Question of the day: Triathlon and Running Clubs

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Tonight while cleaning the kitchen I stumbled upon a small DC Triathlon Club pin that I had picked up at the Multisport Expo a few weeks ago.  It got me thinking – how many of you belong (either officially or unofficially) to triathlon or running clubs?

For me, I officially belong to the DC Triathlon club in that I paid my dues (well, I think I paid them this year anyway), though, I rarely make it out to club events – primarily just due to scheduling reasons.  But, they do some amazing sessions/clinics and events – so if you were new to either the area or the sport, it’d be awesome.  Or, if you were looking for training partners and/or guidance.

On the running side, I used to running three times a week with a local running group (Pacers, no fee or official membership, just show up), though as my schedule shifted to a coached program I participated less and less.  I do still make it out for the occasional long run though.  That fits better with my training schedule, and forces me to get out in earlier the morning and knock the run out.  And – the biggest benefit is I get to hang out with a bunch of friends, usually eating baked goods afterwards.  Plus, this is where The Girl and I met.

I’m curious though – for those that take part in triathlon/running clubs – what’s the biggest driver for your involvement?  And for those that don’t, why not?  Or, what would increase your participation in them?  More clinics, deals with local shops, training races, cupcakes?  Purely a curiosity thing.

Also, I’d love to hear from the international folks as well – I know that I see quite a bit on triathlon clubs down in Australia and New Zealand, and Europe.  But what about the remainder of Asia, or Africa and the Middle East?

I would love to hear your thoughts! Have a great weekend all!

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45 Comments

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  2. I belong to no offical triathlon club/group, but I do belong to an unoffical running group. Maybe–as you mention–it’s because of the food. Ultra runners do tend to eat a lot…

    My wife is a member of a local tri group but I personally like to do tri training on my own, or with a small group of friends. I find that the larger the group, the more unfocused the training seems to get.

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  3. was fixing at becoming a member of a club, but the hours just didnt fit in to my schedule.

    three kids and a demanding job, just meant that I didn’t have time to show up, at the set times….

    I love the idea though, would expect my training to progress a lot faster, than what it has on its self.

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  4. Carina

    I live in Dubai, and here we have many running, cycling and a few swimming clubs. They’re great to be a part of because training alone in the summer here can be very difficult because of the heat. The clubs also cater for all abilities, so beginners and ironman triathletes can find a group to train with. training sessions are all in the evenings after work, and the long rides/runs are during the weekend, normally early in the morning to beat the heat, and those with families can get a good session in before their kids have even woken up :)

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  5. I recently started showing up to run with a triathlon club through my university (in Jerusalem, Israel). Previously I’d just trained on my own, mostly making things up as I go. I like that this gives me a couple of more structured workouts each week, and would like to start joining their cycling/swimming meets to get into those.

    We just meet up, do a workout, and leave. No clinics, food… I wish there were. There are two other clubs that meet about the same time and place as us, although I don’t know anything about them.

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  6. Belong to a local unofficial club. I run there when I can and mainly go as it helps keep you motivated and its more interesting on the long runs to have someone to chat to compared to running by yourself.

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  7. A couple of years ago, I became member
    of a running club here in Amsterdam
    when I started running again. I had been running before for a couple
    of years, but quit when my first child was born. After some years, I
    decided to pick up running again, but I really wanted to start out
    with professional trainers to ensure a smooth transition from
    sedentary life into a much more active one. It proved to be the right
    choice, slowly but surely building up my ability to run longer,
    further, and faster.

    These days, I am still a member but
    rarely run with the groups. It just does not fit into my busy life
    that well. I now take opportunity to run with colleagues of Verizon
    Business
    here in Amsterdam during lunch breaks and I do longer
    runs (>21K) in the weekend. I typically run four times per week
    for a total distance of around 60 – 70 kilometers.

    Although I rarely take part in running
    activities of my running club, I will remain a member. Just so that
    my little monetary contribution will help sponsor the club and its
    trainers – providing possibly the same experience I had to other
    beginning runners.

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  8. No tri clubs. But, I’m a member of the DC Road Runners Club. However, I rarely find time to attend events or do anything beyond paying my dues.

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  9. I belong to the Columbia (MO) Multisport Club. They are very active with tons of group workouts (though I haven’t made many of the workouts yet – though am looking forward to some of their open water swim practices this summer). I joined last summer because the 10% discount at the running/tri store made it pretty much free. I was glad I joined when a few of the CMC folks cheered me on to my last place finish at a local tri – nice of them to stay behind. It was an ugly day for me. I’m looking forward to possibly doing my first club championship with them (they are 7x winners) in OKC in Sept. The do such a good job of fundraising that it is super cheap for members to travel to championships. I only joined towards the end of last season so I am looking forward to trying to get more involved.

