–Sharone Aharone, USAT Elite Level III Coach
Triathlon is a complex sport that can take a few seasons to master. The options for gear, training techniques, and nutrition are endless—and often cumbersome to tackle on one’s own. There are a few ways to make the process easier, and each has its purpose.
For beginners, I am a big fan of joining a coached training group. Whether you’re just starting or a seasoned athlete, you can find a group that is right for you and your racing goals. The right group offers a lot more than training. You will cut your learning time significantly by seeing the coach regularly and learning from your fellow athletes.
Moreover, the opportunity for fun and camaraderie is priceless. You will create memories and form friendships by sharing your passion with other like-minded people. Here are a few benefits of joining a training group.
- Training plan for your race – Although your group will have one program, a good training group with a substantial track record will get you to the start line prepared to take your race head-on. Your plan will include a day-to-day training session and, more importantly, a guiding coach that will see you during training several times each week. Although this is not a customized program, your coach will most likely work with you to adjust the group plan to your lifestyle through an online program such as TrainingPeaks.
- Group workout – Your key workouts for the week, most likely the harder one, will be led by your coach and accompanied by your fellow athletes. The coach will give you direction and feedback on the spot, and your friends will be a great support group that motivates you through the challenging parts. Having a group that “walks” with you through your journey keeps you accountable and in line with your goal. You will be more likely to keep your training schedule with some friends waiting for you to show up.
- Shorter learning curve – Triathlons are difficult and race day has many unknowns. Having a coach is helpful; having a group of like-minded people pursuing the same goal is priceless. Training with a group gives you access to the collective experience and knowledge of your fellow athletes. There will always be someone in your group who can help with a question you might have.
- Never train or race alone – Nature empowers the herd over the individual, and a triathlon is no different. Training and racing with your team keeps you on track and motivated on race day. Racing alongside your fellow athletes or seeing them cheering from the sideline can be the inspiration you need to finish your race successfully. The post-race celebration is also one great benefit of having a training group. There’s nothing like a sip of cold beer and a bite of watermelon waiting for you at your team finish line tent.
- Make friends for life – Training, sweating, grunting, laughing, and racing with like-minded athletes for months on hand creates a bond that is rarely split. You will be surprised how close you become and how much you care for each other.
In my 25 years of my coaching, I have worked with many athletes in a private coaching capacity and group training setups. I will always recommend the group training option for beginner athletes or those attempting a new distance. On the other hand, I keep the private coaching option to the experienced athletes or those who do not have a group training option in their area. enjoy your training and Go Faster… Go Further… Go Beyond!