Captain’s Blog

Squad Power

Time and again over the last few years it has been obvious to me ( and others) that there is nothing more powerful than a group of people working together towards a common goal. We might view triathlon as being a solo sport, but for those fortunate enough to train with others, the benefits are palpable on different levels.

The Original LTC Ironcrew Zurich 2011

The Original LTC Ironcrew Zurich 2011

I was fortunate enough to go to Perth,  Australia last year and on the flight read ‘Bounce’ by Matthew Syed. One of the key messages for me was how the author was able to show in many environments how having a supportive environment was key in the development of talent across a wide range of endeavours – music, sports, arts, business.

The timing of the read was also interesting in that when I arrived in Perth, I was able to watch such an environment in action at Claremont pool with Swimsmooth. Nothing short of AMAZING – a squad of 185 swimmers, with up to 3 sessions with 30 people swimming 6 days a week. Every person in that squad was positive, motivated and happily pursuing their own goals – there were people learning to swim and guys who had swam the Channel and at the Olympics, but they were all working hard and having fun.

On my return from Perth, I realised that this ethos or ‘squad mentality’ already existed at home as we had built what is now commonly referred to as the LTC Ironcrew. The seed was Roth 2010 from one mans desire to do an Ironman and his enthusiasm infected Lanark triathlon club with the result that 9 athletes toed the line a year later in Zurich. More importantly perhaps was the total of 38 people travelling to that race and the other half dozen making their way to Challenge Barcelona.


The Crew is now 15 strong with race plans at 70.3 Majorca, Highland Warrior, The Outlaw, IM Kalmar,  Aberfeldy half, Challenge Barcelona..and Penticon. These guys are highly competitive yet there is little in the way of the harsh internal competition that riddles solo sport – the behaviour is more like a football team dressing room on cup final day. There are at least 5 guys capable of a sub 10 Ironman – whether they make it this year or not, we will know come October.

The benefits are many – no-one is ever short of a well matched training partner. If you don’t know the benefits of this, there are 2 lads from Yorkshire called Brownlee who can tell you all about it. Any possible motivational dips are banished as the ‘need’ to complete the sessions gets almost compulsive. The core of the crew make the sessions week in week out – excuses melt away like the ice on Lanark Loch. Good natured ribbing ensures that egos are kept under wraps and the sense of improving together is maintained.

The important element that often gets missed by those purely focused on performance is the social contact and sense of being part of something more than self. Sure, it may make more sense to conduct a 3 hour turbo session than ride in the snow – but where’s the fun in that?

One word of warning though – not all squads are the same, so it can be dangerous getting sucked along into sessions that are nothing more than an out and out ego fest with no real purpose. The majority of your training should and will be conducted on your own, allowing you to focus on working at the right level without any external influences, but its good to have pals.

Captains Blog

Welcome to the Captains blog, reserved for general content and comments from the Head Coach – Alan (Captain) Cardwell.


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