Pros & Cons of Training w/a Team + Monday Matters:

The other day Michelle suggested a post about the pros/cons about training with a team.  I loved that idea because it is something I’ve been thinking about a lot.  I have worked with a few coaches over the years and I’ve loved all of them.  There are definitely pros of working one-on-one with a coach and pros of training with a team too!

Last year I needed Mary to get me back to running injury-free after having Skye.  She did just that along with getting me to a goal that I had had for 8 years!  Having a one-on-one coach was awesome because each detail of everything I did was tailored exactly to my needs.  Mary was aware of life situations that effected my running, she knew my strengths/weaknesses and was great at remembering I had a whole life outside of running (and all of my previous coaches were great with these things too).  I wasn’t really able to train with a group last year because Skye was so little. I ran at random times and always left straight from my front door.  It’s been so nice in the past to have my one-on-one coaches text me right after I finished tough workouts and to hold me accountable.  Also, Mary really helped me to build up my confidence again and to increase my fitness in safe increments after having Skye.

This year I am able to be a bit more flexible with when I train and my sub 3 qualified me for the Runner’s Corner Elite team.  There is a huge group of us training for St. George and our coach is BIG on training in groups.  I think he is just as excited to see after a workout that a lot of us were there doing it together as he does seeing us hit our splits;).  He believes that running with others is one of the huge keys to getting faster—> we lift each other up, we get each other out of our comfort zones and we go faster chasing each other.  I can already see huge improvements JUST from training with this group and I started speed work (with the group) in May of this year after about a 6 month break from fast stuff.  The coach we all have has been coaching for decades.  He is very invested in our training, communicates multiple times a week with us, tailors our workouts to exactly what we need for the day/week and is very encouraging (even when his workouts scare us;).

Free picture from the Timp Half:

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Pros to training with a team (or a group of people):

*Before we did a big workout called MTC miles (mile repeats down and recoveries back up that hurt very badly and are so incredibly hard) in July, Emilee and I were telling the group our goal for the repeats.  We said we would be thrilled with 5:40-5:45 averages (remember, downhill;).  One of our teammates said, NO WAY.  He told us we should be shooting for sub 5:30 based on our fitness.  We hit a 5:26 average that day.  I’m sure we would have hit 5:40s if our teammate wouldn’t have said that because that is what we believed we could do.  It’s really nice having other people to tell you that you are capable of more and once you believe them, your body will follow.

*I always feel safe.  There have been a few times in the past while running alone when I didn’t feel 100% safe and always having teammates to run with means I always feel safe while running now.

*You simply get faster when training with a group.  It helps you to get outside of what you think is possible for you and try to be more like those up ahead of you.  Also,  a few of us are pretty much right next to each other in every workout/race and having someone next to you working hard helps so much to not give up when you want to quit.  We pull each other through days where one feels terrible and the other feels great!

*They get you out the door.  They are doing the same thing I am doing so if I’m tired and feeling not up to a workout then I can remember they probably feel the same way and it helps me to go out and do the workout.

*Everyone on my team wants success for everyone else on our team.  If you can find people to train with like that, you are in luck!  There is enough good for everyone and being around people that truly believe that lifts you up big time.

*They distract you ha.  Sometimes you just need a great distraction before a race, during a workout or when you feel like quitting.

*They are so good at giving you a good perspective on things… I tend to want to race workouts or get greedy with gaining speed but I can’t tell you how many times Emilee has helped me to remember to save my legs for races or to not go all out in a workout and to see the big picture.

*Doing hard things together builds incredible friendships.  I have gotten so close to these girls already and you just understand each other on another level.  I feel like we already know what the other person needs to hear during the tough moments and how we can help each other in running and in life.  We get taking care of social health needs + physical health needs + getting faster = perfect.

*I learn so much from them.  We have girls that have OTQed, a 1:13 half-marathoner, 34 minute female 10kers, many girls that ran for BYU and other colleges and I love how freely they share their running knowledge (nutrition/mental tips/pacing strategies etc) with everyone around them.  They’ve gotten me to try new things (no music, crazy workouts, more trails etc) and reach outside of my comfort zone which is very needed for an ‘addicted to routines’ type person like me.

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Con’s of training with a team:

*Scheduling.  Some days I need to juggle schedules a little bit more and drive somewhere for the big workouts but it is so worth it.  So far I have been able to be at every workout (hired babysitters) unless we are traveling and recently Andrew was able to choose his work schedule so I can continue to be at every workout/long run leading up to St. George (yes, I hit the JACKPOT with who I married:).  But every now and then it’s a little trickier than just leaving out the front door.

