Motivation is largely a struggle in any field. Running is no different. Running has proven to be a lifestyle type of sport and energy needs to be budgeted if one is looking to compete at their best. Temptations appear anywhere from extra dessert to a late night of partying. Furthermore, the voice inside your head speaks the loudest in the hardest of training intervals and races. It’s easy to entertain the idea of stopping, especially when you’re only running for yourself.
There’s humor in the reality of being alone while running. I see plenty of people every time I go out on the local running path for an easy run. In most interval workouts I’m running alongside ten to twenty of my college teammates. Yet I find myself focusing mostly on how my own body feels within the pace I am running rather than trying to better the athletes around me. I came across an article that interviewed a famous professional runner. He mentioned the idea that running was a selfish sport with the furthering idea that the athlete is most focused on their own performances. Even though there is group training, each member of the group is largely focused on themselves.
I reflected on this idea and quickly understood how I was a part of the problem. Many of my workouts and runs have gone by while I have been on teams where I have contently sat in the pack, doing nothing. I fed off of those up front doing all the work. I took advaantage of the benefits of group training, without contributing to the group. This isn’t what teamwork is about.
Contributing to Group Training
I have since tried to contribute to each workout in any way I can. If I am having a good day I try and lead some of the intervals. If I am having an off day I try and voice encouragement to those around me. This type of teamwork and comradery has given running a new facet of enjoyment that has encouraged me to bring whatever I can to training every single day.
It is very easy to become infatuated with your own performances while subsequently uninvolving yourself with the success of others. However, there is joy and motivation in group training; having training partners who are with you every step of the way. Their success can be your success and vice versa. Whether you’re training for your first 5K, a Boston Marathon qualifying time or an upcoming competitive track season, be sure to grab a friend, throw yourself into group training. Encourage each other, run for each other and watch your results drastically improve together.