“Don't be fooled into thinking that you have the capacity to achieve your best on your own. A training partner in the gym is a great asset because when you think you have reached your limit, there is someone who can push you to go further.” -Brian Houston
While training alone can sometimes be a necessity, it also robs us of a chance to take our training and competition to the next level. Finding an appropriate triathlon training partner or triathlon group/club has many benefits. And these benefits can be seen throughout all aspects of training, not just physically. The main benefits of training partners can be seen in two ways: 1) being held accountable for getting the training done, and 2) the shared suffering that allows oneself to lean into the challenge of the workout.
One of the most important keys to success in any endurance sport is consistency. Endurance gains are made workout-over-workout, month-over-month, and year-over-year. Over time this routine, if done alone, can become boring and monotonous. Training with a group or training partner can keep your motivation high. On days when you are not feeling like getting out of bed for that AM workout, not wanting to let your training partner down can be a huge advantage. Additionally, knowing that you need to perform for your partner can lead you to make better decisions outside of your workouts. For example, decisions around prioritizing sleep, nutrition, and recovery so you can show up prepared to properly train with others.
Another area where training partners can help is during key workouts. When the work begins to get hard, friendly competition can help you to press just a little harder. That final rep at VO2 is just a little more bearable, maintaining the final 5 minutes at FTP becomes more doable, and the last 200 meters of your monthly swim test is just a little faster when you are suffering alongside your training partners. On days when you are not feeling your best, your training partner can get you through a workout and vice versa. If you do struggle with a workout, your training partner and you can learn from each other and determine where the workout “went wrong.”
By being more accountable for your training and by completing more key workouts (at a high level) you are setting yourself up for better performances in each successive workout and in your races.
“As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another” - Proverbs 27:17.
Go find yourself someone to keep you sharp.
Some opportunities for finding training partners
1. Master’s swimming
2. Virtual meet-up on Zwift or another virtual platform (no drop)
3. Local running group (for example: Tuesday D3 sessions around Boulder)
Coach Bill Ledden knows that true success in the world of triathlon isn’t simply about crossing the finish line. It’s about the process of setting goals, being determined to reach them, and most importantly, the learning that takes place along the way. Bill is a USA Triathlon and USA Trace and Field Certified Coach