Are you aiming to get fit in 2017 or hoping to get a little bit slimmer? Would you like to improve your physical fitness, or are you looking for a new challenge?
If you answered ‘yes’ to any of the above, then Longford Triathlon Club could be the place for you.
Founded in 2010, the club was created to promote triathlons in Longford town and county. The club caters for people of all ages and abilities; whether your personal goal is to race and compete in endurance events, to complete your first triathlon or simply just to keep fit and meet new people.
Explaining the training undertaken by the triathlon club members, committee member Kathleen O’Brien pointed out that the event focuses on three disciplines; swimming, cycling and running.
“The first event of any triathlon is the swim.
“During the winter months, the club offers pool training sessions twice weekly in the Mall,” Kathleen revealed. “Two coaches work with swimmers to prepare them for open water swims in the summer. One coach focuses on the beginner triathletes - helping to improve their confidence and techniques - while the other works with the more advanced swimmers, aiding them in improving their swim times.”
During the summer, according to Kathleen, the club relocates to the scenic banks of the Shannon at Tarmonbarry, where members swim together in a large group to acclimatise to the open water.
Of course, member safety is paramount, and once the open water swims begin, several club members provide kayak cover for the group during training.
“Throughout the year, members have a chance to test their swimming ability by participating in fun, sociable events, such as the club’s Super Sprint Triathlon - which is ideal for beginners as it involves a pool swim,” Kathleen continued.
“There’s also the Midland Series Aquathons or Longford Triathlon Club’s ‘Tarmonator’ Triathlon event.
“Beginners also have the option of doing a ‘Try-a-Tri’, which is a shorter triathlon course.”
Moving on to the second triathlon event, Kathleen outlined the training schedule for cycling enthusiasts.
“Turbo training sessions are held in the GAA Complex in Newtownforbes on Wednesday evenings at 7pm during the winter months.
“This gets members bike-fit, and the benefits are obvious when we hit the open roads.
“Club cycles also take place every Saturday,” Kathleen added, “leaving Halford’s at 9am.
“During the summer months we have an additional cycle training session on Wednesday evenings, leaving the Mall at 6:30pm. All levels are catered for.”
Running is the final event in the triathlon and whether you’re just starting out as a newcomer, returning after a break, or already a competent runner, Longford Triathlon Club has an appropriate training regime for all.
The right clothing is very important for runners, Kathleen confided, starting from the tips of your toes right up to your head.
A good supply of neatly-fitting running socks and runners that suit your foot type are crucial to get you going.
Lined shorts, with zipper pockets for your valuables, are important, as are leggings and under armour to keep warm in cold weather.
Runners should also make sure to have a good supply of t-shirts or running tops and a jacket in a breathable fabric that’s easily washable.
Baseball caps can be handy when you’re braving the elements and headwear is important to consider in cold weather, as up to 12% of body heat escapes through the head.
Eye wear should also be considered, while the more serious runners may want to invest in a number belt for competitions - which can often double up as a carrier for gels or drinks.
Watches or smartphones with timers, meanwhile, will help you time your run and map your improvements.
“You need visibility all year round, irrespective of the time of the day,” Kathleen emphasised. “It is necessary to make it as easy as possible for drivers to see you.”
Serious competitors should also remember to bring a water bottle, sports nutrition drink, gels and bars for training and competitions.
With triathlons ever-increasing in popularity, the club are also keen to develop their junior division.
“One of the club’s major goals for this year,” Kathleen outlined, “is to engage with the youth of the county and make them aware of the craic and fun that is to be had training, racing and representing Longford Triathlon Club.
“We aim to nurture those young people who are just learning how to swim, cycle and run and bring out those undiscovered talents.”
The club has already made waves in terms of enticing junior members, running hugely successful ‘Kidathons’ in conjunction with the ‘Tarmonator’ Triathlon, as well as Junior Open Water Swimming events.
“We are now looking to get more young people involved in regular club training sessions as we have some top class coaches working with us,” Kathleen continued. “Triathlon has become very popular amongst youngsters and some of the best athletes in the country are only at Leaving Cert stage.
“Longford Tri Club has several of these young, talented athletes among its members. Most notably, Ciaran Madden won the Junior age group in the National Series in 2015.”
While hard work and training are part and parcel of joining the club, it’s also a very social group, with a very active social committee!
“Whether it’s celebratory drinks after a club event, our annual Awards Night, nights or weekends away, our annual BBQ or even trips abroad… we sure know how to enjoy ourselves,” Kathleen laughed. “We recently had our Awards Night in Longford Rugby Club, where we celebrated members’ achievements into the early hours!
“At present,” she added, “we are busy planning our annual weekend away, as well as a trip abroad in July, where many of our members will compete in various Triathlon events.
“So if you want to meet new people and extend your social circle while being active, we’re the club for you!”
Club memberships for the 2017 season is now open, and is administered through the Triathlon Ireland website at www.triathlonireland.com.
There are adult, student and junior membership options and if you are joining as a new member or renewing your membership, please remember to select Longford TC from the drop down menu, so the club will receive an official notification.
As an alternative, Triathlon Ireland also allow you to purchase a one-day racing licence ahead of each event. It is a requirement for club insurance that people who train with the club and take part in their events are official members.
For more information, or if you would like to participate in training sessions as a guest, contact Longford Triathlon Club PRO Niall Gannon on 086 8507730. You can also keep up to date with the club’s events by visiting their website at www.longfordtri.ie or search for Longford Triathlon Club on Facebook.