The question of whether to train in a group or as an individual has become an ever increasing issue in the triathlon world. I think the root of the issue is where you feel the most comfortable and where you are going to advance the most. In essence, if you are a self-starter and don’t need outside motivation you might do better training as an individual. However, if you lack some motivation or are overall a social person then you might like training in a group.
I have down the bulk of my come diventare calciatore as an individual. Partly, because I have moved twice in the last 5 years and partly because I have not found a group to belong to. I have always enjoyed solitude as a golfer and have enjoyed many rounds of golf on my own. When I was playing competitive golf in high school, I did my greatest amount of improving when I was able to get off by myself and concentrate.
I have also played on teams in football, basketball, and in intramural situations in college or at church. I enjoy the team atmosphere and the way that each team member pushes the other team members. I see value in participating in a group workout session or on a team in some manner. Therefore, I see value in being in community and training as a group. You can push each other beyond your known limits. I used to ride with a group of highly competitive cyclists and they pushed me beyond where I thought I could physically go. This is the value of group workouts.
All that being said there are some practical issues to understand when choosing which style of training you will do. If you choose to train as an individual then you make your schedule based around your life. If you train in a team or as a group then you have to meet when the group meets. This is one of the greatest challenges of group training especially when you are on a tight schedule, travel a lot for business, or otherwise don’t have a lot of extra time that is convenient for others to meet.
I do most of my training early in the morning between 5 and 8 am. I enjoy having he burn of these workouts the rest of the day. Unfortunately, most group rides, group swims, or group runs don’t start until later in the morning or start in the afternoons. These are not convenient times for me to train. I am a self-motivated person and can get up early to train on any day.
One way that these two types of trainings have begun to collide in the triathlon world is through online community and online coaching. There are a myriad of programs out there such as QT2 systems and Endurance Nation that provide online coaching and also provide an online community. These communities often meet at races where they wear the same racing kits and enjoy some of the perks of racing as a team. These communities share a common bond in the coaching and can allow your individual training to have a group feel. I have yet to join one of these online coaching platforms, but plan to in the next year. I have done a lot of research and will be joining Endurance Nation. That blog post will come at a different date.
No matter which form of triathlon training you choose, you will need to be motivated when things get tough, understand some of the finer intricacies of the triathlon world such as nutrition and avoiding plateaus, and be able to improve year to year in your triathlon racing.