The pros and cons of training with a group versus training alone

By RV Merano | Photos by Dan Gold (swimming)

I started as a lone wolf when I first entered the world of multisport. However, I finally decided to get a coach and train with a group a few months ago. I must say that training alone and training with a group each has its pros and cons.

Swimming

Swimming with a group can be a source of motivation if you need to pace with faster swimmers. You get that extra push to keep up with each other’s pace, otherwise you’ll just end up doing all the work, rest less, and tire out easily. Swimming alongside other athletes also simulates mass start conditions and trains you to become more comfortable during actual chaotic swim starts.

On the other hand, swimming alone allows you to focus on your form without the pressure of keeping up with someone else. You have control over your time without the pressure of pacing with others.

Cycling

Like swimming with a group, you get challenged when there are other cyclists around you, especially those who can maintain the same pace. You set your own targets by pushing each other to improve and sustain a certain pace that makes you feel accomplished and strong. Compared to swimming and running, cycling is the most social sport among the three disciplines. I have to admit that it is more fun to ride with others because it gives you the chance to converse with them, share stories, and give feedback or tips without having to get off your saddle.  It’s also safer to ride with a group composed of fellow riders whom you trust because you know that if an emergency occurs on your ride, you can always count on these people to lend you a helping hand.

Consequently, cycling alone keeps you on track when following your training plan because you avoid distractions and spend less time talking to your peers. Riding solo allows you to have “me time” while training. You get to release stress from your personal lives while doing something you enjoy.

Running

Besides the obvious reasons, another benefit of running in groups is that it makes you stronger because you push each other beyond your limits. Running with people who share the same passion also makes excruciatingly long runs more bearable and enjoyable. However, running alone gives you the chance to accomplish your training goals using your own strategies compared with following a group and consequently having to set aside your own scheduled workout.

Multisport is always fun if you do it with people you get along with. However, working out alone allows you to focus on achieving your purpose. I guess it’s a matter of balancing group and solo training. But when you train alone, keep in mind that you have to exercise extra caution because no one will be there to watch your back. Train smart and enjoy the ride.