Tri clubs – what can you expect when you join?
Coach Russ Hall puts BRAT triathletes through their paces
Training > Beginners

UK triathlon clubs – what to expect when you join (2/2)

We look at how some of the UK’s biggest triathlon clubs welcome their new members, and what sort of sessions they provide

We continue our look at what to expect from joining a tri club by detailing three beginner sessions from London Fields’ head coach Tim Smith...

Starter sessions


This is a technique session to get beginners comfortable with breathing out underwater. Breath-holding is a major cause of shortness of breath while swimming and contributes to a less than ideal body position. We dedicate one or more sessions to basic breathing drills, repeated throughout a six-week block.

Triathlete in swim training


200m easy (with rests if needed).


- 5 x ‘sink-downs’ into 100m easy. Repeat.
- 4 x 50m with fins as 25m kick on side into 25m front crawl (emphasis on breathing out under water and breathing into bow wave)
- 4 x 50m with fins as 50m 6-1-6 into 50m front crawl
- 4 x 50m with fins as 50m 6-3-6 into 50m front crawl
- 4 x 50m with pull buoy using ‘bubble bubble breathe’ mantra

Main set 

4–8 x 100m easy with emphasis on breathing skills.


200m easy, choice of stroke.


We use a closed 1km circuit with varying gradients, corners and potentially windy sections that may necessitate a change in position or gear. As skills develop, the session is progressed with cornering at faster speeds, climbing out of the saddle and mounting/dismounting while moving. Distance covered is not important.

Triathlete in bike training



Main set 30-45mins. Bike safety check then introduce athletes to skills: mounting and dismounting, braking, cornering, changing position on the bike and gear changing. Practise over 2-3 laps.




A beginners’ run session explaining the importance of ideal posture from head to toe for both injury prevention and improving performance.

Triathlete in run training




Key technique work with focus on body alignment and correct movement patterns, practised over short distances (strides).

Main set

3-5km. Intervals at a set pace, but focusing on body alignment and movement patterns. Distance covered is not important here. Make sure athletes have fundamental movement skills in place before increasing training load. 


10mins easy jog.

Five UK tri clubs

Here are a handful of clubs from around the UK to give you an idea of the typical benefits and costs of signing up. 

BRAT (Birmingham Running, Athletics and Triathlon Club)

Location: Birmingham
Sessions per week: Up to 20 throughout the city depending on time of year
Member base: Around 900
Club A-race: National Club Relays, Nottingham
Newbie incentives: Free technical T-shirt for every new member and discounts at local stores
Cost: £27 per year

London Fields Triathlon Club

Location: London Fields, Hackney, London
Sessions per week: 8 (4 x swim, 2 x run, 1 x spin, 1 x bike-to-run brick)
Member base: 145, plus places for non-members
Club A-race: Several across different distances that double as club champs
Newbie incentives: Free gift with membership
Cost: £25 per year

Darlington Triathlon Club

Location: County Durham
Sessions per week: 5 members 108 senior, 20 junior
Club A-race: Teesdale Triathlon
Newbie incentives: Members can access quality kit at affordable prices, hire wetsuits and use club turbos
Cost: £22 per year

RGActive Race Team

Location: London and Essex
Sessions per week: 8-15
Members: 150
Club A-race: Ironman 70.3 Staffordshire
Newbie incentives: Club discounts on kit/sessions
Cost: £50 per year

Cardiff Triathletes 

Location: Cardiff
Sessions per week: 3 x swims, 2 x spin classes, 1 x turbo, 1 x run, multiple rides
Member base: 153
Club A-race: Tuska Triathlon, Porthcawl
Newbie incentives: N/A as currently full!
Cost: Social £25 per year. Training £22 per month

(Images: Romilly Lockyer / Jonny Gawler)

For our complete online listings of UK tri clubs head here


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