How do I join?
If you'd like to join, it's simple: email anyone on the exec board and let them know. You can join any quarter at any time, and dues will vary depending on when you join. In the meantime, feel free to come to any or all of our practices to get a feel for what the triathlon club is all about. You'll be able talk to current members, learn more about the club, and clarify any questions you may have!
I can't swim... I can't bike... or I can't run... Can I do triathlon?
Can't is a short lived word. We have many people that come from only running backgrounds or only swimming backgrounds. It all just takes time. We have coaches and older members that will be more than happy to help you with form and things to think about while you train. As time progresses you will get better and will eventually be decent in the events you're not good at right now. Luckily most of out longer races are toward the end of the school year or in the summer so you will have a plenty of time to get comfortable before you begin competing in longer distances.
I am a beginner, will I fit in?
We love people that come in to the club with passion and drive. If that means they also come with no skill that is not a problem. We have a well versed coaching staff and older members that can help you find your bearings and support you on your way to achieving your goals.
What are the race lengths?
There are four standard race lengths for triathlons:
Sprint: 750m swim, 20km bike, 5km run
Olympic: 1500m swim, 40km bike, 10km run
Half-Ironman: 1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike, 13.1 mile run
Ironman: 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike, 26.2 mile run
What will the coaches do for me?
Our coaches are here to help you achieve your goals in triathlon. They have a wealth of knowledge to help make you faster, stronger and above all, more efficient. They are there to field questions you may have about the sport, create training plans for you to use and critique your form to make you more efficient. Ideally, we will always have one all around coach as well as a swimming specific coach due to the highly technical nature of swimming.
What do the sponsors do for the team?
Besides being able to say that you're sponsored, our sponsors give us awesome discounts on a wide variety of gear, equipment, nutrition supplements and much more!
How much does it cost to join the club?
The only mandatory expense for the club is club dues, which are paid once per year. The club dues are currently $175 per year. This includes access to the coaches, the training plans, social events, clinics, reimbursements for travel expenses, free apparel, and much more! Trust us, we stretch this money as far as possible.
Can I still join even if the season is already under way?
Yes! You are always welcome to join! Triathlon is essentially a year-round sport, so there's no need to be worried about joining 'late.' Contact anyone on exec for more information about joining; they'll be able to bring you up to speed in no time!
This is a club... does that mean we don't race?
We do a lot of fun races during the year. At the beginning of the school year it is practically the end of the triathlon season so we mainly focus on fun runs and other short distance races. Then, during the winter there are a few indoor triathlons. When it finally starts to get warmer the races start to make their way outside, marking the beginning of the triathlon season. Throughout the main triathlon season, we try to send club members to as many races as possible. In particular, we try to have an especially large contingent go to Collegiate Nationals, put on by USA Triathlon. In the past, this race has been held in both Lubbock, TX as well as Tuscaloosa, AL.
How often do we practice?
We usually have four (4) scheduled days of practice consisting of two (2) swims, one (1) bike and one (1) brick (combination swim-bike or bike-run). That being said, we have people that get together and practice six to seven days a week as well as do other things outside of standard practices. The intent of this club is to have fun as well as to prepare for competition. So, if your idea of fun is not working out six days a week (i.e. if you're a normal human being), then by all means don't! In fact, all scheduled practices are optional. However, we think you'll find that coming to practice is a lot of fun!
How do you train during the winter?
Unfortunately, training year round outdoors is something we must enviously leave to our brethren in the south. For us, a lot of training must be done indoors during the coldest months. As far as swimming goes, this isn't a big change. The majority of your swim workouts will be indoors regardless of the weather, and our pool is fit for the purpose. Biking practices take the form of weekly Vision Quest sessions (ask someone on exec about this) and spin bikes in SPAC. The group spin bike sessions are especially fun because of the pump up music and the ability to talk as you exercise. Finally, most running will be done on treadmills or on the short track above the basketball courts.
Can you give me a list of triathlon related gear?
There is and endless amount of stuff you can buy for triathlon but some of the necessary things are listed below.
Bike (Mountain, Road, Triathlon)
Wetsuit (60 degree water can be pretty cold)
Racebelt (this makes it easier to put your number on during the race)
Elastic shoe laces (for faster transition times)
Am I able to join the club without having a road bike?
Yes, some of our members do not have their own road bike and have competed. Some compete with mountain bikes and others borrow a bike from teammates or rent one by where the race is (and then do not have to worry about transporting it). Not having a bike should in no means deter you from joining the triathlon team.
What is the difference between a mountain, road, and triathlon bike?
Each of these bike are designed for a specific purpose. They work great for their intended purpose but don't always work well in other areas.
Mountain bikes- Mountain bikes generally have big knobby tires which are great for absorbing impacts and getting grip on loose dirt. They generally are in a more upright position which allows you to have more weight on the back of the bike and be able to quickly make turns. Mountain bikes are usually very comfortable but their wide tires have a much higher rolling resistance than a smaller, smooth road tire. The upright position makes you less aerodynamic so if there is a headwind it will be harder to go forward on a mountain bike.
Road bikes- As the name suggests, these bikes are meant to be ridden on the road. They have thin, smooth tires that easily roll across the pavement. Road bikes are generally much lighter and stiffer than mountain bikes, so you will not be dragging around an extra 5 lbs of bike with you wherever you go. The increase in stiffness and the smaller tires does mean you will feel the road a little more but you will be able to go faster as well. Road bikes also come with what are called drop handle bars. This give the rider three positions to ride in which allows you to use different muscle groups when you are climbing, sprinting, or just riding in a group. The different positions change your center of gravity to make handling easier and also change your aerodynamics slightly. In general, a road bike will be more aerodynamic than a mountain bike. For newer road bikes the shifters and brakes are all integrated into the same lever so you always have the brakes and shifter at your fingertips.