*Oh I thought of another con, I am spending more money on cute running clothing/socks/hats that I see my running friends wearing.  My running gear coveting has gone up immensely.

*OHHHH actually I thought of another real one.  It is easier to get caught up in doing exactly what everyone else is doing and not listening completely to your body.  I’m really trying to be careful and listen to my body and take extra rest and days when I need to.  It’s super important to remember that our bodies handle the stress/recovery differently so it’s important to pull back if your body is telling you to when you are training with others.  Back in 2014 I was training with a few girls daily and I tried to mimic their every move.  That ended in some crazy injuries because they were in a completely different fitness level than I was and I didn’t understand that!

Long story short, I’m having a lot of fun with this!  I’ve also really enjoyed working with one-on-one coaching too.

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And a few random things to discuss:

*When in marathon training… you learn to multitask your recovery with other things:).  Many of my posts this month have been written with my boots (I have a review of these boots here) on.

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*Have you seen the new Melts Collection from Brooks?  I think I need each and every one.

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*Brooks sent me these ‘Change Your Perspective’ socks… such a good reminder during the run when things get tough we can switch our thinking to this is fun and we GET to do this.

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*Random story- this pizza fell out of the back of my brothers car when he was driving it back to our house after picking it up.  He didn’t notice until he got to our house and a few minutes later the pizza place called saying that someone had found it and brought it back to the restaurant:).  Nothing had fallen out of the box and you better believe we ate it (it was like a $30 pizza hahah).

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*I love how these gels make it so when you rip off the top it doesn’t fall off and stays connected… but be careful when opening them because the other day I just barely missed ripping it where the gel starts to come off and I had to jump on it to get it to open ha.

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*Ummm these are awesome… I’ll be using these for dark mornings up ahead.  Brooks sent them to us but I found a similar one here!

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*I love following Late w/Kate and I had no idea that this is what these drawers were made for:

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*Just something I’m trying to remember more often:

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What are some of the pros and cons of the way you train?  In a group or solo or mixed?

What was the highlight of your weekend?

If you run in the dark… do you wear any lights or reflective gear?

What gels have you been loving (ehhh tolerating;) lately?

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15 comments

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WHAT??? You mean my pots and pans drawer is actually for keeping food warm? Did ANYONE know this??? I’m going to have to rearrange my whole life now!

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Love reading this! I don’t have a team but I’ve found some faster girls to train with here and it has completely changed my running. And not only are they fast but they’re smart–they know when to go easy and when to go hard, just like you were saying. I’m learning so much and feel faster than ever! The highlight of my weekend was my 18 mile run with a 10 mile workout. The workout ended up being my exact goal marathon pace overall (with the rest miles included) because it was about 30 degrees cooler than normal yesterday (that’s not a typo). And it felt SO GOOD to see that average pace when I was done. Such a confidence booster!
I’m on the struggle bus with gels though lately. Huma gels were my go to and the last one I tried I threw back up. Ugh. Why can’t they just go down perfectly and taste good?? ;-)

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Um … I just found out that’s what the drawer under your oven is for and I’m 30-year-olds! And I probably would have gone the rest of my life thinking it was for cookie sheets/flat pans if I never read your post hah!

This is my first summer that I’m marathon training without my group and even though I miss them, I love being able to do my long runs on a day that’s convenient for me! If I’m traveling over the weekend (which I’ve been doing a lot of) or just want to be able to my enjoy my Friday night, it’s nice being able to knock out my long run earlier in the week so I can live my life!

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Great post! It made me think of contacting my college coach to see if he would be my coach now!! Definitely share the running clothes you are buying or ideas you are getting from your teammates! Have a great day!

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I run with friends and with my husband. I enjoy running with people. Running partners usually end up being my closest friends. You definitely have to find people with similar goals. I have been lectured by runners that I am doing too much, too little, too often, or not enough strength/cross training, etc (during runs and it makes me unhappy lol). In order to run with others you have to know yourself.

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When I was a kid (I’m 42 now) that drawer was a broiler instead of the typical top-rack broiler setting now.
Love hearing about your team–it’s very different, I’m a lone-only runner, I won’t even stop at a trail if there are too many cars, I don’t want to see or talk to anyone LOL…
I really like seeing how supportive Andrew is too, you’re very lucky!

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I think a pro to training alone is that it helps with that mental strength during races to get through the hard pieces with no one bringing you along.

I meet up with a group on Saturday mornings and we do a long run and then eat breakfast together after. Definitely nice to start with a group and also have those friendships built. Also one person creates the route each wk so we’re all doing the same route and that makes me feel safer. However, there’s rarely anyone in the group around my pace so I end up running alone but there’s still something about that 4:30am wakeup that’s easier when I know I’m meeting a group and getting to have breakfast with them after.

