Covert use of performance enhancing substances — aka “cheating” — is as old as organized sports. Even the Ancient Greeks are said to have taken “potions" to enhance their athletic prowess. Today, with one drug-cheating revelation after another splashed across the headlines, many people are so fed up they now regard most exceptional performances with skepticism and disbelief.
It’s probably obvious to anybody who has trained for any kind of endurance event: in most cases, it’s more preferable to train with a group of other runners than it is to train on your own.
It’s even good to change your schedule on occasion if there’s a group doing something similar to what you hope to accomplish. The thought of grinding out something like 400 meter repeats alone on a deserted track on a windy Tuesday night doesn’t exactly conjure up images of fun!
Even the most challenging sessions on the track are more exciting when done as part of a big group who take turns sharing the lead position. Especially with me shouting out encouragement and split times to keep you on the task at hand. Not only do these group sessions feel easier and more enjoyable, but they are also generally faster too.
It’s not only track work where the group environment seems beneficial either. I used to find long runs on my own incredibly boring. So I’d typically lose interest after 2.5 hours. One summer I hooked up with a bunch of decent ultra-marathon runners and every Sunday morning we would go 3-4 hours (and beyond) at a very relaxed pace in the countryside. These long runs soon became the highlight of the week instead of the lonely slog they had been before!