5 Reasons Why Training Alone Isn't the Worst Thing in the World
As the outdoor season of track and field progresses, you find that less and less people actually participate. This is because as time goes on, you have to hit certain qualifying marks to continue (or at least have other teams you can compete for). By this time last year, I had gone to Ghana to meet my new national teammates and to train with the 4 x100 in preparation for the XX Commonwealth Games and the 19th African Senior Athletics Championships. This year my meets come at much later times than I'm used to, and so I'm left to train alone until competitions with my Ghanian teammates commence. I guess technically, I'm not alone (my coach, Gabe Sanders, is there), but you get what I mean. But training alone isn't as bad as it seems. Here are 5 reasons why training in single-player mode isn't the worst thing in the world.
One-on-One Time with your Coach
If you've ever trained on a team, you know that sometimes you don't always get that individual focus on detail from your coach during practice times. Of course, you cover the important things, but smaller flaws can get pushed to the wayside in favor of something that benefits everyone. Now that I'm training by myself, everything I do is tailored to me and my unique situation. There's a lot more focus on getting my form just right, and I do a lot more unique exercises to strengthen my weaker points. Of course, Sanders gets something out of this, too. He can see how I react to certain exercises, and hopefully implement them on the team in the coming school year.
You More-or-Less Make Your Own Schedule
There's no one you have to coordinate with when you try to plan your practice times. If something comes up, it's easy to just practice at a different time since you don't have to check in with anyone. Technically, this one doesn't apply to me as much because I have to consider my coach when I schedule my times, but it's still much easier to schedule with just him vs. him and 10+ more people.
There's No Competition
This can be seen as a both a good and bad thing, depending on how you look at it. On one hand, not having someone there to push you during reps can be difficult, especially during harder workouts where it's easier to gauge how your during because you can compare your position to others. On the other hand, it's a bad habit to train based off the people around you. One thing Sanders is always telling me before races is to stay in my lane and run my own race. It sounds easy, but can actually be extremely hard (it took me 4 years to learn to do). When you focus on what everyone around you is doing, your training and your race results depend on them, not you. With no one around to push you, it is up to you to push yourself. Training alone allows for you to put this into practice and to allow it to become habit for when race day finally comes.
You'll Learn Self-Discipline
There's no one around to constantly keep you in check; you have to do it yourself. You have to motivate yourself to finish strong, to get through that last rep, or to get that weight up one more time. I think this is one of the toughest things to learn, but that sense of satisfaction when you finally finish is something that I've found is almost impossible tor replicate.
Your Workouts Will Be More Focused
Since there's no one around, to talk to, you basically just have practice to focus on. You lose the random hit-chat that can make practice hilarious at times, but you finish a lot quicker and end with tons of time left in the day. While I enjoy the team banter most days, some days I just want to focus on what I'm doing, and it's hard to do that with all the distractions happening with everyone around. When you're alone, it's a lot easier to get into your desired mind-space and to get everything you need out of your training.
So, though training alone seems super lonely, it also has its perks! What about you? Do you train alone or with other people? Which do you prefer?