Triathlon is an individual sport, but that doesn’t mean you have to go it alone! One of my favourite things about it is the amazing community and the lifelong friends you can form, all because of a mutual love of swim, bike and run. Joining a triathlon (tri) club is a great way to become a part of the community and find some spectacular training buddies who will not only make training a lot more fun but push you in sessions and make you a better athlete. There are a lot of options out there, so it can be tricky to know which club to pick. Here is our advice on how to find the right tri club for you.
Put on your thinking cap: What do you want in a club?
Before you start the search for a triathlon club it’s a good idea to have a think about your goals and what you want to get out of it. It’s hard for a coach or a club to meet your needs if you don’t know what they are! Are you a beginner who wants a fun and social environment to get started in the sport? Or, are you a more seasoned athlete who wants a highly individualized program to achieve your goals? Some clubs will be able to offer both, but some cannot, and knowing what you’re looking for will help you make the right choice for you.
Consult google maps: Do the locations work?
Geography definitely needs to be considered when selecting a tri club. If you’re training in the early morning or evening, it can get tricky to fit a session in if your home or workplace is located really far away. Be realistic in what you can commit to. If you select a club that trains quite a distance from you, are you prepared to set your alarm that little bit earlier than everyone else in the squad?
There are ways to get around this, at TriChicks we have girls in our squad come to swimming and then catch public transport from the pool before returning in the evening to collect their car. Others will ride to training and head off 10mins early to ride into work. Once you know what locations you’re working with, you can make a plan to be as efficient as possible.
Set your alarm clock: What about the session times?
Does the training session schedule work for you? Majority of clubs will start AM sessions by 6:00 am at the latest, and PM sessions are likely to begin around 6:00 pm. This is where having considered the location of sessions become important. Most people can’t commit to attending all the squad sessions, so how many can you attend for it to be worthwhile? Attending once a week may be enough for you, or you might want to be attending on a daily basis. Go through the schedule, identify what you can realistically achieve and go from there!
Be all about the vibes: What culture or environment do you thrive in?
Out of all the things you need to consider, this is definitely among one of the most important. A club with a good culture will improve the quality of the friendships you make, determine how much you enjoy your time at training, and therefore can have a big impact on your performance. I know I perform better when I am in a happy environment that makes me want to go to training each day.
Again, this one is really a personal preference. A larger club provides access to a greater number of people to interact with and learn from, whereas a smaller club can be a bit more personal and perhaps less intimidating. Some clubs are based specifically around high performance, whereas others cater for a social side as well.
When I was looking for a club to join, I stumbled across the TriChicks Instagram, and the culture is what stood out for me and made me want to sign up right away. A friendly, welcoming and unintimidating environment was what I needed to get started in the sport, and it’s still the perfect fit for me almost three years later.
Clarify the details: What’s included?
As I mentioned, different clubs will offer different things in terms of their programming and coaching. At some clubs, attending squad training sessions are not included in your program/coaching fee, whereas at other clubs it will be. Head to their website to find out all the info. At TriChicks you can book in a call with the team to discuss your options and ask any questions you may have.
It can be tricky to understand all the differences between what different clubs offer at first, but it’s important to have all the info so you can make an informed decision. Let’s be honest, triathlon is an expensive sport, so you want to know what you’re purchasing before you invest in it.
Tri before you buy: Attend a trial session
After working through these steps, hopefully, you’ve shortlisted a few clubs that stand out for you, and you’re ready and excited to get involved! However, you can only get so much info from social media and websites. A great way to get started is to complete a free trial to see if it’s the right fit for you. This will give you a chance to meet some of the athletes and the coaches and will definitely help you work out if you would like to spend more time there.
Finally: get involved!
Once you’ve made the choice to join a tri club, I have one last piece of advice – you only get out what you put in. So make an effort to get involved with the club and get to know the people within it. If you have successfully found the right club for you, you may also have stumbled across some friends for life and the secret to a long, happy and successful triathlon ‘career!’