Monday, 4 May 2015

Running as Part of a Team

I'm taking part in two team events this year; Endure24 and Equinox24. I've found myself as captain of one of four teams that BoxBellFit have entered into Endure24 which means I need to rally the troops and get us prepped for the day.

I have only taken part in one team running event before, Equinox24 in 2014, but learnt a lot of lessons from that which I will be applying to my preparations this time around.

Agree Your Approach

It's a good idea to have a chat with your team mates before the day, quite some time before the day really, to get a feel for how you're going to approach it. Are you all aiming for a goal (most laps, fastest time) or are you just doing it for fun? Are you all of a similar ability or is there a marked difference between your speeds? Knowing this in advance will help to shape your training and avoid and niggly doubts about whether you'll be letting the side down if you're not a 45-minute 10k runner, for instance.

If you're all in it for the same reasons then that's great, just agree that you'll all train to the best of your abilities and get stuck in on the day. If not though, you might want to agree on some different goals. Perhaps Meg and Mike will aim to run their laps as fast as they can and Simon and Sue will take it easier in between. The team won't be gunning for any prizes perhaps but those with a more competitive edge can still have something to aim for. If you're of different abilities it can still be possible to make it work for everyone. Perhaps arrange your running order so that the speedier members could do a couple of extra laps.

being clear on the aims of the team will help you to mentally prepare for the event and set your expectations appropriately. Arguments and fall outs can be avoided. This is especially key if you're running with people you don't know too well.

It will also help to plan your training. If at all possible, arrange a couple of training runs together, so that you are all comfortable that you can cover the lap distance. It's not essential, of course, but it will help you to bond as a team and learn how to encourage each other. Someone not so good on hills? You'll know to try and make it over to that point on the course to cheer them on. Someone got a niggly knee? Maybe you arrange your running order so they get a bit more rest between laps or suggest some strengthening exercises (if appropriate).

Other Prep
Just as important to think about is the logistics of the event. When are you all turning up, On the morning, the night or even afternoon before? Will someone save a camping spot? Have you got enough tents between you? Who's willing to share? Are you making use of onsite catering or bringing stoves? Are you each in charge of your own food and drink or are you going to club together and split the costs. Who's bringing the cake and who's bringing the beers? This is all important stuff to think about. Put your heads together, exchange packing lists, make it as easy for each other as you can. Try not to end up with three camping stoves but no lighters or fuel.

On The Day
Whatever your team strategy, be supportive to each other on the day. Think about what your runner might need after his or her lap, meet them with their warm layer and some water. Be generous with your cheers and encouragement. Create a team vibe somehow, perhaps matching t-shirts or all agree to wear the same colour. Come up with a team name. Make it fun, even if you're aiming high on the day, it doesn't have to be all slog.

Are there any other points you would include as advice to prepping for a team event? Are you taking part in any this year?

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