Whether you’re new to the sport or an experienced veteran, joining a triathlon club is one of the best things you can do to enrich your experience as a multisport athlete. Depending on the structure and makeup of the club, you’ll get several perks that will help you as you work to achieve your swim/bike/run goals–the most important one being connection to a like-minded group of triathlon lovers. Here’s what you need to know about tri clubs so you can find the right one for you.
Clubs can vary from just a handful of triathletes to thousands.
Check out Swim Caps
Most people find their way into a club by connecting with people who are already members. If someone at your local pool is wearing a swim cap from a club, don’t be afraid to ask them about it. Remember, these clubs are all about camaraderie so be willing to ask questions when the opportunity presents itself.
Look Around at Your Local Race
If you don’t know anyone who’s part of a club (or if the idea of going up to a stranger is too terrifying), there are other ways to figure out what kind of clubs exist in your area. The most organic way is to look around at your local race. Odds are the clubs from your area have tents and their athletes are all wearing their kits. Look around and see what kind of vibe they seem to have—clubs tend to have different characteristics depending on the makeup of their membership and the need their looking to serve. What feels like a good fit to you?
Check Out USAT’s Triathlon Club Directory
If you’d rather start your search online, start with USA Triathlon’s club directory. You can search by location, discipline, type, and region. From there, go to the club’s website or social media accounts and reach out to whoever is in charge of communications or membership.
Assess the Fit
Once you’ve identified the clubs in your area, do an assessment of what purpose the club serves and what the cost is. While many clubs are run by the members and come with minimal costs, others are put on by a local store or coach and require a certain level of commitment.
San Francisco Triathlon Club, for example, is good example of a community club. It’s a not-for-profit charitable organization and its board and workout leaders are made up of members. Its membership comes in at $110 per year. On the other end of the spectrum, Racelab out of Phoenix, Ariz. is a coaching-focused club. Part of being a member is that you will get access to their coached sessions and possibly have a coach who will help you hit your goals throughout the season. The cost on this one starts at $175 per month (for access to their coached sessions) and goes all the way to $395 per month (for a coach and access to sessions). They each have their own perks and benefits, and ultimately are offering completely different levels of service and community. Neither is good or bad, the point here is to really dive into what kind of club will fit your needs and your budget.
Once you’ve found a club that seems like a good fit, take a look at their schedule and get ready to dive into all that they have to offer. The Triathlon Club of San Diego, for example, offers several workouts, meet ups, FB groups for athletes training for various events, and even Q&As with pros. No matter what kind of club you end up joining, keep in mind that being part of a triathlon club is just like most things in triathlon—you’ll get out of it what you put into it.
Don’t despair! If you live somewhere with no triathlon club, consider starting one. USAT has some handy information on their site to get you started, and is standing by should you have any questions along the way.
Already a member of a triathlon club? Tell us about your experience and tag #triathletechallenge.