The benefits of training together

7 03 2016

I’m in awe.

I’ve just watched a bunch of people I now call my friends achieve their dreams.

They’re all Iron Men.

In total, 17 of my former training squad mates crossed the Ironman 2016 finish line in Taupo. 11 of them had never done it before. I’m not entirely certain how many will be back!

Most of these people had trained up for one of the half ironman distance events in December or January. Most of them had trained together as part of the group I was involved with. This meant Tuesday night run meetings and long rides as a group on Saturdays.

Before the squad started, I didn’t know any other cyclists. I tried to prep for squad starting by getting out on a few longish rides on my own. And that’s how I felt. On my own.

They were lonely hours. OK, there were only a couple at a time, but I try to think about how I’d have fared if I’d been left to my own devices as the kms ramped up through training.

And not only that, but how much would I have challenged myself?

The answer is that I almost certainly wouldn’t have done as much, as hard. I probably wouldn’t have done as well as I did in the half.

And it definitely wouldn’t have been as much fun.

Motivation on those group rides comes in many forms. Whether it’s someone taking the lead to create the draft for everyone else’s benefit. Or it’s the verbal encouragement to get each other up the latest incline (or hill from hell!) that The Boss pointed us up. Or it may have just been from seeing others manage it that made it seem that much more achievable for you.

But almost as important was the ability to make each other smile throughout. No matter how sore your legs, or how much the mind wanted to give up, a few jokes later and your humour, and determination was restored.

And the lure of a well-earned coffee and cheese scone at the end always helped.

After we got through the half distance events, we all waxed lyrical about what we’d gained from those runs and rides we’d done together. How we’d got each other through the tough training sessions. And even how we’d contributed as a group to the individual successes.

The same conversations were repeated at the weekend as our Iron Men basked in their well-deserved glory. I’m sure they were just trying to make those of us who wimped out feel better.

The journey to Ironman, or even the half, is not for the faint hearted. There is some body-breaking, ball-busting training to get through. But the fact that you’re in it, neck deep in some cases, with like-minded people, who face the same challenges as you – balancing life, work and training – gives you a lift when you need it most.

I wouldn’t set foot on this journey any other way.

*Dedicated to my Amigos. The good friends I made on this journey and who’ll remain friends for the next stage of it


The Amigos





One response

23 12 2016
“I’m never doing Ironman.” Yeah right… | A little old blog, by little old me

[…] also watched Ironman. In March, 19 of my squad mates, including two of my closest training buddies, completed the most gruelling endurance event I can think of. And I watched all 19 of them get […]

%d bloggers like this: