With the 2009 triathlon season over and the 2010 triathlon season quickly approaching, joining a triathlon club is one of the best things you can do for camaraderie, triathlon training motivation, new friends in your sport, and help with organizing and planning your workout days and training season.
But unfortunately, some clubs can be a bit stagnant, and may not provide you with exactly what you need. The last thing you want is to be paying membership dues so that you maybe get a jersey with a club name on it, but not much else! So here are my 5 crucial elements that I recommend you look for in a triathlon club.
1. Social Events: Triathlon training is certainly important, and organized swims, bikes, runs and cross-training events are important, but it's also nice to be able to get out and loosen you triathlon training tie with other triathlon club members. Look for social events like bowling nights, skating parties, field trips and other extracurricular activities that take your mind off the grind of training but still allow you to spend quality time with other triathletes.
2. Forum: It is very useful for a triathlon club to have an online forum to interact with other members of the club, to ask questions, to list gear for sale or trade, to post training sessions, or to talk about races and race results. The alternative is a messy e-mail inbox as letters fly back and forth about where the swim is on Thursday night or when the next club meeting might be. Assuming the triathlon club has a website, a forum is a must.
3. Meetings: Another crucial feature of a triathlon club is some form of a structured get-together during which members of a triathlon club can meet and greet, learn about upcoming events, review past events, socialize and maybe even have a guest triathlon expert presentation. Without regularly scheduled meetings (i.e. the second Tuesday of every month), it's easy for a triathlon club to just become another ignored detail in your life.
4. Gear: Your triathlon club definitely needs to be branded. With options to put a logo on everything from cycling jerseys to hats to towels to hoodies to bumper stickers to racing equipment, there's no excuse not to have a way for triathlon club members to wear a brand with pride! This is also a great way to recognize other fellow triathlon club competitors at the races.
5. Clinics: It is important for you to be able to learn about the sport of triathlon outside of the regular triathlon club meetings. Your club should be able to organize tire-changing clinics at a local bike shop, swim clinics at a club member's pool, or run clinics at the track. Continuing education is another good way to socialize and interact with fellow club members while also enhancing your triathlon abilities.
There are a variety of websites such as TriMapper that will allow you to search for local triathlon clubs in your area. Be sure to look for these 5 crucial elements in your search for a triathlon club and you'll be sure to wind up a part of a successful organization!
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