Relationship Tips for Athletes 

Published by Jacy R. on

We’re all about athlete performance here at Athlete Blood Test.  That means we’re mostly interested in the physical but don’t want to forget about mental and emotional health.   

Shop V-day sale: use code VDAY for 14% off most panels

For Valentine’s Day, we asked some of our favorite athletes for tips for successful relationships. 

Here’s what they said:   

Steph Rothstein Bruce

I think the keys to a successful relationship with longevity are never making assumptions, keeping communication open always no matter how uncomfortable or scared you are, and don’t let ego get in the way. There needs to be a healthy balance of give-and-take. At some point, one person in the relationship is going to need extra effort and time and energy poured into them. Hopefully, that gets them through, and then they can return that same energy back to their partner one day. 

Steph Rothstein Bruce, @stephrothstein, Professional Runner for HokaOneOne NAZ Elite, PRO Compression, Mom, Celiac, Co-conspirator for Picky Bars, Coach of Running with the Bruces 

Nick Chase

It took me three tries as a professional triathlete to find balance within my relationship, and now I am here to tell you that I believe I’ve hit the jackpot. Something I noticed I did not have in my previous marriage that I now have is a seriously open line of communication. I mean, we all “think” we have that, but how often do we utilize it? A major milestone for me and my wife Amy was the fact, we actually sit down and talk face to face without distraction. This isn’t something we plan or have to “make happen” but more or less something we do organically to ensure we have the same playbook in front of us. My life is incredibly busy, and so is hers, especially when we have our 2 kids. Also, I married into being a stepfather, which has been a very rewarding and life-changing transformation…albeit quite testing at times. In spite of how busy or tired we are, Amy and I always make time away from distractions to talk and even sometimes argue in a healthy manner. That is the single most operational tool I have noticed with our success…dedicated time for each other to talk and listen. Additionally, even though Amy isn’t a serious athlete, she makes time to SAG me on long runs, and we get out on the mountain bikes together. When we can learn something together and be outdoors…we avoid all the barriers I have previously encountered in my pseudo-successful relationship. 

Nick Chase, @race_chase @realtrisquad Team Principal, Pro Triathlete, Endurance Coach, Podcast Host  

Dr. Sarah Lesko

Always stay open to the possibility for change and growth. Even after decades, relationships can experience dramatic shifts and exciting growth! 

Dr. Sarah Lesko, @drlesko, Evolving ED @brasforgirlsorg, lapsed family doc, mom to 3 young men, @runlittlewing dreamer + runner 

Sandi Nypaver

Make time to play no matter what is going on. Have moments together where the intention is purely to have fun together. Go sledding, don’t pass up the carousel ride, play disc golf even if you’re terrible at it, fly a kite, rock out at a concert, learn a TikTok dance trend… whatever will bring both of you joy. It doesn’t need to come with the pressure of spending money, perfection or even trying to be romantic. Playing can create connection or help with healing during challenging times, but also, you should have fun just for the sake of being happy.  

Sandi Nypaver, @sandinypaver, Trail & Mountain Runner, Co-Founder & Coach @Higher Running 

Jenny Fletcher

#1 COMMUNICATE, communicate, communicate… and the best way to do that is set a date.  

If it’s within your job. Set up meetings. 

If it’s with your family & or friends. Set up time for a coffee or an adventure. 

If it’s with your partner, set up a real date… because the best way to share the heart is away from the busyness of normal life. So “escaping the never ending to do list” is the perfect time to stop and reflect and share what’s on the heart with each other.  

#2 LISTEN… To make the above successful you need to learn to listen and not always just want to be heard, plus while you are listening stop formulating your answer in your head of what you want to say. Wait til they are done. Truly done… then see if what you wanted to say is still important to what they are trying to communicate to you.  Words of wisdom from James 1:19 … everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry.  

#3 BEFORE… you insert your knowledge… acknowledge all they have spoken to you… start your sentence off with “so you are saying… or feeling… or thinking… etc.”  that allows them to elaborate more if you didn’t quite understand what they are trying to say. 

oh and of course…  

#4 Having FUN and being full of JOY is a CHOICE. Don’t forget to bring your fun self to the conversation. Laugh even if it’s hard, smile even if you don’t want to, BE PRESENT… even when it’s hard.  

Jenny Fletcher, @jenfletchtri, Athlete, Model, Coach @ifit trainer 

Marni Sumbal

Find something that you can do together. You don’t have to be at the same fitness or skill level but have an activity that you can share together. Even if you start and finish together but split apart to do your own workout (or intervals), it’s fun to have an experience together where you can both relate to one another, share stories, talk, etc. Even something like hiking, rock climbing or SUP can be shared together.  

Marni Sumbal, CSSD, MS, RD, LD/N, @trimarni, Owner of Trimarni Coaching and Nutrition 
Author of Athlete to Triathlete,Essential Sports Nutrition, The 365-day Running Journal.