Most people that know me see me as a highly motivated, self-starter who leads group runs and encourages others. However, even the most highly motivated individuals can use some encouragement themselves now and then. That would be me right now. I’m seven weeks into a 16 week marathon training program and have been sick with a cold and congestion for the past eight weeks (yes, one week before training began). On top of that my baby girl has not adjusted to her toddler bed and I have yet to get a straight six hours of uninterrupted sleep for the past two months. So I’m sick and exhausted.
This leads me to the benefits of having training partners. For me right now, having training partners keeps me motivated and accountable. I don’t want to let them down or get too far behind in my training so they keep me going. There are many more benefits that I have and continue to receive from my training partners. Here is a list of my reasons to have a training buddy:
- Motivation. I’m not going to lie – getting up at 4:20am to swim at 5 is hard. Doing it when you don’t feel well and exhausted is harder. But knowing your swim partner counts on you to help motivate her – that’s what gets me out of bed on my swim mornings. Therefore we motivate each other.
- Accountability. When you tell a running buddy you’ll meet them in the afternoon for a tempo run they help hold you accountable. Last Thursday afternoon we had 27mph winds with 35mph gusts. I texted my running buddy to see if we were still on and she said she was going to suck it up! Well, of course I couldn’t let her suck it up while I stayed home. So I showed up – it wasn’t quite the tempo run I had planned but it wasn’t nearly as bad as I had feared either.
- Run Faster and Farther. If it wasn’t for my training partner, Donna, I would never have run my first marathon. Or my second. Or training for my third. I don’t know if I love her or hate her for this! (Kidding) She pushes me to go longer distances and I push her to run faster on shorter runs.
- More Fun. Let’s face it – swimming, biking, running, lifting weights, hiking, eating – just about anything is more fun when you have someone to do it with. When it comes to training having a partner to exchange workouts with keeps your routine from getting stale and boring.
- Time Goes By Faster. When I run with a friend time tends to go by much faster than when I run alone. A couple weeks ago I ran with a friend who I hadn’t seen in a year. We chatted away catching up with one another and before I knew it I was finishing up an eight mile run.
- Workout Harder. Even if you don’t plan on it, you’re more likely to work out harder if you have a training partner. I have experienced this personally on numerous occasions and have watched it unfold in front of me watching runners come in at the end of a group run. My most recent example would be Wendy and I at the pool in the mornings. One of our workouts calls for 5 x 100 meters at race pace. She and I will kick off the wall and the next thing I know we are sprinting 100 meters, a pace much faster than I could hold for a 1.2 mile race swim. However, neither one of us wants the other to get too far ahead so we push each other. What has been the outcome? We are now swimming our 5 x 100’s much faster today than we were just a few weeks ago.
- Try New Workouts. Having training partners also helps you experience new activities you may not have thought to try before. When I started my half distance triathlon training last year I didn’t have a cycling partner. Next thing I knew my running partner Donna decided to buy her first road bike and started cycling with me. She ended up being the cyclist on the half distance relay team and now incorporates cycling as part of her weekly exercise routine!
These are just a few benefits that I receive weekly from my training partners. I would love to hear some benefits you receive by having a training buddy. Post your comments below.