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  10. I signed up to the running club of the place I work, mainly to participate to the events they select. They take care of the registration, fees, we can share cars, and enjoy some moments together (and we get subsidesed).
    It is more fun than going to races alones.

    I also joined the Light Athletic Club of the sporting association of my town, to have access to their track, which is right in front of my house. Very very handy, even if it means a fee of €12 per month.
    They organise many running sessions, but I cannot join because I have a family with two kids and a full time job, so I tend to run either during the lunch break, or very early in the morning. Moreover, I follow my training plan, which does not fit with what they do.

    To wrap up, in my experience running clubs are useful either for getting easy (and subsidised) access to race events, or to have access to sporting facilities.
    Running and especially training together is a luxury for those who have enough flexibility left in their lives.

    Nicola (Germany)

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  11. Ted

    As a runner I never joined a club, and trained and raced on my own. 10 years ago when I started triathlon, I found it helpful to learn and train with others. I joined the Toronto Triathlon Club when it formed 5 years ago, for the group rides, and training sessions. Races became more interesting because I knew other racers. Over time I came to see triathlon as a community rather than an individual activity, and joined the club board to give something back to the triathlon community and make the sport more enjoyable for other age groupers. The triathlon experience is much more rewarding because of this.

    Ted

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  12. Joining my local Tri Club last year was the best choice I could have ever made. I had started running sprint tri’s some years ago, but failed to make much progress. Our local club offered an early season swim clinic series, which was the first step I needed. Beyond that I was able to get some important practice during our weekly training sessions. These include an open water swim with bike and run legs, naturally. Essentially running super-sprint every Tuesday night was just the thing I needed to push me, to the point where I ran my first olympic at the end of last season and am on my way to a 70.3 this June. The social aspect helped quite a bit too, as I found triathletes to be extremely open and happy to provide advice from their own experiences.

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  13. No shortage of clubs here in Calgary, running, triathlon, you name it, there’s a club. However they all seem to be in the other end of the city, and commuting is a bitch. I’d rather spend the commute time as workout time.

    The other thing is more personal. How to put this politely? I get myself together and go. Sometimes there is a bit of floundering around because I forgot something, or I want to see what the weather is going to do, but I’m the only person involved. You get a group and you always end up waiting for someone. That makes me nuts if I’m ready to go, or if I feel like I’m holding the rest of the group back.

    Then there’s pacing. I’m not the fastest guy in the world by a long shot. When I’m by myself, I go at whatever pace I happen to be going at and it takes as long as it’s going to take. In a group I get dropped, unless we’re swimming, and what does it matter then because you can’t talk to anyone anyways? I do see that trying to keep up with a group can lead to improving more rapidly, but it can also lead to injuring yourself more rapidly.

    Plus, I AM NOT A ROBOT! Those tests drive me crazy.

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  14. Chu

    NoVA resident here and without a car, it’s difficult to find the time to get to a run/tri group before/after work to exercise with a group as opposed to running/biking out my front door. I suspect that I would get faster if I went to club track or masters swim and was forced to try to hit intervals beyond my current capabilities, but I haven’t hit that progress wall, yet.

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  15. I joined a triathlon club (RATS – Rochester Area TriathleteS) this year with my son because we are both starting this year, and I wanted to meet people who have done this before. Pick up on tips and tricks, training and equipment stuff, etc. I also joined a multisport racing team sponsored by my LBS for the same reason.

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  16. No running clubs or tri clubs around me, so I’ve been thinking of starting my own.

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  17. I do not belong to any club or training group even though there are a lot where I live in Austin, TX.

    I look at training as “me time”, meaning that I get to drop everything and everyone from my life and just concentrate on the task at hand – which usually includes a fair amount of pain.

    I also like the mental aspect of training alone as it forces you to push yourself and not rely on someone else to do that for you.

    I have never been able to see what people get out of running in a group gossiping (at least that’s what it looks and sounds like to me). But, to each his own.

    Interesting question and some equally interesting comments…

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  18. I just went to a meeting last night and plan to join a cycling club, less for training purposes and more for social – it is fun to interact with like-minded people!

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  19. I am a member of said DC Tri club, and I joined to learn really. I’ve never done a tri and they offer a great new triathlete program with coaching, group training and various events.

    On the other hand, I’m a DC Road Runners member too, and I’ve participated in one run ever, which is a shame. Might start doing their weekend medium runs…

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  20. Ian

    I’m a member of the Pasadena Triathlon Club here in California; there’s over 100 of us in the club. For me, the #1 reason I joined was the camaraderie that I missed ever since I gave up competing with my track/cross-country teams in high school & college. The club is great for motivation and improving training performance.

