Nickademus Hollon, an Injinji athlete, professional ultra-marathon runner, provides the top five reasons to train with a group.
I’ve been running now for over 10 years of my life, from cross country in High School, to marathons to 50km’s, 50 milers, 100 milers and far, far beyond. I’ve trained with coaches, running partners, teams and very often, for convenience sake, on my own. I can say truthfully that the times that I’ve gained the most from running have been the times that I’ve had a solid running partner or been part of a team. Here are my top reasons for why group training is the key to long-term success not just in running, but in any sport.
- Accountability: Paying for the class, knowing that your friends are counting on you or knowing that your absence will be noticed, makes you accountable. It’s easy to brush off a sheet of paper you wrote that says “8x800m repeats at 5:00am.” But when your friend texts you at 4:50am “You awake? Coming?” It’s much harder to say no.
- Motivation: Deflated? Bad day? Over trained? Injury? Everyone’s fought these demons, and you’ll find others who’ve likely overcome worse. Train with a group and you’ll quickly discover that you’ve got a few more swords on your side to help you fight off those demons and achieve your goals.
- Discover your limit: The best way to get better, is to train with the best. No doubt about it. You’ll quickly find that repeated friendly competition makes everyone better. Finding a group that can take you to your limit is the fastest and most effective way to get improve.
- Make new friends: It’s hard for me to put in numbers the amount of close friendships I’ve made through running and boot camp fitness classes. Family aside, the bonds I’ve formed through the hours spent on the trails are some of the closest and best friendships I have in my life. Through mutual suffering, there is mutual bonding.
- Safety and professionalism: A group setting is a safe environment to push yourself to the edge and group instructors are there to provide the professionalism and experience to help guide you in that direction. When I was younger, my mother certainly wouldn’t have been alright with me “heading off into the mountains on my own” but if “my friend is coming” well the sky was the limit. Group training is no different.