One of the things I love about the triathlon community is, well, just that — its a community. For a sport that’s essentially solo in nature, triathletes build a camaraderie that rivals even the best team sports. It’s a nice mix of individual performance and group encouragement that makes it such a special sport. Its not all sports that literally put the pros on the same start line at the same time as the rest of the field… sharing the same transition area… racing the same course.
That’s one of the many reasons I love participating in triathlon. And more importantly, the main reason I am involved in the Guelph Triathlon Club. I have enough experience to be able to train independently… in fact, I do for 80% of my workouts. But I enjoy the sense of belonging that comes with being part of the group. And I’m always on the lookout for a new idea, tip or workout that I can incorporate into my own training to better my own performance. Without an actual coach, the collective experience of the group becomes that much more important to keep my ability to progress alive — so that I don;t fall into habits and let my training become stale.
I originally joined the club simply to learn how to swim. Having competed in duathlons for years, and making the decision to switch to triathlon I knew I would need help in going from “I won’t drown” to “oh, that’s how to do it”… in my swimming. I researched joining the local master’s swim program vs the triathlon club — and in the end I decided to tri club was a better choice for two reasons: first, they focused on triathlon training… meaning a dedicated focus on front crawl and training drills associated with getting faster over LONG distances; second, cause once the water warmed up sufficiently the swim training included open water – swimming in Guelph Lake, which is a very different experience than going back forth in a pool for endless laps.
After joining the club, I got exactly what I’d hoped for. Group workouts in the pool, and eventually open water, with encouragement from other athletes to improve my swim stroke… I found a “swim coach” who helped me to improve dramatically over the course of only a few “lessons” in the first half season. And I continue to attend the GTC swims religiously… well, unless something forces me to miss one.
And since the second season with the club, I’ve been hosting the indoor bike spin workouts at my place. Which is fantastically convenient for me… and got me involved in building workouts for the club members — as I have helped to “coach” those group workouts for the last couple years as well…
So, it seemed like a natural next step to get “certified” as a coach under the Triathlon Canada program this year. In order to have a sanctioned workout under Triathlon Ontario / Canada regulations, a club must have a certified coach present. So getting certified would help the club – and would lend me some personal gratification as well….
And so, last night as I sat the Albion Pub, meeting with the other club exec to discuss our outdoor training programming, it seemed natural to continue to volunteer to help the club manage its programming. A little more difficult for me once the switch happens to outdoor workouts, as they typically start earlier in the afternoon / evening than I can manage with my commute. The Monday night swims seemed to be my sweet spot! Coaching them out at Guelph Lake, kids likely in tow… I’ll also be assisting in organizing swims for Saturday mornings… these for me to generally participate in… as most Monday’s I won’t be able to swim and I want to make sure I get a reasonable amount of time in the open water this year.
For the time being, I’ll continue to swim with the club on Wednesday nights… and wait patiently for the outdoor season to begin. Another 5 weeks or so…