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  21. I belong to the Arvada Triathlon Club and the Colorado Master’s Running Club. The tri club is great, but smaller so there are fewer activities. The running club is a lot larger and sponsors a monthly race in addition to weekly runs. I think they complement each other well.

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  22. I belong to a running club, USA Fit Gwinnett, just outside of Atlanta and I love the camaraderie, support, and accountability of the group. There are runners of all paces so I’ve been able to increase my speed and I’ve participated in the weekly track workouts (which I doubt I’d have done on my own). I’ve also met several people who wanted to start doing tris so we’ve learned and trained together.

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  23. Ray, I slo belong to the DC Tri Club so “Hooah!”. The reason I joined was because I felt guilty trolling their message board and wanted to attend a triathlon they were holding at Hains Point. Since then I have been on a few bike rides and open water swims.

    Overall, I think it’s great and they are great. For me the workouts and meet-ups are too far away for me to attend with any regularity. I live in Springfield/Kingstowne, Va so that’s a hike to go back and forth in rush hour or on the weekends. I have lots of routes to choose from around here and I’m motivated. I strongly encourage new triathletes or those that need some extra motivation to join a club because there is A LOT to gain, great knowledge transfer there.

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  24. I’m a member of the KC Track Club. From time to time, I’ll join them on long runs but the biggest benefits are the discounts that members receive.

    Membership dues are $15/year and I can easily make that money back on local purchases.

    Plus, I like supporting the local club.

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  25. I’m a member of the DC Tri Club and have used their coaching and programs in the past. I’ve also dabbled a bit with the DC Roadrunners, though no consistently. I’ve used the clubs as a way to keep motivated and connect with other athletes. Coming from a background in team sports, it’s odd for me to have a sport be so individual. Everything from practicing and training to racing is all on me with none of the usual motivational support from teammates. And since I perform better and have more fun in team environments, I try to use the clubs as a sort of surrogate team.

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  26. When I lived in Brisbane, I was a member of a team that was essentially all of my training and all of my social life rolled up into one. I paid a monthly fee and attended up to 13 training sessions per week.

    When I moved to Boston, I couldn’t find anything that quite worked that way. Now that I’m training with Alan, I find the workouts harder to fit into a club setting. I train with a few friends who are more flexible to do my workouts than I am to do theirs.

    I just joined a tri club with winter though because I want to have a kit to race in and people to cheer on at the finish.

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  27. Ken

    Interesting timing, since I’m switching over to a new team right now. I love being on a running team. It’s people to train with, to race with or to cheer you on, to celebrate with after races, etc. No non-runner friends really want to hear about your races and/or training. It’s like a family.

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  28. In the past, with running I thought about a running club, but never got around to it. This year I am training for Triathlons and guest visited the local tri club monthly meeting. I was extremely impressed with the meeting and everything they offer. The meeting was done at a physical therapy office (this time) where they went into injury prevention and form on bike and run. Gave several tests that they do there at the office and how they go about treating them and some other things you can do on your own to help yourself.

    Then found that the person running the club qualified for Kona in the past, which impressed me a bit. The group will go out to the local beach to do an open water swim (which they put buoys out there for the group) and about every month they will also go through short moc tri sessions (5 min swim, 10 min bike and 5 min run) to help you with transitions. Seems this just tips the iceburg for the group so I think it might be to my advantage to get the knowledge/advise that I can instead of just relying on the reading online for all my information.

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  29. MUBiochem

    I Too am in CMC (columbia MO) tri club. Just joined in sept. so I’m looking forward to getting more involved

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  30. I live on the edge of town, (where the running and cycling are terrific) and far away from where any running, cycling or tri club meet. I do my training early morning- right out my door. Driving 30 min (each way) to run or bike just doesn’t fit into my schedule.

    it would be nice to have people to train with, but it just doesn’t work for my lifestyle right now. So- no groups.

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  31. I belong to two Tri Clubs in St. Louis. Mainly for the discounts…20% off lots of stuff and a huge discount on bikes once a year. The other tri club has free computrainer classes.

    It’s also good to have people to ride with as I felt safer riding in DC than I do here.

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  32. I like the idea of training with a club, but in practice it seems often easier to train on one’s own. I am limited from riding with groups because I am too afraid of heights to be comfortable riding over the GW Bridge out of NYC, also very antsy about riding with any traffic. Have had good times running with a group, but don’t find it suits busy work schedule. Swim on-and-off with a masters team, which I highly recommend. Am on listserv for Columbia triathlon team, and hope to take advantage sometime of their transportation to a handful of races every year – I don’t have a car, so for me a training race with transportation or a van taking athletes and bikes to somewhere in NJ or New England is the thing that would be most attractive. Or arranging weekends of long rides out in the country and transportation for riders and bikes out there.

