Athletics Magazine

Find a Group and Become a Better Athlete

By Brisdon @shutuprun

As much as I love the solitude of solo workouts, there is just something about a group.

Find a Group and Become a Better Athlete

Picture taken in Thailand in 2006. There are 400 of these guys! {source}

My group cycling workouts are back in full force. I joined the ladies yesterday at 6:00 a.m. It’s amazing how the miles fly by whilst in the middle of an efficient little posse of estrogen cyclists (vagina peloton?).


Here we are. Me on the left in pink.

About half way out, we got in a pace line and hauled some ass. This is a newer concept for me – the pace line. If you don’t know what it is, in our case it involves a single file line of cyclists, close together, drafting off of another another. We change positions in the line by having the last person merge left and pull out. They cruise to the front and merge back in as the leader. And, so it goes.  You can really get going, and it requires quite a bit of concentration or at least it does for me.

This morning ride sets the tone for my whole day. We get in about 20-25 swift miles, I grab a cup of coffee on the way home and it is scarcely 7:30 a.m. I get to catch up with other mom athletes who are doing what I do – trying to fit in workouts and training goals around lives that include work schedules, parenting and all the other crap we fit into a day.  I get great training ideas and motivation from these girls. I learn about new races and challenges.

But, it takes guts to join a group. At least it does for me. I am always afraid of being the slowest (doesn’t matter if you are), or being left out (never happens). You put yourself out on a limb when you show up – it’s like being the new kid on the first day of school all over again. But, I find if you can get past the fear and just show up, you’re never sorry.

Next up for me is going to masters swimming on Friday. This has just started at our outdoor pool and I hear the coach is great. After having a less than stellar time with my last masters experience, I’m hoping for better results.

I don’t have a running group and I don’t want one right now. I am working on my form and this requires extreme concentration. Listening to music or talking is not an option. I am also (gulp) going to start heart rate training, which will slow me down considerably. Eventually, I’ll be ready to run with others, but not now.

My advice  is that if you have something you love to do be it running, cycling or swimming, try going with a group every now and again. Besides being a great and supportive community, you learn a lot. You become stronger by being with with people who might be a tad faster than you are and might know more than you do.  A group makes you feel more a part of your fitness community. We get in our own little bubbles with workouts and it’s good to branch out and connect. You don’t have to do it for every workout – even just once a week is good.

Here are some more reasons to get with a group:

  • Meeting with people holds you accountable to your workouts. You don't want to not show up and have them call you a pussy. Just kidding. They won’t.
  • You can learn how other people manage their time, their nutrition, and their training. Their poop issues.
  • It’s a great way to give and get advice. “Never wipe with a leaf. It hurts.”
  • You’ll be introduced to a new social circle.
  • If you are new to an area, it’s a great way to meet people with similar interests.

Here are some reasons to not get with a group:

  • If they don’t allow farting. How can your run and not let one (or seven) slip?

Are you part of a fitness or training group? Like it or not so much? I joined this cycling group last summer. After my Team in Training marathon training group, this was my first group. I don’t want to be with people for every workout, but I love the camaraderie, support and motivation the group offers.



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