The power of team is an undeniable force to be reckoned with. I recently read an article about two brothers that started a post-collegiate running camp to train distance runners. Their team, Hanson-Brooks Distance Project, has gained recent notoriety as their top runners have been finishing in the top of many U.S. Marathons. What struck me about the article was the concept of the Hanson brothers’ approach.
Their focus was on that of a team…not grooming a few superstars, but the formation of unified group with a common goal: Qualify for the Olympics. The Hanson brothers provide room and board for their runners and employment at one of their Detroit-area shoe stores. The runners train together; eat together; work together; and live together. They are a family. And for anyone that has been on a team like this, it’s easy to see why this group is becoming so successful.
Teams are a human phenomenon and an invaluable resource that we often forget to tap as we get past school-age. The power of a common goal can propel ordinary people to accomplish extraordinary things - together. It’s contagious and it becomes a force that gains momentum over time. And while running seems like a very individual sport, it’s very much a group effort. Positive peer pressure pushes others to do their very best. When you train beside someone else and witness their triumphs and improvements, you start to think “If they can do it then I can do it, too!” Teams elevate everyone’s performance whether you’re being challenged by someone that’s faster, or pushed by someone that’s improving. Even the desire to beat a friend in a race can motivate us and our competitors to new heights.
Sadly, the camaraderie and positive energy and powe of teams can seem to be a thing for youth sports only…a time that has passed many of us by. But that doesn’t have to be the case! Something as simple a neighborhood walking partner or a friend that you trade running goals with can keep you motivated. When we involve other people in our life and share our goals, we gain advocates and fans and likewise become the cheerleaders for others. So go ahead and unite for a common cause: join a running club; ask a friend to go for a walk; or organize a neighborhood race. Life’s a team sport…join forces, my friends!
You can find Power of Team and other motivational fitness information in the July 2007 article of The Bullhorn. You can sign up for this free monthly e-zine below.