Monday, October 22, 2007


Have you ever heard the phrase "there is no I in team?" In high school, being part of a team is a valuable experience, especially in cross country. Although, the phrase can be debated when on the cross country course. You, as an individual, perform for yourself. When you train hard and race well you look and feel good. So yes, there is an "I" aspect. The wonderful thing is that when you perform well, you also help your team and make them look and feel good, so there is the "team" aspect. In this case, team could be spelled teiam.

A very important aspect of having a team is that you have others to train with. Training with other runners that are at, close, or above your level helps you work harder to meet your potential. It makes long runs more enjoyable and speed sessions more tolerable. A team gives a sense of belonging, a meaning to what you are doing.

In high school and college the team aspect is alive and well. Because of this, the U.S. has an outstanding number of quality runners who can become National and World Class. But when you look at the World Rankings for track and road racing, there are not many Americans topping those lists. A good explanation of why comes from an article written by Chasing Glory.

The bottom line is that American runners get out of high school and college and start training alone. They either lose touch with their past teammates, can't find new runners to train with, or feel that they can do it on their own. Although some can train this way and make it, most don't survive. It's hard to go about it without any support.

The solution; put the "i" back in the "team." Join a club system. If there is not one available, start one. It doesn't have to be as complex as everyone living in the same place and spending all day together. As the article stated, in the 1970's, runners would meet on Tuesday's for track sessions and Sunday's for long runs. For those of you still in high school, stay in touch with your teammates through college. If you come back to your old neighborhood after school and want to give running at a higher level a shot, meet up again and start your own training group. And most importantly, keep the ego back home. Don't be afraid to train with someone faster than you, it will only make you better.

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