My weekly runs are pretty much all alone, but I like that CrossFit is with a group for my strength training. I’m not sure I would ever do strength training by myself;)

The highlight of my weekend was eating donuts on the beach with fiancé and then paddleboarding. My happy place!

I’ve always used SIS gels, they taste like jello basically and require no water which has been super convenient for runs I don’t want to carry a water bottle. Lately I’ve been trying to branch out and I’ve been trying the Huma gels which I have been loving. But it’s more of a hassle to try to loop back by my car mid run for some water and the gel rather than being able to take it on the go. I’ve heard it’s good to get carbs from different sugars during your runs (i.e. using two different types of gels), so it’s nice to alternate between SIS and huma, and be able to take the SIS gels when I don’t necessarily have water nearby!

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I run in the dark all the time, but am terrible about reflective gear. I run on a path that doesn’t intersect with the street anywhere and only runs next to the street for a short bit so I don’t worry about cars. There are also street lights, so I can be seen there. I do wear a headlamp because part of it runs through a nature preserve and it’s pretty dark in there.

I use huma gels mostly, after you wrote about them and how they didn’t upset your stomach. I love them because they don’t taste weird. Granted, some flavors are better than others, but I don’t find they have a weird aftertaste. I have also used Honey Stingers gels which I thought were quite tasty too. Once, I bought a maple syrup packet that are marketed as running fuel. 13/10 do NOT recommend. I love maple syrup, but it was too much.

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I really like the Untapped maple syrup gels! Is that the brand you tried? I had the one that included coffee – they are very sweet, but easy to get down and I thought they worked well. This is why there is such a variety of gels available – something for everyone 😊

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You just taught me something new about the drawer under the oven! How come know one knows this? I have cookie sheets and muffin pans there!

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I was wondering why you joined a team and now it all makes sense! How cool!
Most of my runs are solo since I run at 4:30am M-F but every once and a while I can sweet talk a sweet friend into joining me. So many group runs over the summer have made these dark solo runs hard though. I like having the freedom to wake up and go and be able to adjust my plan as my body sees fit and if I were training with someone I wouldn’t have that freedom. I guess that could be good or bad though.
The highlight of my weekend was sadly cleaning out my boys room. Sad because I didn’t get outside once but so excited that it’s done and they love it! I went through all of their toys and got rid of some major furniture – something I’ve been meaning to do for literally YEARS!
I’m rethinking my dark morning attire. I don’t care for headlamps and truckers much anymore so I’m searching for other lighting options. I do have a reflective vest I wear and I also try to wear bright clothes and then also run against traffic and on sidewalks.
I have invisalign so I’m staying clear of gels for now and sticking to high calorie fluids and Mama Mia fruit pouches that are high in calories. In this diet culture world we live in, high calorie fruit pouches are hard to find!!
Have a great day!

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Bwhahahaha….that pizza story reminds me of the commercials where they will replace your pizza for any reason if you bring it back. Maybe it’s Domino’s? Not sure. In this case he wouldn’t have had it to return! LOL! Classic story!

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Thank you for this post. I wanted to join one of my local running clubs, but making time to train with them proved to be impossible with my current schedule of working/momming. It is a goal of mine in the future (like, ten years from now), though.
Do you have a time goal for St. George? You don’t have to announce it if you don’t want to :) , but I’m just wondering if you have a goal or if it’s more of a “feel” race for you. Either way, I’m so excited!
Total side note, but I remember you telling me that one of your brothers was a huge Smashing Pumpkins fan back in the day. Well, I just saw them in concert last week and if he hasn’t seen them recently, he needs to. I think this tour has ended, but if they tour next year, he should see them. Seriously, they were AMAZING. I hadn’t seen them live in 20 years!
Have a great day, Janae and family!

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Thanks Janae :) It’s very cool that this opportunity came up for you right when Skye’s schedule was becoming more flexible. I totally agree that running with friends who are faster can really up your game and give you an extra reason to crawl out of bed at crazy hours. And such a good reminder that you still have to pay attention to your own body – I know I’ve had to distance myself from my group when I’m coming back from injury to make sure I don’t do more than I should. Enjoy the last bits of your vacation!

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Hey Janae, thanks for sharing this pros/cons post. I am not part of a team persay (no where near as fast as I would need to be to join) but we do have a running group that reminds me so much of your team. Having people like that in your life in general is just awesome! They help to motivate and push you when you need it most, they are the best. Do you think maybe one day your running friends can do a post on their running knowledge like nutrition and mental tips, etc? I think it would be fun to see what some other elite runnings do. Have a great day!

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