Whether it’s because of a busy schedule, lack of training partners, or even a bit of anxiety over joining a group training session, there is no need to have FOMO (fear of missing out) if you find yourself logging miles on your own instead of with other athletes.
Most of the time, I train alone (the only exception is for open water swims, because you should never (never!) swim alone). And although I do love the camaraderie of training with others, I genuinely prefer to train by myself.
Five Benefits To Training Alone
- Set your own schedule. This is probably one of the biggest benefits to training alone. Sometimes it’s really challenging to make plans to meet up with friends when your schedule is all over the place (like when you need to ride at 5:30 am or go for a run in between soccer carpooling). Also, our days are already so scheduled, so meeting up for a ride at a specific time can be stressful. Training alone gives you the flexibility to work out when you want.
- Prep for race day. When race day comes, you won’t have anyone else out there but you. From learning how to fix a flat on your own to pushing through the end of a hard run, being out there alone allows you to find the internal motivation to help you stay focused and strong. By training alone, you can figure out what works and doesn’t work when things feel challenging to your brain and body.
- Solo time. How many of us spend our days surrounded by people: our kids, our partners, our co-workers; even our social media? When you train by yourself, you don’t have to talk to anyone or be anxious about the group dynamic (is that just me?). Training alone gives you time to think and work through whatever it is you need to figure out. I like to call it “quality time” with myself. When I train alone, I come back recharged and ready to dive back into the chaos of life.
- No drafting on the bike. (Disclaimer: if you are doing draft-legal tris, skip this one!) In group rides, we tend to draft (i.e.- try to ride as close as possible to the back wheel of the person in front of us). However, by drafting off other riders, you often are not working as hard. If you always ride in a pack, you might not be gaining the bike fitness you think you are. Studies have shown that you can have anywhere from a 30% to 50% drag reduction by drafting. On race day, there are very strict drafting rules out there on the race course, so you need to learn how to battle the wind and air resistance on your own.
- Do your own workout. Personally, this is one of the biggest reasons I often train alone. Whether it’s a tempo run or an easy bike, I like to follow the workouts my coach puts into my plan. Of course, there is wiggle room, but if I have to run at my marathon pace for a few miles, I need to focus and make sure I am hitting the right pace (or heart rate).
So the next time you are out there by yourself, remember that training solo can be really helpful for your mind, your body, and your race day success!