True or False: Partner Training is Good for Triathletes?

Q: Do you two train together, and how do you keep it together with the exhaustion and pressure that comes from competing at the professional level?

Amy Marsh answers:

A: Being married professional triathletes has its ups and downs. We deal with double the exhaustion, double the inevitable grumpiness and double the laundry! But at the end of the day, I couldn’t ask for a better training partner.

How to Make a Training Partnership Work

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Believe it or not, we  do the majority of our training together. It’s great waking up every morning knowing that we have each other to train with and keep each other accountable. I can gain a lot, because I draft off Brandon in the swim and on the bike. When we’re running, we usually start together and end up solo — our paces are quite different on the run. But no matter the workout, my goal is to keep up and his is to drop me.  It may sound silly, but it gives us something to work toward.

We also have a pretty good system worked out at home between training, coaching, chores and — of course — racing. If one of us has more training or coaching that day, the other picks up the cleaning, cooking and shopping. We understand each other’s schedules because we’re very much in the same boat. As you can imagine, we’re prone to fatigue which often leads to crankiness. That’s when you know it’s time to ease up and try to get more sleep. The chores can either wait until later or the partner with the most energy can take over. It’s definitely a team effort!

Not everyone has the luxury of training with their significant other. If you’re the only triathlete in the house, seek out a training partner or a local tri team. (Tip: to make greater gains it pays to train up, meaning train with people faster than you.) Even though triathlon is an individual sport, there are many benefits to training with someone…or many someones:

- More motivation. Once you find the right person — or group of people — to train with, you’ll notice that you push harder during group workouts than when you’re going at it alone. Maybe the competitive juices are flowing, or maybe you want to impress your coach. Whatever is at the root of your motivation, it will help you to break barriers and improve overall performance.

- Accountability. You have a commitment to meet with your team. Making them wait just for you not to show up makes you think twice about skipping a workout. Consistency pays off!

- More friends. There’s a large social aspect to training in teams. It’s a great way to meet people with similar interests. Once you have a community of friends, you’ll have that much more support on race day.

- Most importantly, it’s fun! Suffering through a tough workout is always more fun with close friends who can make you laugh and lighten the mood when the pain starts creeping in.

Amy Marsh is a four-time Ironman champion, two-time IronDistance champion, and was named the 2010 USAT Long Distance Triathlete of the Year. Brandon Marsh has been competing in triathlons since 1988, and can be counted on to be a top-10 contender in every event he enters. Got a question about swim-bike-run or sports nutrition for Team Marsh? Email them at ask.the.triathletes@gmail.com. “˜Like’ them on  Facebook  or follow on Twitter: Brandon @BrandonMarshTX and Amy @AmyCMarsh.

About Team Marsh

Amy Marsh is a four-time Ironman champion, two-time IronDistance champion, and was named the 2010 USAT Long Distance Triathlete of the Year. Brandon Marsh has been competing in triathlons since 1988, and can be counted on to be a top-10 contender in every event he enters. Got a question about swim-bike-run or sports nutrition for Team Marsh? Email them at ask.the.triathletes@gmail.com.

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