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Group Effort Vs. Going Solo In Triathlon Training

Top pros give their thoughts on incorporating training partners, coaches and mentors into a training regime.

For newcomers to the sport, triathlon can be overwhelming. The options for gear, training techniques and nutrition are endless—and often unwieldy to tackle on one’s own. We reached out to 14 triathlon veterans for their best advice and insights to make your triathlon experience even better. Each day this week we’ll share their advice on a different topic. Today, the pros give their thoughts on incorporating training partners, coaches and mentors into a training regime.

Ben Hoffman: There are a lot of theories on how to best train, but the focus should be on finding a coach who understands your life as a whole. Never underestimate the value of a person who can see the bigger picture clearly and hold you accountable in your efforts.

Rachel Joyce: There’s no need for a coach immediately, but there is a real benefit to seeking advice about how to train. You don’t want to go out every session and plod along at the same old pace. Mix your sessions up: steady runs, interval runs, some on the treadmill. … The same applies to each of the disciplines.

Jimmy Riccitello: Indoor cycling classes or treadmill running classes are a great way to get fit, meet like-minded friends and complete your bike and/or run practice in a traffic-free environment.

Tim O’Donnell: Don’t be afraid to alter your schedule a little to link up with partners for training. Sessions are always less mentally taxing when done with friends.

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Leanda Cave: I do 70 percent of my training on my own. It’s the best way to stick with the workouts given to me by my coach. If a friend has a similar workout, we will do it together. I don’t like training with too many other athletes—one or two is plenty. It keeps the quality high and no time is wasted.

Meredith Kessler: I used to swim hours in the pool like a hamster in a wheel. I maintained my fitness but I made minimal strides in my time. Since last year, I started swimming with elite age-groupers. … We push one another to improve while having fun at the same time!

Andy Potts: Some people need training buddies or a coach to help motivate them and keep them on track to reach their goals; others need a coach to tell them when to hold back so they don’t over-train. A good coach will help you navigate your path no matter what type of athlete you are.

Rachel Joyce: Join a club. Triathlon is a hobby for most people, and to me a hobby should mean something fun with friends. Joining a club is a great way to meet new people, get advice and learn about the sport.

Jimmy Riccitello: Masters swim teams can take a lot of the guesswork out of designing a proper swim workout. If you’re new to swimming, be sure to let the coach know that you’re receptive to feedback concerning your technique—or lack thereof.

Ben Hoffman: Surround yourself with high achievers. Whether it’s business, family or athletics, there is always something to be gleaned from the way other people make their dreams a reality.

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