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The Perfect Training Partner

Everybody loves a good training partner. Some days we need the accountability, motivation, support, or just some socializing while we knock out our training. Whether it’s an easy session or a wind sucking track session, training partners can help you get through your week more easily. So, what makes a good training partner? Here are my thoughts: The “Be’s and the Don’ts”

Be Reliable

This one is easy! If you say you are going to be there, be there. Everyone has busy lives and packed schedules and we might not realize how someone reorganized their day so that they could make that 8am run work with you. Maybe they moved a meeting, moved other sessions around, planned for someone to watch their kids, or promised their partner they’d be done and home by 9! Sure, life happens and things pop up. But after a few last minute cancelations you can be assured that no one is going to plan their day around you going forward. So be reliable! And sometimes that just means being realistic with your planning.

Be On Time (or at least easily tricked)

We all know that person! And if you don’t, well then it’s probably you… You know; the person who texts 5 minutes after the scheduled meeting time that they “will be there in 5mins” and when they do they aren’t ready to roll. Ugh! Yeah, it happens to all of us on occasion, but some people are chronically late. Don’t be that person! A technique I like to use is to take the time I want to start the session, subtract 15min, and send out the invite. Sometimes that means I’m the person that is “late.” 😉

Be Supportive

Build each other up, don’t tear each other down. Whether it’s training stress or life stress, we can all get through it a little easier if we have someone who can relate. A good training partner will listen and offer support when needed… even if you’ve heard about the sore ankle like 100 million times and you can’t take it anymore! Be there to remind them how to focus their energy toward the positive, because someday the roles will reverse and you will need that support just as bad! When it comes to training milestones, the same rule applies. Be able to say “Oh wow, your FTP is at an all time high? Awesome!”  even if yours is in the dumps. Better yet point out to your training partner when they are doing something well… “hey man, nice work on that last interval. Looking better every week!” We all love to hear that stuff. Positive affirmations!

Be Humble

“Yes, we know you have that KOM, you told me 10 times. Yes, I know you ran faster than me on that mile, it happened right in front of me. Yes, I saw how many hours you trained last week, you won’t shut up about it. No, I don’t want to compare watts with you!” This is a tough one.. because in the RIGHT environment with the RIGHT people these topics can be easily discussed and positive. However, if you are constantly talking about your accomplishments or comparing yourself to others, people are going to get annoyed. Trust me, we can all see when you’re doing well. Your training partners know you dropped them… they were there.

Don’t Race Me, Bro

This comes down to being able to execute your workouts based on your ability and your goals, rather than based on what your training partner is doing. So, if we have a 10 x 800m track set and we are supposed to descend, don’t race on #1 if you can’t be there on #10. EXECUTE. Nailing the session as a whole is better than having a good single interval. More importantly, if you act this way and your training partner isn’t disciplined enough to stay away from the competition, you could ruin their workout too. Yes, we all love a little competition here and there. It motivates us to dig deeper and get more out of ourselves. But if you can’t compete the workout properly, the competition is null. If you want to race, let’s race the last one!

Don’t Complain

Positivity! Don’t drag the group down. If you aren’t ready to work, don’t come. Also, you can be tired/grumpy/whatever and still work hard. It’s ok to say how you feel, but say it once and move on. My best training partners rarely complain. Not much else to really say about this one… because I don’t tolerate it!

Don’t Bring Me Down

If you’re having an off day, or you can’t keep up for whatever reason… let them go. Don’t be mad if you get dropped on a climb. Don’t pout if the pace is too hot on the run for you that day (or every day). Know what you’re getting yourself into and realize that you may not be able to keep up all the time. And that’s ok! Some days the opposite will happen and you need to be ok letting that person go as well. Of course this isn’t always going to happen on an easy ride or run. But if it’s a key session, expect the possibility and make it clear that you can handle being on your own.

Don’t Quit 

Quitting is a habit. The more you do it, the easier it becomes. Then it starts to rub off on the group. Even if it’s not full blown quitting a session, but ALWAYS finding short cuts, it’s bad for the environment. “Oh, I see Tom just put his pull buoy in for this aerobic swim… that sounds nice. I guess I will too.” Yeah, ok, we all have bad sessions and need to know when to pull the plug. But I am talking about that guy/gal that always finds a way out. Just don’t do it! If you consistently do, you probably won’t be around very long.


Training partners have made this sport so much more enjoyable for me. Some of my best personal relationships have been formed in those moments between intervals, hands on my knees trying to recover my breath, listening to the suffering of the group, hearing “let’s go, 1 more.” Looking up to a fist bump. Knowing we are in it together. Call it “being in the trenches” or the #grind or whatever it may be to you. Something brings people together when they share a struggle… when they can suffer alongside you.

Happy training,


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2019 Season Kick-Off

Ok! Back on the blogging for 2019. A little coaching info and advice, as well as some personal training and racing blogs. Here we go!

Team PBC 2019

Join us on March 20 from 6p-7:30p at Trek Store Madison East for our season kick off party. This a great opportunity to meet current Team PBC athletes, find out about all our group training, camps, and events, and learn a little bit about how the coaching program works. Also, we will have some snacks and swag to pass around while you socialize and check out all the great merchandise the Trek Store has to offer.

We have such a solid group of athletes this season, and each year I feel like it becomes more and more like a family. We push each other when it’s needed, and we support each other through the highs and the lows. The goals amongst the group vary widely, with some going for Kona, race victories, and milestone results, while others are conquering their fears, building a healthy lifestyle, and doing things they never thought possible. I can’t express how proud it makes me feel to be the leader who helps them find their path toward success. 2019 will be even better than years past, that I know for sure!

My Professional Racing –

Things are clicking along nicely for me in training and I feel I have a very healthy sport, life, work balance as well. Over the last year or so I have become much better at switching “on” when I need to focus on training, then switching “off” and being present with family and friends when not in a session. A lot of that comes down to my decision to start working with a coach again in 2018, which just allows me to structure my day around my training because I know what needs to be done. Prior to that, while self coaching, I was always in my head wondering what session I should do, or if I would do more later in the day. The endless dilemma of “am I doing enough? Is this too much? Is this fatigue what I must overcome to be good?” Constant second guessing led to a state of “always on” and that can really drag you down. The extra “off” time has allowed me to focus better on coaching, relationships, or even some bonus time back into the sport focusing on the mental side of it all.

Overall I am excited for the upcoming season. It’s been a tough winter here in Wisconsin, but trips to Texas and California for training were a nice break from the cold. Fitness levels are at all time highs in the swim (by a lot) and the bike (by 20w) and right where it should be for the run. Of course the true test of all the hard work is racing, which I will do on April 6th at Oceanside 70.3. It will be a stellar field but I’m looking forward to the challenge.

Thanks for reading. Stay tuned for more regular blogs, which I will try to keep short and sweet throughout the season.