Over the past 11 years coaching triathlon in Madison (and a few years prior to that) I’ve seen the sport of triathlon grow in many ways, one of which is the boom of group training options. When I launched Madison Multisport in 2007, basically one other triathlon group training option existed in town and now, I can’t even count on my fingers and toes how many opportunities we have in the area for those interested in our sport. Beyond tri training groups, we are lucky to have loads of options for masters swimming, running groups, cycling teams and group strength training classes too.

The growth of all these choices comes for good reason… group training and a team environment offer a collective approach to an otherwise individual (and often selfish) sport. Below are five key benefits to training with a group.

1) Sustainability: Training with a group boosts the ‘fun’ factor for a lot of athletes… and you are much more likely to stick with a sport when your enjoyment factor is up. Triathlon training encourages an active and healthy lifestyle, one we need to encourage others to join so they also can reap the benefits of living healthy and happy for years to come

2) Coaches Eyes: You cannot underestimate the benefit of having a coach with eyes on the athlete to provide feedback on technique, assess fatigue, address limiters, and provide encouragement. Both coach and athlete benefit from working closely together; the coach gets to learn more about the athlete’s physical and mental strengths and limits, and the athlete is offered consistent feedback on how to improve their performance.

3) Accountability: When a group practice is scheduled and your training partners are expecting you to show up… you show up. It’s that simple.

4) Camaraderie: Training for triathlon takes a lot of time, which doesn’t leave much extra time for socializing… so your training partners become your social outlet. You inherently share a common passion with those around you and enjoy your time training (and socializing) together. Teams can become like family with the right combination of encouragement, support and friendship.

5) Motivation: Let’s face it, nobody is super pumped for every single workout, but when you show up to a group session, it’s likely that at least someone is! If it’s not your day, it’s someone else’s, and their energy rubs off onto others. Although I find most adult athletes are self-motivated, training partners and coaches can play a huge role in keeping you on track towards your goals.

If you are new to the sport or been in the sport for a while and feeling like you need a fresh injection of energy into your training, seek out a team, club or group training opportunity to help keep you on track, living a healthy lifestyle, and reaching toward your goals.

-coach cindi