Monday I talked about (sorta) training with a group. Buried in that post was a link to photo from the Gym Jones twitter feed. The quote found there contains some wisdom not only about athletic pursuits, but about life (though we’ll save those thoughts for another time), and more important to this conversation, the advantages of training alone.
I do most of my training alone. At first this was because I knew no one who raced. Then I joined a team where there were the occasional team rides outside in addition to weekly spinerval sessions at Athlete’s Lounge. Those were nice. From a group standpoint as well as growth perspective. There’s no way around it, training with people who are better than you will make you better. But one must not take that to the extreme and always train with a partner.
A short, totally non scientific study conducted by me, using ROAD magazine’s twenty questions as source shows that most PROs train alone. A good partner will push you to be better than you are. Perhaps raising you to a level you once thought beyond your ability. There’s a flip side to this. Often a hard effort undertaken with a group often turns into a pissing contest. These contest have a tendency to get out of hand and end up blowing the focus of the session. Ruining the work that needs to be done.
Most (who don’t like training alone) will say that solo rides are boring, just as riding the rollers is boring. To them I say: Why are you doing this if you aren’t capable of digging deep when no one is watching?
Only when alone are you able to ask yourself the hard questions. Like why you are out there. Only when you are free from the distractions of others (and life!) are you capable of asking and hopefully finding the answers to those questions.