There are many reasons to join a club. Always keep in mind, when it comes to training there are two things that are never perfect, one is the weather, second is finding a time to join up for a group ride. If you wait for perfect weather, or for the planning of a group ride to do your training, you may find yourself in a pickle and you may not get your training done. Benefits of joining a club are:
Training partners. You can join in group workouts, there are safety in numbers, and if you are headed to open water for a swim it is always safer to have a partner to go with you. Especially good are the clubs that organize workouts. Making a plan with a training partner will keep you accountable, if you are not a self motivated type of person, and training with a partner may push you beyond your limits. Just be careful to not push too hard if you are just starting out.
Gear Recommendations. Most likely on the club you will find members who have tried or own that GPS watch you are wondering about, and if you just purchased it and still learning it, you will find the person who can set it up for you in no time. Triathletes like their gear, you will find lots of knowledge in club, on occasion if you haven’t tried a gel, you can ask for a taste test. After some time you will find yourself asking club members about stuff, before you lay down some big bucks.
Members come in all abilities and ages. You gain confidence as a new person to the sport by learning from the more experienced, and watching or helping others that are new. With members of all ages, it will feel like family, you can watch the youth progress, offer them advice, you can be inspired by the diversity a club has to offer.
Race experience. Are you wondering about a particular race, the hills, swim, etc? Most likely someone on the club will have done this race before and you can take advantage of their knowledge of the course. Especially helpful before you register so that you can pick the race to fit your strengths and preferences.
Racing and finishing with your team mate. While race day is all about individual effort, you are wearing team colors now. You belong to a team, and as you race you will likely see them on course, cheer each other on, and share stories at the end of the race.
Discounts and resources. You can get access to club resources, sponsors, and discounts. This can help you save a few dollars, especially if you are purchasing gear and such. Typically joining a club entitles you to various sponsor and race entry discounts. You can likely expect to save a few bucks at your local bike and run shops as well as other online retailers and vendors.
Some clubs will host informational seminars, clinics or even camps. Such as open water swim clinics, or seminars for fueling, and training. It is a good opportunity to learn new concepts, or practice something you haven’t tried before.
I am certain that this list didn’t capture all the benefits of joining a club, you can probably think of a few more to add to this list. I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving celebration. In the Part 3 to this series I will list some attributes of what I think make up a great club. You won't want to miss that! Are you ready for your off-season, it is a great time to focus on technique, try new things, and strength conditioning.