It’s been a year since I rocked up to my local triathlon club, looking for my next challenge after completing my first half-marathon.
I had been considering trying a triathlon for a while, so when my swimming coach suggested I join Havering Tri I jumped at the chance. The club is fairly new having been established in August 2013, and I’ve seen the group go from strength to strength in the past year.
If you are considering taking the plunge into the world of triathlon, I’d urge you to join a local club. Here are my reasons why I love being a member of Havering Tri…
1. All abilities
Triathlon clubs are generally open to athletes of all abilities. At Havering Tri we welcome everyone from experienced multiple Ironmen, to novices taking on their first super-sprint.
As someone new to the world of multi-sports, there has been a lot to learn, but there has always been someone in the club ready to offer advice and encouragement. I’ve picked up some invaluable tips on training, equipment, races and bike maintenance. As a member, I also try to support and encourage newcomers to the club as I realise it can be a daunting prospect to join a new team.
2. Coached sessions
Being part of Havering Tri gives me access to structured training sessions across all three disciplines. The sessions are organised by qualified coaches and are tailored to meet the needs and abilities of the group. We focus on technique, endurance, speed and skills, across both running, swimming and cycling.
I find that I push myself harder when I’m training with the club, and I’ve seen my swimming, cycling and running improve a great deal since I joined Havering Tri. I rarely miss a training session as I’m always keen to catch up with my club-mates on a bike ride or at the pool.
Outside of official sessions, it’s always easy to find a training partner for a run or swim.
3. Social side
The club has a great social side- there is plenty of banter alongside the training and we have a real “work hard, play hard” attitude.
I’ve met people from all backgrounds through Havering Tri, and found that it’s easy to make friends when you are all working towards the same goals. Club social events are always a laugh, particularly the Halloween party last October…
4. Use other skills
As well as training with the club, I’m also involved with the committee, which has included designing the club logo and full range of kit. I worked with another club-mate to develop our logo which features a local landmark- the Upminster Windmill.
Working from a colour scheme agreed by the rest of the committee (navy, royal blue, red and yellow), I then designed a few options for our official trisuit. We went ahead with the below design, our kit supplier VO2 have put this into production with delivery due for next week!
VO2 have also developed a complete range of cycling and running kit, based on my initial idea. I’m so excited to see the entire club racing in our colours this summer!
Since I moved out of the fashion industry, I haven’t really put my clothing design skills in to practice, so it’s been great to get involved in this project.
5. Mini ‘taster’ events
As a club, we have hosted two Aquathlons in the past year. The Aquathlon last April, was my first experience of a multi-sport event. It helped me to gain confidence and practice transitions, before entering in to a larger scale triathlon event. The pool-based swim is perfect for a beginner, as it is less intimidating than an open water swim.
6. Opportunity for training camp
Next weekend, a group of Havering Triathletes are off to Club La Santa in Lanzarote for an early season training camp.
It’s set to be a pretty challenging week with coached swim, bike and run sessions every day, and mini-triathlons taking place throughout the week. The cycling routes will take us through the mountainous terrain of the island, and we will get the chance to practice open-water swimming in the lagoon.
I’ve fancied an active break at Club La Santa for a few years, so I jumped at the chance when the opportunity arose through Havering Tri. It should also be great for team-bonding and socialising with friends from the club.
7. Inspire friends and family
My brother Sean has recently joined up to Havering Tri, to prepare for his first sprint distance triathlon this summer. He came along to support me at Blenheim last year, and was inspired to ‘try a tri’ for himself.
I’ll also be recruiting my husband Glen into the club, now that he is back on form after recovering from knee injury. I’m on a mission to introduce as many friends and family to the world of triathlon- so if you live locally come and ‘have a tri’ with Havering Tri!
8. Sponsorship and discounts
Triathlon can be such an expensive sport, so it’s great to receive discounts as a benefit of club membership. We’re lucky enough to receive sponsorship from leading wetsuit supplier HUUB, as well as reduced rates with a local physiotherapist, personal trainer and sports masseuse.
I recently received a generous discount on my new bike from Vincini Cycles, a local cycle shop who have partnered with Havering Tri. Our kit has been kindly subsidised by local legal firm Sanders Solictors.
9. Racing as a team
In May, Havering Tri are set to take over the ITU Hyde Park Triathlon. Around 15 of us will set off in the same wave for the Olympic distance race, wearing our team colours. Hearing cheers from teammates and our supporters on the course will be a real boost, as well as comparing stories after we cross the finish line.
There is also the opportunity to take on longer distance races as part of a relay team- we are targeting Challenge Weymouth as a key event for the club.
10. Club pride
Havering Tri were recently awarded runner up in the 2014 Havering Sports Awards Club of the Year category. A fantastic achievement for everyone involved, it makes me feel really proud of the club to have our efforts recognised with an award.
Are you a member of a sports club, or ever thought about joining one?