Wednesday, 12 December 2007

Training in the rain: the value of training partners

While my Wells team mates Andy Baker (12th, U23 men) and Frank Tickner (37th, Senior Men) were in Spain for the European Cross Country Championships I was putting in some long reps through Nine Springs in the freezing rain with Frank's elder brother Ben. In fact this was the second time in three days that I had company for a hard effort in poor conditions, for on thursday I did a one hour progression run with Rob Whalley and Ewen Malloch. Both days gave me a timely reminder of the value of having good training partners to run with.

Its no coincidence that much of the success of east african running is built on a strong group culture (more in a future post from Kenya) and the recent revival in US distance running owes much to squads such as the Hansons-Brooks Distance Project, Nike Oregon Project and Team Running USA Mammoth to name but a few.

Saturday was just the kind of day when you look out of the window in the morning and think "time to put the kettle on and hope this weather clears up later". But of course it doesn't and you end up with compromised training. With Ben scheduled to appear at 10am there was nothing to it but to get the session done. I cant pretend it was fun. A few minutes into the warm up we were soaked through to the skin but with each other pushing the pace on there was no chance of turning back. And as we warmed down (OK, so legged it back to the house for that hot cup of tea) there was the satisfaction of having got the long reps done on a day when we could so easily have cut training short.

Whether you are Paul Tergat or just preparing for your first London Marathon there will be days this winter when you feel tired or de-motivated and this is where training partners are like gold dust. So if there is one running resolution you are going to make this year, make sure it is to get a training partner or two. Why not start now, by pencilling in a couple of runs with them over the christmas break when you know your resolve is going to be tested !

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