Last week we took a look at the benefits of personal triathlon coaching and what you could expect if you hired your own coach. Personal coaching however is just one of many options when it comes to preparing for a triathlon event and training in the sports of swimming, cycling and running.

For this article, we sat down with Shawn Bostad, founder and head coach of Pure Austin Coaching (PAC), to get an inside look at group training for triathlon and specifically some of the features offered by Team PAC to its training group members.

Coach Bostad believes group training under the guidance of a coach is so effective for two key reasons:

Accountability

Let’s face it, it’s never easy to get out of bed before the sun comes up, but when you sign up to train in a group, you know you have a coach who is expecting to see you at practice. Having this regular accountability is often enough to keep you from hitting the snooze button and will help get you out of bed to practice.

Beyond the coach, group training provides an environment where, as Coach Bostad describes, “everyone’s on a similar journey and you become invested in one another as you train together. This is very powerful.” The group becomes your “team” and in many cases your friends, where the power of the group helps everyone stay accountable to their goals.

Motivation

Once you’ve decided to train for an event, there are so many things that can derail you on your journey.  They can be personal, professional, or physical. Having a strong voice of encouragement there to keep your mind thinking clearly and rationally helps tremendously.  Coach Bostad describes it as being “the difference between operating a train with or without a conductor”.  Your coach is the conductor on this train ride and the individual who makes sure you have all the necessary information to make sure you don’t get derailed. Your coach along with your teammates will be a positive, motivating voice during your training.

Team PAC training in the Quarry!

How it works

There are a variety of different formats for group triathlon training. Here are a few things to look at when shopping for a program:

  • The level of athletes who train with the program. At PAC, most people are training for triathlons (although you will find some just “training to stay fit”) and the practices allow for all levels to participate.
  • The number of workouts that are available each week. PAC offers over 10 workouts a week, with early morning, evening and weekend options. Practices are held at multiple locations. Team PAC members can choose what’s best for them and their schedule.
  • The levels of membership and the length of commitment. PAC offers 4 different monthly membership options, so you can tailor your level of training and commitment to your specific needs. Check out all the Team PAC membership details here: http://www.pureaustincoaching.com/working/team.html
  • Is there a strong social aspect outside of the group workouts? Many training groups, like PAC, will foster opportunities outside of training to bring the group together. From happy hours after practice to team tents at races, group training often comes with a fun social aspect!

Athlete Profiles

Team PAC Athlete in Action!

As with most group training environments, you will find a mix of backgrounds and levels within the group. Coach Bostad says there is not a specific profile of athlete that joins Team PAC. In his program, he coaches individuals who are beginners that have never set foot in a pool all the way up to professionals who are trying to carve out a living in their sport.  “I feel like we have something to offer every athlete.  We can take you as shallow or as deep down the rabbit hole as you want to go to help you achieve your goals” explains Coach Bostad.

To get a better sense of the variety of athlete you’ll find in a group training environment like Team PAC, we wanted to post a couple testimonials from Team PAC athletes:

BRENDA S. I joined Team PAC two months before I was scheduled to participate in my first ever Half Ironman.  I had never swam in open water before and realized that I was in jeopardy of not making the swim cut-off if I didn’t learn how to swim in the open water.  I really don’t think I would have finished the swim in the cut-off if I hadn’t joined up with Shawn and taken advantage of the open water swims at the Quarry.  I ended up beating my own finish time goal by 15 minutes and successfully finished my first ever Half Ironman.  Since then, Shawn has helped me tremendously with my running.  I have set and broken at least 5 running PRs since joining PAC with the biggest accomplishment being a 24 minute PR in the marathon.  Shawn and team PAC has shown me that I have more potential than I realized and has helped me to push myself above and beyond what I thought was possible.  I am so happy that I found Team PAC and look forward to many more successes.

JENNIFER S. I started training with PAC/Shawn in 2009 to get ready for my first ironman. In the beginning I mainly went to the swim practices since swimming is my weakest area. My goal was to finish the 2.4 mile swim in 1:20, but I knew that would be pushing it for me. After two months of swimming with PAC/Shawn I noticed that I was getting faster – rightfully so as the workouts kicked my butt! I went into my ironman feeling ready for the swim portion and confident that I would meet my goal. I had no idea that I would not only meet it, but blow it out of the water with a time of 59:44! I attribute a HUGE part of that to the PAC practices and the swim training programs that Shawn integrated into his weekly workouts.

After the ironman I decided to focus my efforts on running. My marathon PR was a 4:16 and I really wanted to qualify for Boston. Shawn started coaching me 1×1 and I started going to the PAC run workouts. I noticed that my times started to decrease for my long runs and I started to believe I had a chance at qualifying. After 1 year of training with Shawn 1×1 I ran my first 50k trail race, and PR’d in the mile (5:29); 5k (19:27); 1/2 marathon (1:29:49); and the marathon (3:17:47). This April will be my first time going to Boston. I know that without Shawn’s expertise and the camaraderie of the PAC team there is no way I could have achieved those times. Shawn is an incredible coach, but even more importantly he actually believed that I was capable of those times. That’s what made the biggest difference for me – his constant encourgement and positive attitude. Knowing that someone genuinely believed that I was capable of competing at a level I never thought possible is one of the biggest reasons I’m where I’m at today. Shawn cares about his athletes and makes each of us feel like we are the only one he is coaching. He has a true gift and I look forward to many more PRs while training with him.

Learn more about Team PAC

Visit PAC online at MyFitList and on their website. You can also follow Team PAC on Facebook, and Twitter!

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MyFitList
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