Triathlon Training Buddies
Posted on September 20 2019
No matter the distance triathlon you’re training for, the countless days of swim, bike, run, strength, yoga, etc. are a time suck. In this case, it’s a good kind of time suck, but triathlon training is time consuming no matter how you package it.
With the hundreds of miles you’ll log in preparation for the big dance, you may find yourself getting lonely on the trail. Enter: training partners.
Most of us know what a training partner is (someone you do your workouts with), we may not all know what makes a good training partner. Just because your bestie also does tris, doesn’t mean they will necessarily be the best training partner for you.
The coaches at HardCoeur Coaching (who are also Team Coeur Ambassadors) - Jess Smith, Hailey Manning, Ellen Wexler, Mikki Osterloo - gave us their top tips for creating a training partnership that’s right for you.
Smith, a podium-finishing professional triathlete, says: “A training partner can be someone who does an occasional workout with you or someone you can train with all the time.
Your training partner doesn't have to be someone who is the same speed in all three disciplines, or even the same speed in ANY of the disciplines. They just need to be someone who will get you out the door and make training more enjoyable.”
Ah, yes. That key word: enjoyable. That’s a word we like.
The overarching goal of working with a training partner is to make triathlon prep more enjoyable - to make those century rides fly by, the long runs hurt less, and the endless flip turns less disorienting.
Manning calls training partners “account-a-buddies” and notes that your account-a-buddy should help hold you responsible for putting in the work. Let’s be honest - we’re a lot more likely to show up at the pool at 5 a.m. if we know our buddy is waiting for us (maybe they even brought coffee…).
Like with most things, it’s not always rainbows and unicorns. But don’t we wish it could be?! Just for a day?! I digress. Meeting up with a training partner can have its fair share of stress, too.
Wexler notes that tapping into your mood before a workout session can mitigate any conflict between you and your training buddy.
“One of the keys is knowing what mood you’re in,” Wexler says. “Are you in the mood to use training as a social opportunity, or are you using it as an opportunity to zone out and dig into sessions?” Along with doing the suggested soul-searching, Coach Mikki offers up the following traits of what to look for in a triathlon buddy:
- Someone who can leave their ego behind! You are there to support each other, not beat each other up (amen!).
- Honesty - being able to be open about how they are feeling each session.
- Accountability - no wishy-washy 5 a.m. wake-up account-a-buddies here!
Pause, close your eyes… wait, no, don’t nap just yet.... Picture someone who fits these traits (and more!) with whom you would enjoy tackling the open road.
Got ‘em? Good! Give them a virtual hug. There’s just oooneeee more tiny thing to consider when working with a training buddy - the actual training.
Coach Jess recommends reaching out to your coach to determine the best way to vibe with your training partner. After all, you two may have different overall goals, paces, and training styles.
Be sure to establish some guidelines with your training buddy regarding pace, competitiveness, and workout structure.
Training with someone who makes you feel anxious, stressed, or too competitive probably isn’t a good fit. HardCoeur coaches agree if that’s the case, maybe opt for a coffee date instead.
Coach Jess also adds: “I believe 100% the more you enjoy training, the more successful you will be.”
If your bestie is faster or slower than you, no fear! There are still oodles of ways to coordinate training sessions.
Both Wexler and Manning suggest track and pool workouts because no matter what, you can always meet back at the starting point (or pool wall). Track workouts can be especially rewarding because you can cheer each other on (this is somewhat harder to do underwater, but what do we know).
At the end of the day, you need to feel good about yourself and your training. All coaches at HardCoeur Coaching practice what they preach - if you need to hunker down solo and grind it out - go for it. If you need a large support system to get sessions done - let’s find you a group! Your mental health is paramount in training - whether that health comes from solo, partnered, or a mix of both types of training - you deserve to hit your goals with a healthy mindset.
Between the four HardCoeur coaches there are more than 20 completed Ironman races, 10 Kona qualifications, multiple Boston Marathons, and even some ultramarathons thrown in.
Interested in learning more about these bad*ss coaches? Check out their website (many have availability for 1-2 athletes) and schedule a consultation with one of them today!
About the Author
Kristin is a part-time writer and full-time marketer in higher education who has completed seven Ironman races to date. When she isn't hustling from work to training, she is hiking in the Colorado mountains, spoiling her two cats, or asking her boyfriend if he'll go pick up some pizza. Kristin currently resides in the Greater Denver Area. Feel free to drop her a line at email@example.com