Building Athletes

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Out on my run this morning, I ran into a group of athletes and after some polite conversation, one of them said – “you should join our team”.  I thanked him but said I’m good.  His intentions were well meaning but triathlon and ultra running, in my opinion, are solo adventures.  Does that mean we can’t play with others from time to time?  Of course not.  But it does mean you should figure out the underlying purpose for your athletics before you hitch your wagon to an organization. 

If your objective is just to get out the door and the only way you’re going to do that is if a group is waiting for you – a team is what you should seek.  But if you’re self-driven, goal-oriented, athlete in search of your best performance, you’re probably better suited for the monastery life of solo training. 

The best athletes I know will almost exclusively train alone.  Solo training means that you move to the beat of your own drum at all times.  The only time the tempo of the workout changes is when you change it and not because someone in the group is feeling spunky or someone is having a bad day.  And the only time the workout starts late is because you’re late and not because someone couldn’t get out of bed.

Each type of coaching serves a purpose but it would be hard to balance these two distinct styles as one.  Personally, I want a coach whose sole purpose is making me a better athlete and if that comes at the cost of training solo, so be it.