Everybody trains differently; at all levels of competition, whether you're a world record holder, or a weekend warrior, there's no "correct" way to train for a triathlon. Some of us like to train by ourselves, slogging out hours on the road solo with our headphones in and a killer playlist to while away the time. Others like to train in a group, using training sessions as a one-two combo for fitness and socialising, spending rest periods and tempo sessions catching up with one another. While there's no right way to train, knowing that you'll be pounding the pavement alongside friends can have some serious mental and physical benefits. Keep reading to see why training with mates can have a positive effect on your fitness and mood.
- Support: As we slowly say goodbye to Queensland's deliciously humid summers, we'll need to bid adieu to 4:30 am sunrises and come to terms with the fact that some (if not all) of our morning training sessions will be done in the dark. Even though you know it's good for you and you'll feel better once you've done it, the prospect of peeling yourself from your warm bed and flinging yourself into a cold outdoor pool in nothing more than a pair of Budgie Smugglers seems cruel and unusual. Luckily, training with a pal will help you ease into it, knowing that there'll be someone else suffering alongside you (of course, there's always the possibility that you will back each other up with a round of "wanna give it a miss?" texts 15 minutes before training starts, but let's try not to think about that). If you're struggling to reach a goal by yourself, working out with friends who are fitter, faster, or further along in their training program than you can help you push your threshold and achieve more than you might if you were going it alone. A little healthy competition never killed anybody, so it's a great way to keep yourself motivated and achieving things that may not have been possible by yourself.
- Structure: If you're out on the track or in the pool by yourself every day, chances are you'll need to spend a large chunk of time meticulously planning your workout sets down to the finest detail to ensure you reach your goals. By training with a coach or club, you open yourself up to new workouts, new training locations, and a new group of people to help you reach your fitness goals. Furthermore, if you're training with a club, this will give you a concrete time each week that you train a particular discipline. You can plan your week around that schedule, and slot in solo training sessions or rest days to work specific activities on days when you're not with the club. Training with a professional coach usually entails warm-up and cool-down sessions, which will help activate your muscles in preparation for your workout. You'll also likely get a structured workout that'll be focused on a particular skill, which will help you structure your training moving forward as well.
- Correct form: One of the biggest issues with training alone is that if your form needs work, there's no chance for an external observer to help; you'll need to either figure it out on your own, or get feedback and help from an external specialist. By training with a club or with friends, you're able to have constant supervision and instruction from others who can help you tweak your form to make sure your body is working to its full potential. Your coach will be able to identify which areas of your training program need improvement, and you'll be able to avoid injury, overstressing your body, and retraining the same areas while neglecting others. Training as a group also helps add variety to your training program. Club timetables are usually created in a way that no one discipline is being trained more than the other, so by taking part in a variety of sessions, it will keep your body guessing and your training program will not stagnate.
There's no right or wrong way to train. There's health benefits for training alone, with friends, or with a club, and whichever way you choose to train, so long as you're having fun, the training session will be a success. Whether you're jamming along to a wicked playlist while you're out on the road, or having a laugh with friends when you're plodding away in the pool, if you're looking for a bit of a change to your training routine, getting together with some friends may be the way to go.
Trouble finding friends to train with? Check out all of our Queensland clubs here.