Triathlons are the ultimate individual endurance test. However, global research has shown that training with other people effectively improves an individual’s performance.
As noted in a study on runners’ influence by the Social Networks, online social networks can increase exercise rates simply through receiving kudos — via a virtual thumbs-up — and positive comments on their posted sports sessions. This peer influence extends beyond the online realm and in person, driving more people to be more consistent with exercise.
With more triathlon races returning, the need to work out with other athletes is ever-growing. Training can take as much as 30 to 40 hours a week which can easily take a toll on your motivation if you’re doing it alone, making working out as a group all the more appealing. In this article, we will visit the benefits of training for a triathlon as a group:
Practicing for a triathlon entails pushing your body beyond its usual limits. It can sometimes be dangerous to cycle long distances alone, which is why many people participate in group rides. Road.cc’s cycling survival tips notes how sometimes, it’s possible to get dropped or get left behind when part of a high-intensity chain gang training ride. If you’re still in the early stages of your cycling training, it may be best to choose a more sociable ride or group with a “no drop” policy, where someone will always accompany the slowest member. This can ensure that you always have someone to help if you need to stop due to equipment failure or health reasons.
Even with the strongest of wills, training can be a struggle. CNBC points to studies that show that men, in particular, are often averse to asking for support as they don’t want to look bad in front of their peers. However, better results can happen with additional accountability. WeightWatchers’ custom fitness and weight loss plans for men highlight how users stay on track with their diets and overcome challenging fitness regimens by bonding with fellow members who are undergoing a similar journey. Furthermore, those who are part of a community can easily track their activity within a mobile app or website accessible 24/7, allowing them to stay on top of their progress and even share their updates with other members. These groups can help spur everyone to work harder, serving as a great source of inspiration and building stronger accountability.
On top of having accountability, being able to train as a group can foster friendly competition that can spur you to work harder. A study on the Sport Journal found that even less competitive people and non-varsity athletes benefited from group situations. Athletes who participated in a competitive trial had faster sprint times than those who had a solo sprint trial, showing that there is some influence on performance outcomes. By working with other athletes, you can also learn from others and model your exercise routine after them. This can help you build greater confidence in your abilities as you improve, which is vital in sustainable training.
While most athletes specialize in one type of marathon, triathlons often require triathletes to go beyond their comfort zone and practice their weakest exercise areas. Our post “The History of Triathlon 1974 to Present Day” notes how the longest triathlon variation is the Ironman Triathlon. This triathlon involves swimming 2.4 miles, cycling 112 miles, and running 26.2 miles, all of which takes an average of 12 hours and 49 minutes. The training needed to make this distance and time can sometimes be daunting and overwhelming, so it helps to have someone work with you or cheer you on to help you keep going with your training sessions.
Triathlons may award individual winners, but those who train in groups win valuable relationships that go beyond the event — so don’t be afraid to work with others when preparing for your next triathlon stint.