May 5

Running with a pack

Why being one of the weakest links in your team makes you the best version of yourself possible.

I was a chubby musician at school, rubbish at sports, and managed to get out of long runs in PE by playing the asthma card.

Sports Day at secondary school... That’s not one of my happiest memories

Thinking back, I was probably also terrified that my performance on sports day would somehow define me as a person. As if my friends would hold me in higher or lower regard because of my 60m sprint performance.

And weirdly, that completely imagined fear of judgement sticks with you.

The thing is, the school kid notion of athletic competition establishing a hierarchy… we’ve got it completely wrong.

What if it’s you against you? And competing against others is an amazing way to get the best out of yourself and therefore get the best result?

Let’s say I’m an average runner, competing in a 10km race. I’ve trained okay-ish. I’ve done my short, medium and long runs each week for 8 weeks. I’ve got my goal time in my head.

(but I’m not a natural athlete. I’m not fast. I don’t want to push myself too hard. If I act like the athletic equivalent of a wall flower, no one will notice me)

But for some reason, at the start line, I notice another far more experienced (and fast looking) runner and decide I’m going to keep pace with them.

So, I do. I keep them in my sights for the whole race, never dropping more than 10 metres behind.

The finish line is now in sight, I’ve been grafting for 9.6km. 400m to go. It’s me and my new ‘running partner’ vying for position now. I might even beat them

My body has been flooded with lactic acid for the last 40 minutes, my heart rate consistently higher than it’s ever been in training.

It's neck and neck with 100 metres to go.

My body has never felt like this. There’s no way I’d be pushing this hard if it wasn’t for the other runner.

We cross the finish line.

I get second by two metres.

I get a personal best of over 9 minutes.

I’ll count that as a win!

So it may be a battle for first or second place. It may be a struggle 99th or 100th place. But the pack, your opponent, your partners will bring out the best in you.

But, if you don’t try, you won’t even come last.

And the great thing is running in a pack brings up your game. You don’t have time to think about the shopping or the laundry, you’re keeping pace, and it’s much better than the pace you’d keep by yourself.

So whatever you want to achieve, think about finding a pack to make you better at whatever that thing is. The results will speak for themselves.

At Encore we train in small groups of 4-6 members, depending on the session, with at least one coach constantly supervising.

This means our bunch of friendly members will always find someone to identify as a running partner and strive to reach. And they consistently outperform what they lift, bench or squat in a solo session. They are focussed, motivated and secure in the knowledge that their coach will keep them safe while they push themselves and no-one else is judging.

#justsayin

Alex


The Encore approach to non-stop progress

At Encore, you will find a results-focused fitness environment, designed to constantly move you towards your personal goals.

Our unique blend of intelligently intense small-group sessions, evidence-based exercises and ever-changing programmes trains you as an elite athlete, keeping workouts challenging and exciting.

Our strength and conditioning training programme includes classes that focus on lifting weights, in a closely monitored environment, while other build aerobic capacity.

The Encore team also provides nutritional guidance, sharing a range of information sources and expert advice to complement your fitness programme, and help you reach your goals.

Join us and get fitter, leaner and stronger.


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