On Tuesday I wrote about the importance of having a calendar component to your training. My training philosophy is such that you need an event on the calendar to put your training into context. This is consistent with goal-setting theories and intuitively we all know that putting a finish line on the calendar and having a goal is a great way to keep a person motivated and effortful.
So now that you have a calendar with a goal circled, you have a plan. What’s next? You look at the calendar and say to yourself, “iCan.” But you look at your training partner and say “iWill.”
- I will train.
- I will be here.
- I will work hard and smart.
- I will compete and get better.
Having community in your training offers two benefits to reaching your goal. First, it gives you come accountability. Saying “I will…” forces you to make a commitment and now you’re on the record. It’s not a coach or a trainer looking over your shoulder, barking orders, pushing you harder than necessary. Rather it’s a peer, a friend by your side in the battle with you. Training runs get long by yourself. I love putting my ear buds in and listening to my iPod shuffle, but having a running partner, a biking partner, or a friend in the pool lane next to you makes any workout not only more challenging but more enjoyable.
That’s the second benefit to training with a partner. It’s more fun! Being relational and training with other people is what most people remember after the training is over, when the race is done. I won’t get all nostalgic here, but I miss my high school teammates quite often. That camaraderie from the practice field to the locker room to the game field, training is so rich when you have others by your side. Of course with team sports that’s a lot easier to accomplish. But as we get older it seems like our sports and activities are more individual in nature. I’m a runner – solo. I’m learning how to bike and swim – solo. Therein lies the challenge.
I struggle a little bit here. I kind of like training alone. Part of it is my time commitments with juggling work and grad school. But honestly most of it is (a) I’m a loner by nature, and (b) I don’t have a lot of runner friends.
My challenge to you is this: keep your eyes and mind open to identifying a training partner. I commit to do the same. I will stretch myself, think outside my comfort zone (which is very comfy right now) and try to find a teammate, maybe a team. I expect this to happen as I get to know the guys at the pool. As I continue to train for triathlons, I expect to find some other run, bike, and swim training partners.
Have you thought about these aspects of training before? Do you use a calendar? Do you have a training partner or a training team?