November 15, 2009 Leave a Comment
The key to success in your next race may have everything to do with whom you train. And we’re not talking coaches (though we think they’re pretty helpful too), but other age groupers like you. We found interesting correlations to the concept of tri training buddies with the popular Weight Watchers program. Contrary to what might seem to be conventional wisdom, one of the most popular aspects of this program for participants is the weekly weigh-in. These weigh-ins are done publicly, though losses and gains are not announced to everyone present. While it would seem that this process would not engender much participation, in fact, the opposite proves to be true. What people find valuable is the sense of accountability they feel to others in the group to show up and demonstrate improvement.
The same concept could apply to triathlon training. How many of us, when the alarm has gone off on a cold and dark morning of a training run, bike or swim, have just shut it off and turned over – when we had no plans to train with someone else? The likelihood of not only completing a workout, but completing a better workout (faster, harder, longer) increases dramatically when someone else is counting on you and there with you. But finding the right training partners is not as simple as joining a tri club, or showing up for a group ride. The best training partners are people who understand each others’ goals and motivations, know when to push, and when to back off, and most importantly – can be counted on to just show up on a regular basis. These critical relationships develop over a period of workouts, while you build both rapport and trust.
I’ve recently started swim training with a coach, and it’s already making a huge difference in my stroke and speed. But what’s just as valuable is that I have two training buddies doing the swim practice with me. They push me more than any coach could, and they are what motivates me to get up at 5 AM every Friday and get to the pool. Our workout debrief sessions over coffee afterwards are also great. Not only for the camaraderie, but for the positive feedback and inspiration we provide for each other.
When, not if, I’m a faster swimmer in my next race, some of it will be because I got a coach. Some of it will be because I worked hard this winter. But a large part of it will be because I found the right training partners who provided a level of accountability and motivation that is unparalleled.
Fitness Intelligence has begun an informal network of fans on our Facebook home page. Become a fan of FI, and post a question to the group. Who knows, maybe you’ll find a new training buddy or two!
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