Triathlon Magazine Canada - - CONTENTS - Suzanne Ze­lazo Man­ag­ing Edi­tor

The Buddy Sys­tem

As the race sea­son be­gins in earnest for most of us, I think about those who helped get us here. I’m re­fer­ring to the ones who met you at 5:30 a.m. for a run in the dark, barely awake and a lit­tle grumpy. Those who wit­ness, with­out judg­ment, the many un­grace­ful acts of train­ing – the work­out you were forced to stop in gas­tric dis­tress or the snot rock­ets you blow mid-con­ver­sa­tion – are just as im­por­tant as your coach or train­ing plan. In fact, your train­ing part­ners are cru­cial to the ex­e­cu­tion of your goals. They’re the ones who give you a wheel to sit on when you bonk and the wind picks up. They stand guard while you change out of wet clothes in a park­ing lot. For them you lead the swim set so they can prac­tice draft­ing or meet a pace time just be­yond their reach.

These are the people who reg­u­larly see you at your most pow­er­ful and most ex­hausted. You are who you are in the com­pany of your train­ing part­ners and that makes for a gen­uine and beau­ti­ful con­nec­tion. Whether it’s the en­dor­phins or the rhythm of breath that gets you in tune with yourself, some­thing hap­pens on long rides and runs that makes it easy to share the most pri­vate thoughts. Yet, there’s an un­writ­ten rule that what gets ex­changed in that space stays there – it’s like a sa­cred com­part­ment in your day. That in­ti­macy can charge your abil­ity to push each other.

As you be­gin log­ging longer hours in the sad­dle and on the road or the trails, take note of just how much you rely on your train­ing part­ners. They en­cour­age us. They make us ac­count­able. They’re the first ones we want to talk to when we’ve had a good race or a bad race – they al­ways un­der­stand. But there are rules to live by to make sure this con­nec­tion stays strong. Al­ways re­mem­ber the fol­low­ing:

Agree to use the “Five Minute Rule” when meet­ing. Af­ter five min­utes you’re con­sid­ered a no-show. It’s not per­sonal, we just have busy lives. Never take off on a long ride or run. Lead when you must, dou­ble back if you have to, but never take off. When swim­ming open wa­ter, al­ways stay to­gether. Un­der­stand that si­lence is OK and that a grouchy train­ing part­ner isn’t mad at you. Oc­ca­sion­ally (and oc­ca­sion­ally only) rac­ing your train­ing part­ner in prac­tice is OK, but not with­out mak­ing your in­ten­tion known ahead of time. You need to work to­gether. It’s a bet­ter ef­fort for both of you. Most im­por­tantly, re­mem­ber that rac­ing is not train­ing and dur­ing a race you’re meant to go hard, even against one an­other and that’s OK.

As you start ramp­ing up your vol­ume re­mem­ber who’s been with you for the long haul, who’s got your back in and out of the race sea­son. Don’t for­get to thank them and give them a sweaty hug.

Brent McMa­hon, Ma­gali Tis­seyre and Chris ter Horst train­ing in Maui in March

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