Friday, August 6, 2010

Which is better? Group training or solo training? This week's rant...

I tend to be a soloist when it comes to running. I like to go at my own pace, do my own thing, say my little mantras to myself and enjoy the peace that comes from focusing on nothing but my breathing and my next mile.

When it comes to biking I could go either way. Sometimes it's fun to bike with someone else. You can revel in each other's successes when you make it over hard ledges or drops, stop to catch your breath together while looking down on the Colorado River, and you've always got someone there in the unlikely event (or in my case, the likely event) that you crash. Although, in my defense, that hasn't happened this year. Excuse me while I go find some wood to knock on.

Here's why I bring all this up: At work right now we are currently all battling it out to win this "fitness challenge." We all have groups of 3 and we get points for every time we work out. (1 point per work out). If you work out with one of your team members, you each get 2 points. The whole idea being that, for most people, it is more motivating to work out with someone than alone. For many people, I'm sure this is true. Maybe I'm a sour puss.

Now, I had a great time biking with my friends this weekend in Crested Butte. That was a blast! And I have fun biking with my friends here too. Usually the majority of us can agree on a time and place and, if we can't, well, we just don't bike together. But this fitness challenge thing is throwing a wrench in the works.

Here's what I mean: Yesterday one of my running buddies (I call her that because we sometimes do run together and we are training for the same races and plan to go to them together.) was planning a run with our other friend, E. She says to me (the injured one) "You should come bike while we run so we can get double fitness challenge points." I figure sure, an after work bike ride on a mellow paved trail will be nice...I'll do like a time challenge... "Ok, sure." Then I ask, "What time are you guys going?" "Oh around 7." WHAT????

I mean, I know it's cooler then, but this is the point where I want to say, "Nope, nevermind." I like to work out after work. By 7 p.m. I've washed the dinner dishes, put on my comfy clothes, and am relaxing on the couch. That's NOT when I want to be loading up the bike. But since I'd already agreed to go, I stuck by that. When I got there, one friend had already run a few miles and was just raring to keep going as soon as E showed up. So before I could even get my bike off the roof, they were gone! WHA? Like I didn't expect us to all hang together for very long, but really? So of course I crank the bike up to its highest gear and leave them in the dust...I bike the entire 8 mile loop, the turn back in to find them and end up doing about 2 slower miles trying to half-way talk to them and encourage them as they finish their run. Then we all get in our cars and go home. So...i got in a very light work out at a time when i could have been home and I didn't even get any girl time or friend time or anything? Maybe I'm being petty.

Maybe it's just this particular group of people...even when we try to run together, we aren't running legs are short and I'm slow and so I run by myself and they turn around once in a while to make sure a mountain lion hasn't grabbed me. Hence the reason I prefer to run alone.

Even with biking I have mixed emotions. If you have a good group and everyone gets there on time, then it works great. Mountain bikers spend a lot of time stopping to catch their breath, take pictures, everyone catches up and chats before moving on.

Still, with running, I often times like my solitude. I like moving at my own pace. I like not looking ahead and thinking, "Man...I wish I could catch up and be part of the conversation." Maybe, like I said earlier, I'm just a sour puss when it comes to group runs! I guess in the end all I'm saying is, "If you want to run together, then let's run together. If you want us to start at the same time and then finish somewhere in the same 15 minute stretch and perhaps see each other in the distance to wave...I'll just go it alone thanks."

So there you have my rant for the week. Swimming and biking this weekend! What do you have planned?


Accidental Artist said...
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Accidental Artist said...

I fully understand what you mean!

Look at my team. We became a team even when neither of us wanted to be in any team w/ anyone. Then everyone in the office said "What do you have to loose?" So we looked at each other and said, "Why not? Might as well."

Well non of us EVER have time to get together, we are all of different physical levels and NONE of us like the gym (which is my last resort in the winter only to keep strong for snow play).

C and I were able to get together and take walks (that's bout all she can do, minus an easy bike ride or an easy hike) for a little while, but then we got busy during the times we could do stuff (evenings of course). We are all hourly, not salary, so it's not like we can take off at a random time of the day and do stuff. And there has only been ONE occasion where the three of us have been able to get our schedules together.

And since the end of July, K has been gone and will be gone till early September. So we are down one, and are missing out on her points and any points we could get as a team with her.

Our team is very independent, not by choice, just by what we can do together. C often refers to our point sheet as "my" point sheet, because I do 90%-95% of the activities. And it's true, I average like 12 points a week by myself, and that's not adding any extra activities such as the gym or taking some extra aerobics class. That's just how much I normally do. C and I might get one maybe maybe two walks in during the week. Now if my team mates could do all I do with me we'd have some 72 points. But there is no way I'm willing to sacrifice a mtb ride or a tough climb/hike or a 3 mile run outside w/ my more able friends who love to do that too, for a team trip to the gym, eew! And my team members just don't have the ability to do it with me.

It is fun when we can get together and go on a walk or a hike or something, but we do that w/ out the competition anyway but. And even then it's super hard to get us all together. I guess now we're really not sure why we let ourselves get talked into playing, but we don't really care about it anymore and just do what we've always done. No matter what, all of us do all sorts of things and most of us just can't do them together...we have lives to live outside of our co-workers.

I don't like challenges like these because it's always the same story. Some people do hardly anything until there's a reason to, then they kill themselves over it and when it's finished, they're done.

I kinda wish there could be an individual challenge, like a year long competition that showed how truly active people are all year round, and one that didn't involve specific teams. I do things w/ people all over the building and it would be cool to get double points with any coworker, not just two other specific people. Like when you and I ski together, wouldn't it be nice to get Four points instead of two. Then you wouldn't have to worry whether or not your team mate won't be able to ski that day. Besides, in an individual competition, I'd kick some major tooshie!