Joining a Triathlon Club

It's natural for people with a common interest to get together, and triathletes are no different in that regard. As noted in Chapter 2, there are more than 500 triathlon clubs in the United States, so there's a good chance you can find one near you.

As you learned in Chapter 3, training with a group seems much less like drudgery than running or riding alone. Joining a triathlon club will also give you access to a lot of information that can be very useful to you in your training and racing. Veteran club members can answer your questions and provide tips, often through lectures or other group activities. You can learn about better racing, the latest gear, and the best races to sign up for.

Tri clubs are often the organizers of or are heavily involved in local multi-sport races. Many offer training programs tailored specifically for a race that they sponsor. This provides the perfect opportunity to gauge your progress as you'll most likely be training with people in your age group or experience level. You will probably even find yourself planning road trips to various multisport events with members of your training group.

As you learn to enjoy the sport and benefit from it in many ways, you will have a natural inclination to give back. Tri club membership will provide ample opportunities for volunteering, organizing, and learning.

In addition to organizing races, your local club also probably has purely social functions such as cookouts and group rides or runs followed by breakfast or another meal. The people you meet in the tri club will become your friends and will be there to support you in many ways, some completely separate from sports.

The USA Triathlon website (www.usatriathlon.org) has a list of triathlon clubs, by state, with web links. Go to the USA Triathlon's home page and under the Resources menu click on “For Clubs,” then click on “Find a Club.”

Club Perks

Most clubs have riding gear or T-shirts available for members to give them a sense of belonging and identification. If there are a variety of sports clubs in your area, the tri club may organize or participate in interclub competitions, such as competitive rides, runs, or swims. It is not uncommon for businesses such as running shoe stores and bike shops to offer discounts on purchases to members of local running, biking, and triathlon clubs.

Most triathlon clubs maintain websites, and many have regularly published newsletters. The dues for most triathlon clubs are either nonexistent or very affordable. They're not in it for the money; they're in it for the fun. Join in and have some.

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