Reading-based Thames Valley Triathletes are an active club with around 180 members, with their winter training programme helping them to keep their members active and engaged in swim, bike, run.
“The over-riding ethos of our club is inclusivity,” said Liz Drummond, Ladies Captain and Ride Leader at the club. “We have a huge amount of different abilities and what people race in the club, so we have everything from a lady who comes on a mountain bike every week to do winter cycling with the bottom group, all the way up to people who have raced GB Age-Group and two people going to Kona. We’ve got a real range.
“We’re quite a social club and people want different things from their training. The group rides, the ethos of them is building that base fitness throughout winter and keeping people out and out on the roads. Each of the ride leaders will do a range of rides throughout the winter, some groups stop for coffee and cake and some don’t, it really depends on what the group want.
“We’ve had a huge number of people join through Covid, and we’re still getting people joining now. We offer the chance to try before they join, so they can come along to a club session for free, give it a go and meet us. Making that first step to come along to a training session we recognise is hard, so offering them a free taster session works really well.”
The club are able to maintain their regular swimming and running sessions all year round, whilst bike sessions make the most of virtual opportunities to keep members pedalling together.
“We offer two swims a week to our members on a Monday and Friday evening and we also run track running programmes pretty much throughout the year on a Wednesday,” Drummond added.
“Cycling-wise, we run Tuesday cycling throughout the year. In the summer that’s out on the roads with something we call power hour where members cycling in groups are trying to complete a course in less than an hour. In the winter we turn that virtual and we run a Tuesday night cycling programme on Zwift online.
“That’s either the formal Zwift racing league when that’s running or we turn our power hour virtual. We organise a virtual course and try and complete that in less than an hour in groups.”
By maintaining an active programme of swim, bike, run sessions throughout the colder, darker winter months, the club are able to maintain engagement of their members.
“We are pretty consistent throughout the year,” Drummond commented. “Our swimming is popular all year round and regularly booked full, and similarly the cycling where we have five groups that go out every week.
“They’re grouped by ability, pace and how long they’re out for. Equally, track [running] through the winter is popular. It’s our base build. The programme we run through the winter is all about building base fitness for the racing season.”