Sunday, June 26, 2011

Do You Train Alone?

I've always read that one characteristic coaches look for in potential athletes is the ability to train alone.  Training alone, if you're able to push yourself while doing so, shows determination, mental toughness, and a potential to succeed

Today I felt like the poster child of self training!

After waking up late and rushing to get ready this morning, I rode 11.5 miles to work, worked 10.5 hours on my feet, and then rode 11.5 miles home.  Once home, I changed and headed out for a 9 mile run.  While I can honestly say it was an amazing run in hindsight, it was a torture test in the moment.

I headed out with plans of a three loop course.  I started out easy because I knew I had a lot of distance to cover.  About half a loop in (1.5 - 2 miles), I started debating whether I should cut the run down to two or just one loop.  If I was going to cut it down to 1 loop, I certainly wasn't going fast enough.  I finished loop one and decided I was ok to loop back around.  Part way into that loop I convinced myself that I'd call it quits at two loops.  As I came to the end of loop three, I threw caution to the wind and made the turn towards loop #3 instead of taking the straight away home.  Part way into the final loop, I felt it.  I was dehydrated.  Damn my freakin' sweat rate!  I actually debated where along the loop I could stop and ask for a drink of water.  My best option was a parked police officer, but I held my own (good or bad, that's my independence taking over) and finished off the remaining miles.  Pace = 7:28.

I hit the finish and walked straight for the lawn care crew's water hose.  If they didn't want it to be used by dehydrated runners, they should have hid it!  I took a few gulps of water and walked home.

Damn if I haven't earned a solid 10 hours of sleep tonight!!

** Oooooowowwwwwww!!! **

I literally JUST got the worst hamstring cramp!  Ok, I guess it's time to go hydrate, eat, and stretch (if I can do all three before I pass out).


1.  Do you train alone, with a buddy/group, or a mix thereof?  Which do you find most beneficial?
I find group workouts beneficial for figuring out a training schedule, but as for getting the most out of a workout, training alone is my bread and butter!

2.  How to you keep hydrated while running?  I need ideas.
I hate the idea of carrying a water bottle.  I've done the hdyration pack, but it chafes something awful around my neck.  I have a feeling a hydration belt would annoy me, but I haven't tried it.

Stay fit.  Stay healthy.  Stay safe. 


Matthew Smith said...

Way to go on training by yourself. That can certainly be rough, but you're the man. Great run, by the way! That was fast!

Jenny Davidson said...

I am the queen of hydration options! Really you need it for anything over an hour in summer heat. All of these are good, in different ways; Nathan is my preferred brand, as you can tell...

The full Nathan pack is fantastic for longer runs (I use it for cycling also) - surprisingly comfortable to run with.

(Not sure these are the exact models I use, but similar)

For waist belt with small bottles, this is a good option:

But another good option is the waist pack along these lines:

The back pack slightly chafes along my back unless I carefully BodyGlide, but I really don't notice the belt once I'm using it, either the small-bottle belt or the larger waist pack (which is slightly easier to drink out of while running). Worth figuring out what suits you - important for good-quality summer training and recovery!

Unknown said...

I train alone, but often wish I had someone with me, especially on long rides. Good job on pushing though those 3 loops! Now get some rest. :)

Michael said...

Until this year I have mostly trained alone. I still pretty much run alone most of the time. It's hard to find someone else who's as slow as me and wants to get up at 4:30 am every day. I do mostly group bike rides, and now that I joined Masters Swim I swim alot more as a group then by myself. I never have issues with hydration because I don't go very far from home. I like to be within 4 miles of the house. As I start to train for my marathon and increase my distance I'm going to have to get away from this or get incredibly bored.

Lisa G said...

I also use a Nathan Hydration belt.

Richelle said...

1. For running, I train by myself all the time. For other things, like strength-training and yoga, I have a personal trainer (the former) and take a class from an instructor (the latter).

2. Nathan makes some great hydration products. I like the sprint handheld, but knowing how much water you drink, I'd recommend something that carries more liquid.

Chelsea said...

1. When it comes to running I definitely like training by myself. I always feel out of sorts trying to match my pace (faster or slower) to someone else's. I also prefer to run by myself because it's my "me time" of the day. However, as soon as I can get a Tuesday night off from work/rehearsal I am going to join some people from the West Hartford EMS to go on their weekly group trail run because I LOVE trail running and don't get enough opportunity to do so. Also, if I can ever get a Thursday evening off from work/ rehearsal I am going to go to a Hartford Track Club practice with my neighbor to see if I like the group work out atmosphere.
When it comes to swimming I prefer to work out with someone else because a. I am used to swimming in a team environment and b. When I am by myself I get too bored to take rests and just keep swimming so speed work turns into "I just started swimming until I got tired..."
2. Hydration is such a huge issue for me now that the temperature has increased. I have tried stashing water bottles along my route which was the most effective tactic I have tried. It's a good way to get in a pre run bike ride as well. For a 16 miler I stashed water bottles along the side of the road at mile 3, 6, and 8 (my turnaround.) I have yet to find a hydration pack that doesn't bug me while I run.

Run with Jess said...

I train alone for the most part - simply because it's hard to find someone who is training at the same time/pace/etc that you are. Although I did run with someone this weekend that would be awesome to train with... unfortunately we live 3 hours apart! I find I push myself harder when I'm alone too b/c I'm concentrating on the workout rather than chatting.

Hydration is a tough one for me too... Things around my waist really bug me. If I'm doing short loops, I'll place a bottle by a post/mailbox. At first it was annoying, but I've gotten used to running with a water bottle. I use the Hydroclutch GoLite Water Bottle. The handle velcros around your hand & it's not as bad as I thought it would be, but does take getting used to... In summer, it's just an unavoidable nuisance! Darn hydration!

Runners Fuel said...

I have recently satrted working out with a new friend @ the gym. I think I get a better workout by myself, though (I'd never tell her lol).

Miguel Vieira said...

Hey man, nice post.

I train alone and will most likely keep doing so for a while, or at least until we move back to Barcelona where I can join the local Tri club.

Regarding the hydration during the running, have you looked at Camelbaks? I have a 2.5L Camelback I use on my 15Km runs and it is great. Usually for my 10Km and 5Km runs I go dry, but for anything over 10Km I get my Camelbak on.