When lockdown hit, Thames Turbo Triathlon Club (TTTC) took the opportunity to evaluate the way they operate so that they could return in person refreshed and raring to go with their members.
Chair of TTTC, Aileen Robinson, commented: “Like most clubs going into lockdown, we saw it as a threat and were aware of the vulnerabilities that could come through all the unknowns.
“We also viewed it as an opportunity, however, because we were afforded time to analyse what we do and whether it’s fit for purpose looking ahead to when we could start in-person training again, although, at the time, we didn’t know when that would be or what it would look like.”
Similar to most clubs, TTTC responded immediately to the lockdown and suspension of activity by turning to the world on virtual training and online sessions, with strength and conditioning classes and run sets for people to complete on their own, as well as group turbo sessions on Zwift.
These training sessions were supplemented with more easy-going challenges to help maintain that sense of community, with members tasked to put on as many t-shirts in a minute amongst other things.
“With the increased connection of members online and through social media, there was an increased cohesiveness and togetherness within the club,” Robinson added.
“Covid really brought everyone together, and we were honest with our members and asked them to stay with us through it to ensure we had a club to come back to when the suspension was lifted.
“As a committee we had people furloughed and with job flexibility, giving us time to take stock of what’s happened through lockdown and what we offered before and are now carrying on with a blend of online and in-person sessions because it works for so many people to carry on online.”
As well as assessing their sessions, the committee have used the opportunity to look at some of the processes around how they run the club to help them come back stronger.
“We’ve used the time to look at the more arduous things of running a club,” said Robinson. “With needing to include Covid into our risk assessment and action plan, we’ve taken the chance to consider our governance and policies and documents and make improvements to them.
“We’re working towards out TriMark Silver Award, so this has really given us a foothold on that ladder as well as updating things like our club rules as we look to almost hit reset emerging from the stricter lockdown period.”
Having assessed the opportunities that were on offer to the way they run the club, TTTC have now started in-person training sessions again across all three disciplines of triathlon whilst maintaining online sessions.
“Rather than wait for the time to pass until we’d be back together again, we put the time to good effect,” Robinson concluded.
“Each barrier we face we try and work out a safe and sensible solution, including operating a loan system of our club turbo trainers to allow more people to join in with our online sessions, so not taking for granted that online is necessarily more accessible than in-person.
“There’s been a mix of responses to coming back together for a variety of reasons and, recognising that, we’ve worked with our facility providers to get back safely for those who want to and communicated what we’re doing for our members.
“We let them know what we’re doing and send updates to tell them where we make changes to help them feel confident in coming along. Everything is under constant review because we’re learning with each session.”
British Triathlon have created guidance and support for clubs to help them to start face-to-face activities and coaching sessions.
You can view this guidance via the button below and get in touch with Jon Train, Triathlon England Regional Manager for London at firstname.lastname@example.org.