Benefits of training with others

Running, or any form of exercising for that matter, on your own can have its benefits. I like the solitude – the quiet time to think and take a breath from my busy life.

But there are also a lot of benefits to doing it in the company of others.

Running or exercising with others can be a social outlet – it’s a way for me to catch up with my friends – and it can also help improve your own performances. It can motivate you to train harder than you normally might.

I completed my second half marathon the weekend before last. My first was in the Hunter Valley in July and after it I swore I would never do one again – from memory I likened it to having my fingernails pulled out slowly one by one.

But there I was lining up for the Central Coast half marathon at The Entrance just over a week ago and truth be told I felt a lot better before, during and after this race.

This course was flat, which obviously made a difference, but it seemed a lot easier (note I said easier not easy) this time around and I surprised myself with a markedly improved time.

The fact that I could even run that far was a credit to my training partner and I have no doubt that running with her has me running better than ever.

Her name is Belinda Murray and she actually won the race.

I am probably using the term ‘training partner’ fairly loosely here because unfortunately I can’t take much credit for her form. She does most of her long running on her own and I think humours me with shorter runs at a much easier pace (for her that is, not easy for me).

‘I normally don’t run much faster than this anyway,’ is what she says when I urge her to push on and don’t let me hold her back. I know she’s lying – you don’t see me winning half marathons, or finishing anywhere near the front of the field.

And she’s so damn modest too – she credited ‘luck’ for winning the race at The Entrance. I wish I was that lucky!

But my point is that without her I don’t think I would have been able to complete a half marathon, let alone two of them and improve my time. I’m not quite sure what she gets out of – I like to think it’s my conversation skills …

Having others to train with in any form of exercise – it might even just be someone to go for  a walk with – can keep you motivated and keep helping you to improve your health and fitness.

The Central Coast half was my last event of the year – the next run on my event calendar will be the Herald Hill2Harbour 10k from Bar Beach to The Foreshore in April.

They also have a 5km event and a half marathon, which Belinda also won this year, and I believe there will be a marathon distance next year as well. There is something for all comers and it’s a great chance to support one of our community events.

So, find someone to exercise with and start motivating each other and hopefully you will also see the rewards. If anything, it’s a great way to catch up with friends or family while also doing something healthy for yourself.

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