Triathlon bikes- Triathlon bikes are designed specifically for triathlon. While they essentially have the same tires as road bikes, the geometry of the bike is slightly different. They put the rider in a more forward position by moving the seat forward. This makes the "aero" position more comfortable and more effective. These bikes also allow the leg to torso angles to be larger which make it easier to breathe while in the aero position (Essentially, you rotate your hips forward slightly when you're on a triathlon bike). When in the aero position there is a lot of weight on the front of the bike. Tri bikes are designed to help keep the bike stable and handling nicely while in this position. A tri bike also has "bull horns" and aerobars instead of drop handle bars (a quick google search will probably help if you don't know what these terms mean). The shifters are normally located on the end of the aerobars. This steering setup makes the bike a little more difficult to ride in a group but is easier and more efficient than a road bike when riding alone. Finally, since triathletes have to run after they bike the aero position allows you to use less of your hamstrings than a normal road bike.
If you plan on riding off road you may opt for the slower mountain bike. If you would like to ride in groups on the road you may like the better handling and lighter road bike. If you want the fastest possible triathlon time and are willing to sacrifice a little bit of handling then you may want a tri specific bike.
I want to buy a bike. What are my options?
The first step is to figure out what size bike you need. If you go into a bike shop they can measure you and recommend a bike size for you. After you know your size it is then a question of the bike's use and your available money. We would like to send everyone to races on ten thousand dollar bikes but that is just not feasible.
If you want a new bike the team has agreements with local bike shops who sponsor us and we get some awesome deals with them. These deals change based on the time of the year so ask the team early on as to when the bikes are the cheapest.
You can also look at bike shops for deals on last year's models. Or, check Craigslist and eBay to get a nice bike that may be used or a little older but still in great shape.
What are the difference between tri shorts and bike shorts?
Both these shorts have chamois in them. However, tri shorts are designed for running as well as biking. This is accomplished by making the chamois thinner and cutting them in a better manner to avoid chafing and having too much extra material. On the other hand, bike shorts are designed for maximum comfort, especially on long bike rides.
Are padded shorts really necessary?
What should I wear in a race?
Ideally, you would wear your race uniform. However, if you do not have one there are a few other options. First, the easiest and fastest method is to just wear a swimsuit for the whole event. Both men and women may wear only swimsuits and it is nice and easy when you get into transitions. If you are too self conscious to wear a swimsuit out of the water you could put normal shorts or bike shorts on in the first transition and a tighter shirt. If you do put bike shorts on after the swim you will want to take them off before the run because the chamois can get pretty uncomfortable as you try to run in them. If you are worried about what you are wearing you can actually change in both transition areas into something suiting of the next event, but this will waste time.
What does a wetsuit do for me?
A wetsuit does two main things for you. First, it acts as a thermal barrier between you and the water, thereby keeping you warmer. Second, it makes you slightly more buoyant which in turn makes you faster. You can generally expect to swim about 10% faster while in a triathlon wetsuit.
Do I need to buy a wetsuit?
Well this depends on the water temperature at the race. If you are in a race where the water temperature is above 84 degrees then you actually cannot wear a wetsuit. If it is between 78.1-83.9 you can wear a wetsuit but are not eligible for prizes at the finish. Below 78 degrees it is recommended that you wear a wetsuit.
In general, almost all of the races that you will compete in will be in water that is 78 degrees or less. Therefore, it is a good idea to get a wetsuit (although not mandatory). If you would really like to hold off on getting one, you can also rent one online or borrow one from a teammate.
Is a triathlon wetsuit the same as a normal wetsuit?
No, a triathlon wetsuit is designed to be more flexible than a normal wetsuit. This allows you to easily swim with your full range of motion. A tri wetsuit also conforms to the regulations that apply to all triathletes.
Should I get a sleeveless or a full wetsuit?
You will be faster in a full suit than you will be in a sleeveless suit due to extra buoyancy. A full suit will also keep you warmer than a sleeveless due to less skin contact with the water. However, a sleeveless is easier to get on and off and also gives you full flexibility in the shoulder region. In reality, it is completely dependent on what you feel more comfortable in. If possible, ask to try on both a sleeveless and a full wetsuit prior to buying one for yourself.
How much money does triathlon cost?
It depends on how you want to do it. Elite athletes can spend over 10,000 just on a bike, but that is totally NOT WHAT YOU NEED TO SPEND. Race entries themselves usually range from $15-$100. A swim suit, bike (rented, borrowed or owned), and a pair of running shoes is all you really need to get going.
How much does it cost to do a race?
One of the benefits of being a part of the triathlon club is that transportation and lodging are usually covered by the club. This means that your only really cost is the race registration fee. Colligate races are capped at $35 for a sprint and $50 for an Olympic distance tri. Other races can vary in price from $50 up to $200+ for a half-ironman or ironman (there's a lot of support, planning, etc. that go into those long races).
How do I sign up for the Listserv?
Join our listserv directly by following the instructions below. Or, send an email to someone on exec asking to be added to the listserv and we'll do it for you!
- Send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org without any subject line.
- Type the following in the message: SUBSCRIBE triathlon YourFirstName YourLastName
Are there any good websites related to triathlons?
Some of the club favorites include the following list: