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Why You Need to Join a Triathlon Club

By Chris Kaplanis
Photo by James Wood

teamTriathlon may be considered an individual sport on race day, but getting to the start line doesn’t have to be. Joining a local triathlon club brings a seemingly endless number of benefits. Whether you are just starting out or are a seasoned athlete, you can’t go wrong. In addition to group training opportunities, the fun and camaraderie is priceless. The memories will be endless and sharing your passion with other like-minded people is sure to pay off. Not sure if joining a club is right for you? Continuing reading and then decide.

1. Meet new friends and training partners. Are you new to triathlon? Or have you been training and racing alone for years? Joining a local triathlon club is the perfect way to meet like-minded friends and find new training partners. You will be amazed by how much you will learn from others and how you will benefit by being associated with something bigger than yourself.

2. Participate in group workouts. Most triathlon clubs offer group workouts along with their annual membership for little or no extra cost. Group workouts tend to be motivating and fun. No one likes to suffer alone and when you’re going through the same workout as your teammates, everything becomes a little easier. Time will pass faster, your perceived exertion will be lower and you will likely push yourself harder than if you were doing it alone. Not only that, but there is an accountability factor that comes with group workouts. No one really enjoys rolling out of bed when it’s early or there’s bad weather, but you will when you know your teammates are waiting for you.

3. Learn from others. Whether you have questions about new gear, races or simply about how to change your tire, someone is bound to have an opinion or offer insight. There is a lot to learn when it comes to triathlon and there is no faster way to get up to speed then surrounding yourself with more experienced athletes. In addition, you may get a few quick pointers the next time you’re in the pool or on the road.

4. Never be alone on race day. There is nothing better than seeing your teammates during your race. Whether they’re racing themselves or they are just there to cheer you on, seeing a teammate can be the perfect pick-me-up to help you keep going. Additionally, club members who wear their team kit are easier to spot by family and friends. And you will often hear random spectators cheer for you as you pass them by. After crossing the finish line, what’s better than ending the day with a post-race celebration with teammates, family and friends?

5. Access club resources. Typically joining a triathlon club entitles you to various sponsor and race entry discounts. You can likely expect to save a few bucks at your local bike and run shops as well as other online triathlon retailers and vendors.

Triathlon clubs are known to host informational seminars, clinics and camps. Seminars such as race fueling, pacing and training can be extremely enlightening. The best part about seminars is that you will have the opportunity to ask questions and learn more than if you were simply reading a magazine. Clinics are great as well. Open water swim clinics, tire changing clinics and transition clinics are just a few ways clubs can give you a chance to learn, practice and feel more comfortable before race day. Lastly, training camps provide the perfect atmosphere to take your fitness to a new level in preparation for your big race. By submerging yourself in the sport for a few days and training with others, you will leave the camp a new athlete, regardless what your level of experience was going in.

How to Join:
You can find a local triathlon club by searching online or by looking at the list of USA Triathlon sanctioned clubs. It is important to keep in mind all clubs are not created equal. Some are purely social, while others are very competitive. Typically you can also find groups that keep a balanced approach to the sport. Other considerations when finding a club to join include club organization, club leadership, proximity and of course the members. Finally, the best way to decide if a particular club is right for you is by meeting some of the members at one of the club’s social events. Most triathletes are friendly and outgoing so make sure you introduce yourself, don’t be shy and have a good time.

Chris Kaplanis is the co-founder and assistant head coach at Ridgewood Tri Athlete (RTA), a multisport coaching business and triathlon club based in New Jersey. RTA works with athletes from across the country, offering a variety of services to get you faster, fitter and on track to successfully accomplish your goals. He is a USA Triathlon Level I and USA Cycling Level III Certified Coach.

The views expressed in this article are the opinion of the author and not necessarily the practices of USA Triathlon. Before starting any new diet or exercise program, you should check with your physician and/or coach.