One of the benefits that I have never had prior to me joining a triathlon team is the internal competition that happens within a given team. Obviously everyone is competing with each other on race day, but what happens in the time leading up to race day? Since I have been training solo for pretty much my entire career, I haven't had anyone to compare myself to. Now I do.
Thanks to the advent of TrainerRoad, Strava, TrainingPeaks, etc, pretty much everyone can see everyone else's workouts. Our Big Sexy Racing Team has their own TrainerRoad team page so I am constantly tracking my teammates. What this does is make me train so much harder. Sometimes not in a positive way.
I have always been able to push myself as hard as I want, or need to. I've been very lucky with that gene. Now it just seems like I have so much more internal motivation to basically kill myself during my training. I pick workouts with the thought of how much sweat is going to be left on the floor and how much my legs and lungs are going to hurt during the workout.
What this has done is the obvious: making me a lot stronger. I can feel how much stronger my legs are when compared to last year. I thought I was working hard last year but when I know my workouts are being published to a team site, my workouts seem to have the Emeril splash- being "kicked up a notch". Not that I'm complaining one bit, but it's amazing to see what happens when other people are going to know what you do.
As a result, this has also bled into my running and swimming. My run times are getting significantly faster because of my leg strength. And I'm swimming at such a faster pace than previously. Not that this improved swimming will help me on race day, but at least I know I can go faster and longer now. I'm also staying in the pool longer than before. I used to have this mental block that when I reached like 30 minutes or about 1500 yards, my body would shut down. Now I can go a lot longer and harder.
Having the knowledge that I will be racing some teammates at a few events this year, I want to make sure I am the first Big Sexy Racer to cross the finish line and not the last. I need to put on a good showing for the team.
All of this has led to such an increase in my intensity, which I hope will lead to an decrease in my race times this year.