No matter how far I've come in the last 6 months of training, I have to accept the fact that I do not do well training alone. I consider it my Achilles Heel. Yes I can physically do it. I'll get up and go through the motions, but I don't push myself nearly as far as I do when in the group/team atmosphere. That's why, even though training is officially over, I've focused on creating my own workout groups.
For example, two of the girls I ran with all season happen to live quite close, so we try to meet up about twice a week for a run that always ends up at our favorite coffee shop as our little reward. It's a great pairing because A) Location: we can workout in the mornings versus fighting our after work schedules B) Pace: everyone feels included and comfortable with our speed C) Goals: we don't just want to "jog" but also mix things up with hill/strength training, distance runs and speed training (fartleks).
There are also swim groups that have emerged out of the original Y-Tri swim classes. On our Y-Tri website there is a huge amount of swim workouts posted for our use that you can print out and take down to the pool to orchestrate with whoever you choose to join in with. It's nice that so many people are interested so it's not impossible to find someone the same or similar speed.
The most recent development has been morning rides. So far they have been a bit casual (route below), but starting next week it looks like I'll be joining up with a more serious group that actually does drafting which I have absolutely no experience in. I plan on being dropped quite early on, but am excited to learn and gain the experience in a familiar environment of friends, especially when the biking community in DC can get quite aggressive and does not always seem the most welcoming to newbies.
A great benefit of mixing in these new found circles is also the free training advice. For example, one of the girls I run with, I met as my spin coach this season. On top of her spin experience though, she also is a pilates instructor, which is something I've never attempted and am quite curious about. Another friend I've made in the group was one of the favorite swim coaches. After the tri, I felt like the one area I had the most room to improve in was the swim, so I asked if she'd be willing to spend a couple minutes in the pool observing my form and giving me some pointers on what to work on. Instead, she ended up spending almost an hour and half in the pool with me, going over drills and form exercises, and finished up with filming me swim a couple lengths so I could look back and see what she was seeing. Usually the only way to get attention like that is paying through the nose for a personal instructor. (Post with details to come...)
Then there is my Sunday morning yoga and brunch dates with two of my very best girl friends who, refreshingly, have no involvement in Y-Tri at all. This brings up the all important point that not all workout groups need to be serious. You are not always in "peak" mode. Relax and enjoy the social side of this community as much as the physical benefits.
These groups can be as formal or casual as you need them to be. The only thing that matters is what motivates you. Be it just you and your roommate doing online yoga every day after work or 15 of you heading out for a 30 mile bike this weekend. The key is to understand your weakness and set yourself up to enjoy succeeding.