Triathlon Training- Find some training mates or go solo?
The question of training alone or in a group is something I never really considered until recently. Before March this year 99.9% of my training for triathlon had been alone. I could count on one hand the amount of hard rides I had done with other people and on one finger the amount of hard runs and swims I had done. In March all that training alone finally caught up with me. With my decision to take my elite card and race as a professional this year, I knew I had to swim faster. The only way to do that was to actually start swimming and start swimming hard. It quickly became apparent that I was not going to be able to swim hard six times a week by myself, and after one particularly hard swim I’d had enough. Sitting in the locker room at the pool I pulled out my phone and began texting and messaging anyone and everyone I could think of to train with.
Since then I have been doing some riding with a very talented and hardworking cyclist Brent Goetz. There have been some huge benefits to training with Brent. Not only has he shown me some of the better roads to ride around in the Toledo area and pushed me to work hard when I need to, he has also been there for me to pick his brains about cycling etiquette, race tactics, power numbers and everything in between.
Along with riding with Brent I have also been swimming with Team Toledo Triathlon Club every Friday. For me, swimming is the easiest discipline to slack off so having a group of people to push me every lap is invaluable. By swimming with a group once a week, my individual swims have also improved. If I can hold a certain time for a set of 100yards with a group pushing me, I believe I should be able to hold the same time when swimming by myself. For this reason, although I’d like to train with others more often, I am always pushed to do better.
While there are positives in training with a group, there can also be negatives. It is simple for an easy day on the bike to turn into something much harder if you choose to race your training mates to every city limit sign. It takes discipline to hang back on the easy days, but it is the same discipline needed to reel it in if you are feeling extraordinarily good at the start of a bike leg. Training with others is just that…training. When race day rolls around, the smarter athlete is often also the most well prepared athlete. Sometimes you need to pick your battles.
As a side note, my training is coming along very well. I am in the process of testing my power on the bike and have seen some huge improvements from late September. My wattage in a one minute test has improved by 30% and my wattage in a five minute test has improved by 15%. I was chatting with Brian yesterday and joked that it’s amazing how much actually riding your bike and riding it hard pays off. Speaking with others, I am feeling confident that my fitness is where it needs to be in order to be successful this year and I’m getting pumped to kick off my pro career at Memphis in May.
I am playing my season as it comes and will post my schedule online as I become more certain of it. If you are racing or spectating any of the same events feel free to come say g’day! Until then- train hard, train smart and take care of your body.