Big group training will dramatically hold you back on how quick you can improve in Ironman Triathlon.
Charlotte and I started our triathlon journey in a group. I won’t lie, we loved it, soaked it up like any newbie triathlete would. It was fun and we gained new friends and I understand that this a big part of the allure of Triathlon.
But when you want to get better and maximise your gains and potential it’s a whole different story. You can and should still have fun and you can still make friends but the game has to change if you want to reach your potential.
The major reason big group/squad training is a limiter is:
In big groups there a major discrepancies in abilities and this leads to the majority always training much harder than they should which has implications on not only always being in a highly catabolic state (breaking your body down) but you train yourself to be exclusively a carb burning athlete only which becomes a major limiter on performance. (this will be a post for another time).
Training solo or in a small group that is very closely matched in ability is the path to you improving not only to your potential but fast tracking it. 2005 and 2006 group training for Charlotte and I put the reigns on our development as soon as we changed this, big things happened.
The best bang for you buck will be getting 2-6 (max) people together in a group who are similarly matched. In reality this will likely only be for your long rides or a mid week TT set. Running really only works when you’re very closely matched and if your in a swim squad that spends the majority of your time doing drills then you’re severely compromised for triathlon swimming.
If you have big Ironman or 70.3 goals then you’ll be best served by training solo or in a small group.