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  • Writer's pictureEmmelia Potts

Reasons to Join A Triathlon Club

Updated: Dec 12, 2023


friends at a sporting club

On embarking on this journey I figured it would be easy enough to do everything on my own without much help. A new gym workout from Paul every now and again, a cycle with people from the gym and the occasional park run with a school friend, but I anticipated that I would undergo most training on my own. After all, I would be racing on my own so it would be best to get used to doing everything solo right?


As previously mentioned in my learning to swim blog I was looking to have lessons and could not find anyone at a decent price which, long story short, ended up with me joining my local triathlon club. Not one to waste money I decided that I shall not just utilize the club for swimming but give it all a good go and throw myself into it all.


Reasons for me not joining a club back in the summer were numerous:

1- Cost. In my mind joining another club was going to break the bank and I could not afford it.

2- Time. I was already busy and the thought of fitting into another club was daunting.

3- Experience. I have no experience in triathlons at all. I thought that once the other members heard I was planning on doing an Iron Man in a few months without any prior triathlons I would be laughed out of the vicinity.

4 - I hate training with people. I have always liked to go at my own pace and dislike being pushed on or forced to run quicker etc. I like to do things my way.


However, after a few months, I can safely say that it is the best decision I have made for my training. Here are a few reasons why you should join a triathlon club, especially if you are a beginner!


1: The amazing and bizarre people you will meet

Before signing up for Maidstone Harriers I was under the impression that triathlon club members were all far too busy being competitive and serious to have any fun. This is not the case. Very rarely a training session goes past where everyone is not giggling and joking around. When the work sets in then yes everyone knuckles down, but around the hard work everyone is laid back, friendly and up for a laugh.


2: Training partners on tap

There are not many people in Maidstone that have any interest in diving into freeze-cold lakes first thing on a Saturday, doing mammoth hill sprints on the bike in the evening or cycling to a half marathon and back. However, by joining a triathlon club all of the strange folk that like to do this sort of thing are in one place and would love only to join you in such ventures. You are never short of the company for your next ridiculous training session.


3: Free advice

The amount of information I have been provided from everyone so far is amazing. Everything from how to swim quicker, to not shaving down below to prevent bike chaffing. There are so many nuggets of tried and tested information that the members have. Everyone has a well of knowledge and is more than happy to pass it off to newbies like me. I am constantly writing down things to look up, articles to read, books to buy, titbits of information and gadgets/apps to try from recommendations.


I have found that for the most part, tri-club athletes love to share information mainly because it gives them a chance to tell a story. However, they do not part information in a bragging "I'm so amazing" way, but rather in a sincere, understanding way which is great for a first-timer.


4: The confidence boost

Despite my casual attitude of "it will be fine" I have a serious lack of confidence when it comes to trying new ventures and will be secretly dying inside when trying something out of my old comfort zone. This was never truer than when attending my first swimming lesson. With all the grace of a baby elephant drowning, I progressed to a baby elephant in a rubber ring. This was mainly due to my confidence gained from training with a large group of people who were patient and wise rather than muddling along on their own.


I can not help but feel that my cycling would have improved tenfold in half the time if I have joined in the summer and had not tried to learn all the bike maintenance, one-handed cycling tips and position knowledge on my own, but we live and learn!


5: Focused training

What I know about triathlon training you can write on a 5-pound note. I have not got foggy for the most part and rely on online articles and books. Since joining the club that has changed. They focus each training session on a particular outcome, they explain it and then push you to reach your limit. I am very rapidly learning about which training sessions to utilize and which of my training sessions are empty miles and as a result, are a waste of my time.


6: You can not bail.

If you say you are going to a track session you are going to that session or you will never hear the end of it.


7: The food

Gordon Ramsey, I am not, in fact, my interest in cooking is fairly minimal unless it is pizza. I always thought of healthy food as vile and unsatisfying. However, the worried looks I got on telling club members I go home and finish off a 15-inch after-run club (pizza) pushes me towards thinking about what I am eating a bit more.


Yes, it is slightly guilt-ridden dieting if I am honest. I stare at my pizza whilst images flash into my mind of the faster runner that night tucking into a salmon and veg dish. I have become very aware that most of the things I used to enjoy eating are horrendously bad for me in the amounts I scoffed each day.


8: Inspector gadget

Before joining Maidstone Harriers I had little interest in gadgets. I would turn up with my I pod to play music and that was about it. I had a watch years ago which was used three times and then the novelty wore off. However, seeing all the amazing things you can buy and the knowledge you can gain from knowing how fast you are going or the distance you have done has spurred me to look into buying onboard computers for my bike and I'm contemplating digging my watch out again.


9: The club kit

I feel dead professional when I wear my tri-suit! It is a bit of a shame that I resemble a seal in clingfilm more than the whippet-like professionals out on the course, but running with a name on your back does make you feel like you belong there on race day.


10 Get-togethers

One thing I am beginning to learn very quickly is that this for many of the members this club is their main hobby and as a result, they throw their all into it. There is a diary of events that the Kardasians would be envious of and this does not include races. Everything from transition training information nights to pub crawls and quiz nights, the club has it covered. You will never be bored, in fact. Equally, if you do not go to all the events they will not think any less of you. It is there to do as much or as little on the social front as you wish.


11 Competitiveness

Back to my solo training. When running on my own I stop a lot, I get bored and no one is there to make me keep going so I stop, have a dance, a bit of a walk and then carry on. When running with others from your club you are not only spurred on to not stop but you are pushed on to catch up with Margret who beat you last week. You get competitive, you begin to know who is a similar ability and speed to yourself and you want to beat them. The session flies by as you have something to aim towards, and the best bit? You enjoy it!


12 You’ll make friends

As previously mentioned I was worried everyone would be serious, and professional and not want a newbie like me there, not the case at all. Everyone was so welcoming, helpful and kind and I have made friends with people who have similar goals and starting points to me. If I want to go for a long run with the company I have people I can ring up, if I want advice I have people happy to give and if I want to whinge and worry to someone about training there are a few that would not only listen but also offer advice. I love my normal friends but they simply do not understand the pressure of Iron Man training so it is nice to have people in a similar boat who you can muddle together with in tough times.


Maidstone Harriers
Myself and the Maidstone Harriers team before our Olympic distance Triathlon at Leeds Castle

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