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Group training

9 January 2017 No Comment

When ever possible I like to train with a group, it’s not always possible but the atmosphere is so good with a good group of people that it’s worth the effort to fit in. We all know triathlon is an individual sport, and there are arguments mounted that training totally on your own is good for your mental strength.

There is an opposing argument, it doesn’t matter how much “mental strength” you develop on the trainer in your laundry with the clothes dryer going, if you drop out of the sport before you reach your potential, it was all wasted.

I’ll never argue against the value of mental strength. The races we enter rely so heavily on mental strength, that I believe every workout should add to that reserve in some way. Don’t underestimate the value of camaraderie, I have seen so many people gain so much through training with a great group of people.

The little rivalries, the “mate against mate” competitions all help the athletes to find something extra when it comes to time trials etc. Often it’s simply not stopping a long tough workout because you’re mates are still toughing it out. We all have roll models in every group. That person who rarely, if ever doesn’t show for a workout.

The roll models are not necessarily setting out to be roll models, they’re simply natural leaders. These people are dependable, these are the people who you call to see “if it’s still on” in bad weather. These are the people who unconsciously become the conscience for some other members of the squad.

When we turn up and complete a session which we seriously doubted was possible, but we did it anyway, thank the roll models. Often over the years when my alarm has gone off, the night has seemed too short. What has got me out and at the starting blocks was the fact that someone else was going to be there waiting for me. I can’t remember the number of times that I have completed a workout which I thought was just not going to happen.

All of us swim better and make more progress when we swim in a squad. We just do more, and do it better when it’s in a group. A few mentally strong individuals can swim well on their own, but very often they don’t stick at it season after season.

Humans are pack animals, we have been since time begun. In prehistoric times, humans grouped together to be more effective hunters. The early tribes offered protection for the group as a whole. We even see that today, when we cycle as a group we have less problems with society’s idiots than when we’re alone.

Even for my online athletes who live in remote areas, I suggest where possible to join local swimming or cycling groups, become part of the local tribe. There’s lots to be gained.

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