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  33. The shared advice and encouragement that I get from my club mates are some of the main reasons for me. Much more fun heading out on a 90Km bike with company:)

    Brian

    http://www.NewToTri.com

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  34. Akemi

    Japan here (although not at the moment). I’m in a local running club. I joined for social reasons as friends tend to be made through groups (school, work, hobby clubs…), but it wound up being excellent for training. I never would have dreamed of running ultras except all the other people in my club were training for one, so I figured I might as well try to. They regularly push me to speeds/distances I wouldn’t have thought to try on my own.

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  35. I run with Potomac Runners, a large and free DC-area group. I don’t really remember what motivated me to give it a try, but I’ve kept running with the group over the last ten years because I’ve met so many great friends through it. I’m also sure I wouldn’t be running as well or as far if I were doing all my running on my own. And I think I like the structure of the scheduled runs. But mainly I enjoy spending the time with friends.

    As an aside, I’ve been trying to post this comment using OpenID and it’s telling me that I’m not typing the anti-robot characters correctly. When this happened in the past, choosing a different method for identifying myself worked on the first try (so that’s what I’m about to try now).

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  36. After my first year of triathlons, I joined the local triathlon club, HEAT (Hartford Extended Area Triathletes). My main reason for not joining before then was the yearly fee, but upon deciding I would be buying a new bike and knowing that HEAT club members get pretty good discounts on just about everything at the local bike shops, I paid my dues eagerly and have thus far saved 10x that between the new bike and accessories.

    I also joined for the online community. We coordinate workout groups, help each other with equipment issues or questions, and just talk tri when no one else understands what we mean by spending our paycheck on a new compact crank.

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  37. I’m not a member of a tri club, but run with a running group twice a week – mainly because they are super fast and fun, too. For tri-specific things I can train with the academic sports association here in Zurich; they offer swim trainings, runs and bike rides. I only swim with them sometimes as running and biking starts a bit too early, but they offer an annual tri training camp in Spain where I usually join.

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  38. Without a club I definitely wouldn’t train as often or as hard as I do. And as none of my friends are into triathlon it’s awesome to have a group of people cheering for you during races.

    during the recent Ironman Melbourne I volunteered (with my club) on one of the drink stands and we all got to celebrate the club’s founder finishing as 4th age-grouper and qualifying for Kona. I’m never going to have that kind of result but it’s great to feel part of a triathlon “family” and celebrate that success.

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  39. I’m a member of an informal running group at my gym here in Australia. In addition I’m a paid up member of the Sydney Striders running club too.

    Through my running companions I learnt so much and made some great friends. I know it might sound dumb, but without the others I wouldn’t have known about Gu / the importance of nutrition, picked up tips about Spibelts, keeping toenails short, discovering new running routes etc….

    The only downside of my gym based running group is that as a group we’ve developed at a different pace and now struggle to run together due to our different speeds.

    There are lots of tri-clubs around in Sydney, but I’m not a member of any.

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  40. I belong with my wife to the local club Triviera on the Geneva’s Lake in Switzerland.
    Even if I can’t take a big part to the organised trainings session (two kids and full time student makes a complicated calendar) I like the spirit of the club and I participated last year to a wonderful training camp in spain (hotel Giverola tossa de mar) and that was a great time. It is easyer for licence or so too.

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  41. I used to belong to a tri club and a running group, but now since I do much more focused training I prefer to ride and run on my own, or with a very small group, then join my friends for fine food and drink.

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  42. Seb

    I joined a local triathlon club here in Germany last year mainly because of their swim training. The annual fee is quite small (some EUR 70.00) and includes three swim sessions a week of which I try to attend one. Although they don’t offer bike or run training I feel this is a bargain.

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  43. YNWA Steve

    I’m a DC Tri Club guy. I love the club and always regret not doing more. The training triathlons alone are worth the price of membership.

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  44. I am from Pune, India. I primarily belong to a small group of about 7 people – we hike, bike, run and swim. We generally train together. I am probably the slowest runner, cyclist and swimmer in the group, so thats motivation enough for me!
    I also belong to an unofficial running group in Pune, generally join them for long runs on Sundays. Last sunday of every month they have a 21K/10K/5K running event, which I run often. Thats mostly to be in a larger group, and be a part of an organized run with water stops!

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  45. I belong to a swimming club, a running club and a cycling club here in London UK. I decided to do it this way rather than join a tri club because i get to pick from a wider variety of sessions and get to train with so many different people. With the exception of masters where i do all my sessions with them, i only run with my club 1x per week and cycle only 1x with the cyclists so i can still do some sessions on my own. I also get to pick a few single sport races. with them and if i’m focusing on a particular discipline I can pick the brains of the most experienced swimmers, cyclists and runners. It works for me

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