Training advice #1: Find a Partner.
The easiest way to give up and decide not to continue is when you are only relying on yourself and it’s really, really, really easy to tell yourself “no”. Having a training partner is like being on a team but the goal isn’t to help push the ball up the field or to score; the goal is to do your personal best with someone that is pushing for the same thing. I would never say that not having a partner is going to be a complete failure, but having a partner will really help motivate you, and even if that that partner isn’t there with you physically you can still push and motivate each other. They can be a virtual partner, a friend in a differerent state, training for the same race, or a similar race around the same time as yours, ultimately someone with the same goal in mind. That person can still motivate you and push you mentally through the workouts. Before my fiance, Jeremy, and I started dating we decided we would meet in New Orleans for the Rock and Roll Marathon. It was December 2010 and he was deployed in Bahrain and I was stationed in Mississippi. While he was training in Bahrain, I was training on my own in Mississippi. Everytime he posted a run on DailyMile it would push me to do the same and vice-versa. We continued to train this way for about a year and a half. He was in Ohio, I was in Mississippi and with every DailyMile post or every conversation about what workout we did that day, we would get more competative and want to do more and push each other faster. If Jeremy ran 5 miles, I would run 5.2 🙂 Now that I live in Ohio with him, we continue our training, only now we actually get to do it together (yay!).
Running/Training partners are really hard to find. You need to find someone you can talk to, someone you can trust to not back out on your plan, and someone with a similar speed. Go to your local running club and just start running, see who seems to be at your pace, who seems friendly and start talking! I know it won’t be that easy, and it most likely won’t happen the first time you go, you have to actually keep going. It took me over 6 months at the running group in Mississippi to finally find Katie. Katie and I had met briefly at the New Orleans Marathon 2011 through a mutual friend (Bridget), but never acted on a friendship until we both ended up at the White’s house (the founders of the best running group, Boardtown Runners, I have ever been to) on the same day. We stuck together and we ran 10 miles that day, chatting and laughin, and enjoying our morning on the road. We made a plan to start running during the week together, and not only did an amazing friendship come out of it, and alot of long runs, we ran the New Orleans Marathon in 2012 and qualified for Boston (3:34.20). Our training had truely paid off and it didn’t even feel like work because we had eachother.
I’ve had some really awesome training partners over the past few years depending on where I am living. It takes time and you need to be patient as you may train with several people before you can find “the one”.
One training partner said this to me one and I’ve told this to all my training partners since then, “Be On Time, Be Reliable, and Leave no man or woman behind”. Once you are late more than three times or cancel on me more than three times because of something that is in your control, then don’t bother. It seems harsh, but when you have a partner that always cancels on you or you are constantly waiting on or during every run/ride they leave you in the dust, it can be very disheartning. Trust each other, push each other and never give up on each other.