year and then to only a few months of that year

2. If you work in an office, run to and from work if at all possible. Alternately, run in the early morning or during the lunch hour or both.

3. Don’t allow running to affect the way you carry out your household responsibilities. Doing so provides your family with a tangible reminder that they come second.

4. Be aware of the ‘danger times’- you will know what these are in your household. At these times, be at your most attentive and, at all costs, do not open your mail to see if your running magazines have arrived, discuss running, or worst of all, go out for a run. Weekends too must be handled carefully to ensure that running conflicts as little as possible with the family’s weekend recreation.

5. Don’t get overtired. As a runner with a family you must have to accept that, for the sake of your family, you simply can’t train hard enough to run at your best. That is the price that must quite realistically be paid.

(Noakes, 2003)

Noel Carroll also stated that you should

  • Never complain of being tired
  • Don’t always want to go home early on evening out
  • Don’t talk running all the time (have other topics of conversation)
  • Always play down the importance of running in your life.

(Carroll, 1981)

Pretty good advice eh? In my view (and my partners’) Noel and Tim have got it completely right.


Carroll, N (1981) cited in Noakes, T. (2003) The Lore of Running, 4th edition, Human Kinetics, Leeds

Noakes, T. (2003) The Lore of Running, 4th edition, Human Kinetics, Leeds

Dan Bennett

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