Is it cheating if I discuss approaches with my college friend in long contest?

I am trying to improve my coding skills. I and my friends have discussed methods/approaches to the live contest (long ones) many times in college. I want to know if this is alright and acceptable or should I simply leave them and see their editorials once the competition ends. Which way will be better for me to improve my competitive programming skills?

If you discuss a problem, and both of you submit it, then it is against the Code of Conduct. The relevant point is this:

“You may try to solve a problem as a team, but then make sure that there is only one submission made for a discussed solution in a contest. Submitting the same solution (even algorithm) by the different members of the team or a discussion group is not fair and will be considered as plagiarism.”

To improve your skills, we highly recommend trying as much as possible, on your own, before discussing or looking at the editorials.