Fundraisers, online sessions and virtual club rides have become the new normal for club members across the country, including those at Bolton Triathlon Club.
Chairman of Bolton Triathlon Club, Stuart Carter, said: “I remember the week lockdown happened, there was a lot of uncertainty, but we knew that everything had to stop. I think people understood that we’ve all got to work together.”
The lockdown has impacted clubs across the country in various different ways, but Carter insisted that the general approach to training and the motivation of club members has remained largely unchanged.
“Initially people thought that they’d keep on training for events later in the year and that acted as motivation,” Carter said.
“Now that’s changed, it’s been hard for some of us, however, a lot of our members come to the club simply because they enjoy swimming, cycling and running and they just want to keep on doing it in some way. In that sense, it hasn’t actually had a massive impact on the ethos of the club.”
Fundraising and supporting the local community have also been a focus for the club, with Carter saying: “We did a collection for Bolton's Urban Outreach food bank and dropped off what members gave, donated £100 from club funds and another £152 in individual donations.”
With many members now being on different work schedules or having childcare responsibilities, training has had to become much more flexible to be able to cater for everyone.
Carter commented: “I would say that the biggest impact is on our juniors. The alternate training sessions that we’re putting on may not always cater for them. Luckily there’s a wealth of material online that we use to keep them both fit and entertained.”
The club have delivered weekly training sessions on Zoom, including half an hour of turbo training and half an hour of a bodyweight circuit, which has been running for six consecutive weeks. They also have a Wednesday night turbo session that is now in its fourth week.
The absence of events has allowed members to focus on parts of their training often neglected in event season such as strength and conditioning.
“We also do a club Zwift ride on Sunday mornings,” Carter said. “People without Zwift can join in using Zoom.”
Reflecting on any possible silver lining to lockdown training, Carter said: “triathletes can sometimes try and get as many miles in as they possibly can, and in doing that risk injury, so this slower approach to training could be beneficial in the long run.”
The club plans to continue the Zoom sessions for turbo training and strength and conditioning after lockdown, allowing the sessions to become as accessible as possible.