Sunday, August 19, 2012

Why I Like Training With Others

When I first started running and triathlons I did almost 99% of my training alone.  Over the last couple of years, I've been very lucky in finding people to train with that have kept me motivated to get up at 5 AM, finish a workout, and push myself during training. 
Let's start with running:
Last Saturday, I did an 80 mile bike run with my new biking group.  It was about 11 AM when we finished.  The sun and humidity were out in full force.  But, I wanted to get in a 6 mile brick run.  So, I put on my running shoes, grabbed my water bottle and headed out down Bayshore Blvd.  I made it to Ballast Pt. Park, only 2.25 miles into the run, and was dead tired.  I filled up my water bottle twice and was heading back for a third refill when I stopped and talked with a couple of guys that I passed on Bayshore.  We were talking about running, training, and some group runs around the Tampa area.  They asked me what I was doing for the day and I told them that I was trying to get in a 6 mile run, but I didn't think I was going to make it.  They extended an invitation to let me run with them to get in the extra .75 miles that I needed.  They were running at a slower pace which is what I needed at the moment, so I accepted.  Thanks to them, I was able to get in my 6 miles.  Granted the last 1.5 miles took every last bit of every I had for the day.  But, I made it. 

Here's one more example of why it's good to train with other people.  Wednesdays are sprint work days on the bike followed by a short 4 mile run.  Earlier I wrote about how stressful last week was and Wednesday I was unmotivated to work hard at all.  But, Wednesday morning, because of Fred(one of the Wednesday group riders) I got in my 4 mile brick run.  Fred is a good runner and a little faster than me, pushing me to run faster.  I'm not going to lie.  The first mile was rough.  The other three miles weren't that pleasant either.   
My solid as a rock training partner for long runs is Ms. Sarah.  Right now she's training with me on Sundays to keep up her endurance. But, without her, I would not be able to get up as early as I need to and I probably wouldn't finish all of the miles that I need to get in. I remember the days when I was running solo and there were many times when I would need to wake up at 5 AM to get in a long run before it got too hot. With no one waiting for me, I would snooze for 5 min, snooze another 5 min, and before I knew it, it was 8:00. Ugh... now what? Well, I could wait until it 6 or 7 when the sun starts to go down. But, then I'm running at night alone. Most of the route I take isn't that bad. But, there are a few areas that are kind of sketchy because the lighting isn't very good and there aren't many people around. For instance, the .5 mile starting one block over to the end of my street. It's all commercial/construction buildings with very little lighting. I jump when I see a cat at night. The other option is to spend the next 2 hours on the treadmill. One hour is doable. Resetting the treadmill to get in another hour takes a lot of will power. Thankfully, Sarah has saved me from this.  Today is a good example of this.  I had 9 miles to run, 30 minutes on the bike, then another 6 mile run.  Not that bad.  Yesterday, I got in my second 100 mile bike ride.  It was the hardest bike ride I've ever had.  I felt like I had run a marathon when I finished.  If I was alone today, I would have wimped out and cut my Sunday training in half.  Thank you, Sarah, for being there to keep me going.

I've mentioned an 80 and 100 mile bike ride.  Both have been with the new biking group that I started trainig with a couple of months ago.  Thank goodness I found them.  I would not have made half the rides I've done.  This last 100 mile ride would have only been 60 miles if I was by myself, if at all.  It started raining at about 7:15 and didn't stop until 1.

Sometimes it's good to get out there alone.  Those days are usually when you just want to clear your head.  Or, for a triathlon, want to train to mentally stay focused when you're out there alone.  Key word is 'sometimes'. 

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