This is my third year in the world of triathlons and duathlons. When I started, I did every training session on my own. I was embarrassed, afraid of looking a fool, and self-conscious. I heard other people at the races I entered talking with their friends and telling stories about their experiences training and racing, and I told myself that I was better doing it on my own because there would be no pressure.Where did I get the idea that one person can do everything on their own? Even the most self-motivated individuals can use some help from time to time. Think about it. The world of sports is full of people with coaches, and not one of the athletes in ANY sport you choose can do it alone and expect to improve or train without injury.Limited Improvement Going SoloI am a loner by nature. I have always been a self-starter, someone who can motivate others and myself. I am a hard worker, and I am reliable. So why have I not improved in any category since I swam, biked, and ran my first race? I want to. In fact, I want to try a marathon, which could one day turn into an Ironman if I really work at it. Benefits of Club or Team Group TrainingAfter three years in an active lifestyle, I decided I needed some help. I cannot afford to buy one-on-one training, so instead I went to a local "Team In Training" [TNT] meeting to see what it was all about. It is a charitable organization, and when I read the articles and brochures I supported the cause and thought it was a good place to start. I sat in the meeting room saying nothing to any of the other people there, and decided I was just going to listen for a few minutes, then leave.
Over an hour later, I had quietly dried a few tears listening to the speakers and watching the videos. I was crying not just because TNT does fantastic work, but because I realized for the first time in my life that a self-motivated, hard working, and dedicated person needs a little help from time to time. I needed input from something other than a magazine.The Best of Both WorldsThe perceived effort and technical knowledge barriers for competing in an Olympic distance triathlon or a marathon seemed so high that the notion of training on my own was inconceivable. I am still a loner, and I train on my own when I feel like it, but being with other people who face the SAME fears as me, and who are at the SAME level as me, is an inspiring and motivating experience. If you think you could never join a group because, as a loner, the idea of mass exercise is abhorrent to you, then look for an organization or a local group who are willing to train in small groups, and will help you at every level of experience. It is worth the pain of getting to the first meeting and it will help you get to the starting line of that race you thought you would never do.