Do you train with a partner or team? The Janes Elite Women’s Running
Team has embraced team training, and strives to provide a supportive environment for their female athletes while promoting a healthy, spiritual well-being. Janes member, Kelle Taylor, shares how the team has transformed her life, both athletically and personally.
Training with the Janes
Although I played soccer from when I was 9 years old through college, I can honestly say that I never valued team training on a deep level until I joined the Janes in 2002. The Janes are a competitive women’s racing team based in Santa Monica, California. Over the past 13 years, I have learned much about the importance of team training on many levels; most importantly its impact on my fitness and performance, as well as the positive mental and social benefits.
I started running in my 30s to stay in shape. I always ran alone with headphones. Eventually, I began racing 5K road races for fun. I didn’t really know what I was doing and didn’t actually “train,” but I would consistently win or place in the top 3. After a few years of this, I joined a running club’s community team and trained for the first time with other female runners. I learned a lot from this experience. However, it was short lived as I became pregnant with my second child, and chose to leave the team. About 6 months after the birth of my daughter, I reconnected with one of my teammates, who had since joined the recently founded Janes Elite Racing Team. My 5K times met the team’s standards, and that’s when my journey began.
Training with other runners benefited me tremendously from day one. My new team was stacked with experienced, high level runners who had competed for many years. They all lived the sport on a deep level. I learned about body mechanics, stretching, plyometrics, various types of interval training, pacing, how to warm up and cool down properly, etc. My running “education” came by way of my teammates; a diverse group of hard working, talented athletes with a range of personalities and attitudes about training and racing, as well a wealth of running experiences.
Training with others improves your performance in a variety of ways. You compete with your teammates every time you do workouts together. This typically results in pushing yourself much harder than you would if you were on your own. You become familiar with your teammates’ strengths and weaknesses and learn from them. You discover your own as well, and your running improves over time as a result.
Team training also creates an environment of support and respect which can be filled with many laughs and good times. Spending time with other women of different ages and backgrounds is truly enriching. In between hill repeats, track intervals, or tempo runs we discuss our families, partners, jobs, challenges, and a myriad of other topics. We have learned from and supported each other not only through our individual running highs and lows, but also through our shared life experiences. We have not only celebrated national championships and other successes in our sport, but also we have celebrated graduations, weddings, childbirth, medical school acceptances, new careers, and many, many parties together. My teammates have become my best friends, friends who I want to beat.