NYC Tri Beginner Program FAQs

When and where is the Beginner Program Info Session?
A Meet the Team info session is hosted the week the program begins at Finish Line PT (119 W 23rd Street, 3rd Floor).  The session is intended for athletes who are already enrolled in the program. However, there will be an opportunity to sign up that evening (space permitting) if you are not yet signed up and wish to enroll in the program.

What can I expect at the beginner program info session?
This will be a chance to meet the team, meet the coaches, pick up your gear and learn important details about what to expect  throughout the program.

What is the beginner program group training schedule?
The NYC Tri Beginner Program includes 3 group workouts per week for 12 weeks:

  • