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Group Training vs. Individual Training
By:  Matt Brown   (2013/06/18)


Everyone knows that there are major health benefits to participating in cross country skiing. As cross country skiers it has been proven that we are approximately twice as strong cardiovascularly, and muscularly, if we train four to six times a week compared to individuals who live a “standard” style of living.

At XC Ottawa we are given an even greater advantage in training as we do much of our training as a group.  

Besides the social benefits, group training also has physical and motivational benefits and all in all is a much more accountable method of training. It helps to push yourself beyond your physical expectations and to take your training to the next level by choosing your training group accordingly.

In the spring, we are often given an option for a lot of cross training in our programs. So finding a training group for other activities such as running, biking, or paddling has often led to greater physical gains down the road for athletes. By participating in group training you feel inclined to train just a little bit more and to make yourself accountable to that group.

In the past I have fallen victim to training as an individual. Last summer I ended up back home, without any training partner and often found myself doing all my training by myself. Zone 4 striding intervals and long zone 1 runs without a training group or partner exhausted me, and my training became bland and boring.


               The view from my favourite place to run back home. Saw this view a lot training solo.  

I found doing much of my training alone exhausting and I did not get the best out of my training. With XC Ottawa, multiple practices a week has led to better training and a better all-round training experience. On days with unscheduled practices, we often find ourselves in smaller groups heading out for a run, a roller-ski, or pumping iron in the gym.

Don't think that just because many athletes now-a-days may be leaving the training centers or the national team means that they are going to be doing all their training alone. Take for example the Ninjas. Four independent female racers that abonded the structured training centers and are tackling the cross country ski world solo. Zoe Roy, Chandra Crawford, Amanda Ammar, and XC Ottawa alumni Alana Thomas all train in a fun, relaxed atmosphere.


                                  Mark is all smiles to be at the first group training of the year.

XC Ottawa has given me the training group I needed, and speaking from past experience I encourage you all to stop training as an individual and get a group together.  You’ll find yourself training more often, more productively, and most importantly enjoying your training more. As the old saying goes "one is the loneliest number." So get out, find yourself a training group and add a new dimension to your training!



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