Triathlon has often been viewed as the sport for the super fit, rather than those striving to get some exercise into their lives. But Welsh Triathlon are involved in a scheme to give complete novices a chance to “try Tri” as Graham Thomas reports.
Many people vow to be part of a Dry January this month, but how about a Tri January?
Triathlon Wales is involved in a UK-wide campaign to give people a gentle introduction to the sport during a month when some sort of self-appraisal – perhaps after too many mince pies – has become a traditional post-festive routine.
You know how it is. January 2 arrived with a bump and you were probably feeling a little unhealthier, a bit less fit, or maybe even still slightly hungover.
You may have tried gym memberships in the past as part of a New Year, new me strategy, but perhaps it didn’t last. You could have lacked structure, motivation, company – or all three.
If so, the sport of triathlon could provide a solution with Tri January – part of its wider “Go Tri” strategy which aims to offer beginner level access to the benefits of a multi-sport approach.
If the idea of an outdoor swim, a bike ride and long run sounds a bit unappealing in our bleak mid-winter, then fear not. You can choose to take part in Tri January and stay warm indoors.
You don’t even need to worry about the long distance element. As a pure entry level sampler for newbies, the flexible programme means you can do a few minutes in a pool or on a rowing machine, spin bike, and treadmill.
You don’t even have to do all three one after the other, but can space out your events at a time that suits you.
#YearOfOutdoors you say
Get outdoors in 2020 and discover Multi-sport
— Welsh Triathlon (@WelshTriathlon) January 3, 2020
Steph Makuvise, participation officer at Welsh Triathlon, says: “Tri January is part of the wider campaign of Go Tri. It’s aimed at getting more people from the wider community involved in the sport.
“It’s a fun introduction to the sport – shorter distances, more accessibility – an entry level offer, if you like, the Park Run of Triathlon.
“People may think, it’s freezing, why would you want to do triathlon? But Go Tri is quite adaptable. It doesn’t have to follow the swim, bike, run, routine of traditional triathlon.
“People can do indoor triathlons using gym equipment. So, it might be row a certain distance, run a distance, and bike a distance. It’s not about how you do against others, it’s about how you do as an individual and improve yourself.”
Tri January offers three elements, There is the basic gym introduction where someone can try different distances and log their times online, check on their progress through the month, and compare their times to others if they want a competitive element.
There are also beginner sessions for existing triathlon clubs to attract new members.
And if a new triathlete really gets the bug, then some clubs are offering events for new triathletes to dip their toes into the joys of competition.
But mostly, it’s about having fun and gaining the benefits of regular exercise.
As befits one of the UK’s fastest growing sports, Go Tri in Wales has gone from a handful events in 2017 to 35 this year and January 2020 will be the second year of Tri January.
Around 1,500 people in Wales are currently registered with profiles on the Go Tri programme which carries an impressive 53 per cent level of female participation.
Have you signed up to Tri January yet? Throughout the month, we are challenging you to see how many activities from the Bingo poster you can complete by the end of the month.
— GO TRI (@yourgotri) December 23, 2019
The triathlon club scene in Wales has also grown rapidly in the Brownlee brothers era and the world class Welsh success of triathletes such as Non Stanford, Helen Jenkins and Liam Lloyd.
There are currently 90 registered triathlon clubs in Wales and Gareth Evans, national events officer for Welsh Triathlon, says: “Triathlon is an individual sport, but so much benefit comes from being a member of a club. It provides coaching support, social support, as well as the competitive element from each club.
“We are trying to look at Wales as a broader sporting nation and trying to emulate the club rivalries in other sports and bring that into triathlon.
“Clubs are growing rapidly. Caerphilly Tri-ers triathlon club won a category competition at Ironman Wales last year and have grown from 20 members to over 120 in 12 months.”
For those thinking of taking the plunge for the first time in January, though, you won’t even need a wet suit.
As Steph Makuvise says: “You don’t need fancy bikes and wet suits and special gear for Go Tri. You could turn up with a BMX, a pair of Converse, and a T-shirt and crack on and get involved. It is that accessible.”
For details about Go Tri and Tri January, go to the Go Tri website, run by British Triathlon. https://www.gotri.org/