It may be an individual sport, but triathlon training is always more fun with others. Whether you’re new to the sport or have many years behind you, joining a tri club is bound to kick your training up a notch. Regardless of athletic background, age or ability, all members have something unique to bring to a club. If you haven’t already, here are ten reasons to join your local tri club.
1. You’ll never have to train alone
Now, of course we all enjoy those solitary times out on the road while running or riding in the early morning. There’s something so peaceful about being up and outdoors before most people are even awake. But if the solo training is getting to you, a tri club is the best way to find training partners of a similar ability. With access to many people, you’ll have no shortage of buddies with whom to get out and do that open water swim, or stay on pace while logging mileage on the bike or run.
2. Anyone can join
Whether you have experience in one of the three sports, a limited ability in each or no experience at all, you’ll feel welcome in a triathlon club. They tend to encourage anyone who is slightly interested to come out and give it a try and you’ll find a real “we’re all in this together” mentality.
3. Gear advice
Not sure whether you should buy a tri bike? In the market for a new watch but overwhelmed with the choices? You’ll get all the unbiased assistance you need to make an informed decision when you ask members of your tri club. Triathletes are usually happy to share their trial-and-error experiences to help you make the right choice. Better yet, tri clubs are often great networks for triathletes to buy and sell their secondhand equipment.
We all have those days when we just don’t want to get out of bed to train or come home tired after a long day of work and consider cancelling an evening workout. A tri club can serve as the perfect motivation to get out there and swim, bike or run. If you know your training partners are counting on you, you’ll be less likely to skip out. You’ll hold yourself accountable to your training because you won’t want to let anyone down.
5. Learn from others’ experiences
Searching for the perfect next race but not sure which one’s best? Many tri clubs have target races throughout the year that longtime members will be familiar with. Being in a club gives you the chance to ask around and hear what different courses and race environments are like before you sign up. Or, maybe you’re looking for a great out-of-town race. Chances are, a contact in your club will be able to recommend something.
Depending on the size of the club, you’ll find that multiple practice sessions are offered in a week. Clubs don’t require that you attend each and every workout. Everyone’s situation is different so its not uncommon to have select workouts that you make it out for. Often, club members will organize informal meeting times to get out for an extra swim, ride, or run in the week and encourage all to come out.
7. Surround yourself with support
Tri clubs members love to support their teammates. Target races will often be highly anticipated events where coaches and members who aren’t racing come out and support those who are. Having some familiar faces shouting words of encouragement from the sidelines is the best way to keep going when things get tough in your race. Your fellow club members will know exactly what it took to get to the starting line in ways that family and loved ones may never understand. Plus, if you’ve forgotten something on race morning there’s a good chance someone will be happy to lend out an extra.
Not all of us can afford to hire a personal coach. Many tri clubs have certified and experienced coaches whose job it is to help you achieve your goals. Bigger clubs will have coaches for each of the three sports who will be able to share their tips for improving your weaknesses. Clubs aim to have affordable membership so as to attract more members. You’ll find that your membership fee is one of the best investments you can make in your life as a triathlete.
9. Challenge yourself
Clubs that do group rides often have multiple pace groups. If you’re aiming to get stronger on the bike, challenge yourself to join a faster pace than you’re used to. Tri clubs often have a “no-drop” rule and a ride master to make sure no gets left behind. Head out on new routes with a club to switch up the monotony of your solo training. If you’re not a fan of open water swimming, going with a club will ease your nerves and boost your confidence.
10. Renew your love in the sport
Have you spent the last few seasons training alone and are starting to lose the joy in training? The enthusiasm, excitement and positivity that are inherent in any good tri club will be enough to reignite your love for the sport.