The Perfect Triathlon Training Center

What would the perfect triathlon training center look like? I’ve been thinking a lot about this lately. Not because I have the $30 million laying around that it would probably take to build the place, but just because it’s fun to think about, plus I like to think of myself as an entrepeneur and I’m interested in whether certain types of businesses would work or not. Allow me to think out loud a bit…

The Pool – What would be the prime difference between any other gym and a triathlon-focused gym? It would have to be the pool. I have a few ideas here. The first and simplest would be to have a normal square pool like any other, except 50-meters long. Well, ideally I’d like a 100-meter pool, as long as we’re wishing for things. The next idea would be to have two pools; one warm like a normal gym pool and one cold for training in a wetsuit. But Grant…or Jameson (am I spelling that right?) down at PowerTri gave me the idea of having a triangular pool. After all, a lot of triathlons have a triangular swim course, and if you had a triangular shaped pool with no lanes then it would be more like the real thing. No pushing off walls, and you’re swimming alongside everyone else with people touching your toes, drafting, getting your fingers jammed by other peep’s feet kicking you in the hand, etc. But it would have to be a big triangle, and then that would take up tons of space, and what do you put in the middle? Well, maybe that’s where the rest of the gym goes.

The Bikes – Of course in a triathlon gym you’d want to have triathlon-specific stationary bikes, as well as high-end trainers people can hook their own bikes into. But even more importantly, you’d want the facility to be located right next to a good biking road that leads onto other roads.

The Run – I hate treadmills, but I guess you’ve got to have them. But again, it would be nice to have the facility next to some good running roads/trails so you can go to the gym, go run outside, come back and shower, and off to work.

The Shop – Any triathlon training facility should have an awesome shop, of course. Take the best bike shop, the best running store, and the best swim store and put them all together in one place.

The Cafe – And you’ve got to have a cafe/restaurant to prepare those dishes that are just right for triathletes along with self-serve options.

The Staff – Ex-pros, professional coaches, etc.

The Location – Well, that’s the thing. Ideally for me it would be outside my door, but what I’d like to see is a business model such that this type of facility could spread across the country. I’m not sure there are more than a few cities that could support such a facility right now, but triathlon popularity is growing and I’m sure more and more cities will have the base necessary to make such facilities more realistically feasible. Whatever the city, of course the facility needs to be located such that it’s convenient to a majority of triathletes in the area, and it would ideally be near major biking/running routes so that you could stop at the facility while you’re doing your run or bike.

Of course there’s so much more we could go into in terms of classes, training, architecture, etc. What would you want to see in it and where would you put it?

  • Ron

    I have been thinking of the same thing. I want to add a bar for post work out socializing and a wall of members results to help motivate. People in my area regularly pay $125 a month for Equinox Fitness club and near that for Breakthru Fitness and CATS (Competitive Athlete Training System). None the less, I am just not sure if they wold support a Tri Training Club.

  • Bob

    As an architect and a triathlete, I have been charged with an interesting challenge. I have been asked to help develop a triathlon training center. I am putting out a call to triathletes to propose to me the things that you think should be in a triathlon training center, or perhaps what has frustrated you in your own gym that could be improved to support you as a triathlete in training.


  • Ron

    Bob, I would love to help. Email me directly at rjohnson at gmail dot com.

  • Lisa

    As long as you’re dreaming, yoga studio for flexibility training (often overlooked in terms of staying injury-free) and massage therapists for sports massage therapy. Nutritionists on staff would be sweet, too. Classrooms?

  • Patrick


    Is there a chance to find out about Bob’s project. I would be very interested in an actualt perfect training center…

    br, Patrick