Ollie Lockely’s latest Fast10 blog highlights the importance of having a good team around you.
Every successful athlete is a product of how much time and effort they dedicate in order to better themselves.
However, sometimes it isn’t just the time and effort that equate to successful performances – an athlete’s circumstances can have a direct impact. For example, one factor that could significantly contribute to success is the level of support an individual receives.
This can come in many different forms: emotional help, medical services, financial assistance, and training environments. In this blog I will concentrate on training and emotional support.
Unfortunately as athletes, we never have complete autonomy over the support we receive, and this in turn, can have both positive and negative impacts. Athletes who struggle to access these support systems will no doubt, be less better off than someone who has access to all of them.
Therefore, it can be vital that athletes do their best to make the most out of the opportunities they have and to strive towards gaining further future support.
For a lot of athletes running can be a solitary sport, with longer sessions and workouts being completed without the help and company from anyone else. Training solo can cause athletes to become demotivated, isolated and lead to underperformance in training and even racing situations.
Some athletes genuinely prefer to train alone and choose to do so, whereas others seek out the company. Unfortunately, not all of us have access to this luxury.
From personal experience I thrive from training with like-minded athletes, however within my current circumstances, I face completing my faster sessions alone.
Working harder with others around
When training alone, I feel I struggle to get the most out of myself, due to the lack of a group to push me and hold me accountable. Having had the experience of training with a group at University, I’ve come to comprehend the importance and huge benefits that this type of support offers.
Having shared goals and camaraderie with others is special, and this can go a long way towards bettering yourself and subsequent performances.
The perceived benefits of running in a group are huge, and can help push you on a gear and into another zone, which could otherwise be very hard to do by yourself.
In order to overcome this barrier, I have sought help from a couple close friends who have selflessly given up their time to hop on a bike and pace me during my harder sessions. I have found this extremely beneficial and I believe this has been influential in my progress on the roads during the last year. Any athletes in a similar situation, who are struggling to hit their splits in training and/or are lacking a bit of motivation, I strongly advise seeking out this kind of assistance. For me, it has been invaluable.
Create a “Team”
If you are a victim to solo double-runs and hard sessions, then I believe it is important to build a community type environment around your training.
This can be done by sharing your experience, thoughts, concerns, and highlights with people who genuinely care. Whether it’s your family, friends, or coaches, sharing your journey with others can help to keep motivation and avoid fizzling out.
In my circumstances I try to keep my coach, physio, sports massage therapist, S&C coach, and my family/close friends within the same bubble. Aside from the clear physical benefits physio’s, therapists, and coaches play, I strongly believe that combining these support networks helps emotionally.
Accountable to the team
Having a team around holds you accountable as you are not only performing for yourself, but equally for those people who do their very best to keep you healthy and positive.
For many, it can be difficult to turn to others as they may not be able to fully empathise and comprehend the importance of a sport that means so much to you.
It’s therefore important to seek out those with similar interests who can relate fully. Even if you have the best coach, trainer, or therapist, if they are missing the emotional supportive element then this could hamper your performance and subsequently your involvement with the sport.
Being able to turn to someone and know that they will be there for you is invaluable, and it is vital that these relationships are maintained. Seeking out individuals who go above and beyond will no doubt help psychological well-being but will ultimately enhance performance as well.
Therefore, the physical push of a training aid and the emotional backing of a “team”, may be the two elements that play a pivotal role in your development as an athlete.
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