Between traveling for work, planning a wedding, and just being tired of training, I decided to take some time off from running between January and June this year. I didn’t quit running completely, but I scaled back quite a bit; I didn’t follow a training plan and stopped racing completely. Therefore, when I finally decided to sign up for a marathon and began training again, it was a difficult process! I have slowly begun to get back in shape and get to the mileage and paces I am satisfied with. One thing that has really stood out to me in this process is the importance of having supportive relationships and how they impact adherence and achievement of goals. If it wasn’t for my good friend’s persuasion, I probably wouldn’t have signed up for the marathon. Long runs go by so much faster when I am doing them with friends; speed work is so much more productive when I have friendly competition; and having someone to check in with helps to keep me accountable. Running, cycling, and other endurance sports are considered individual sports, but I argue that is not completely true. In order to reach our full potential other people matter, and we can’t do it alone.
Connection and social support and its impact on performance and resilience has been widely studied in the fields of positive psychology, exercise science, and sport and performance psychology. Study after study has demonstrated that having social support and training partners increase motivation, goal adherence, positive emotions, enjoyment and performance. This often comes into play for me early on Saturday mornings when I would rather stay in bed, but I know I have a friend meeting me at the trailhead. This is also huge when I compare my speed workout time when I travel vs. when I am in town training with friends. In addition, it is well documented that highly cohesive teams perform better than less cohesive teams. If you are part of a team think about if you are just a group of individual athletes or if you are truly working together as a team.
I think we all know that training with someone makes training easier, but when we get busy or we let things like our pride stand in the way, we sometimes fail to fully leverage the resource of connection. Don’t let yourself become just an individual athlete!
Call us today for training resources and info on training groups in the area. We also host team building activities and semi-private workshops to build mental toughness and leverage connection.
If you are training alone or missing cohesion in your team or group here are a few tips.
♦ Join a training group or club!
♦ Share your goals with a friend that will help keep you accountable
♦ Find someone with a similar goal and train together
♦ To push yourself, do speed work with someone who is just a little faster than you
♦ Race with a friend or teammate to keep each on pace and motivated.
♦ If you don’t have a friend to race with, stick with someone on the course who has a similar pace as you.
♦ Take time to thank your training partner(s) and point out how you are helping each other succeed.
♦ Schedule a team building session or semi-private mental training
Written By Ashley Corn: Ashley Corn is the Owner and Lead Consultant of G.U.T.S. Coaching Services, the only coaching company in the Front Range that is devoted solely to the training the mental side of performance. For more information or to sign up for G.U.T.S. FREE monthly newsletter, visit their website at www.gutscoachingservices.com.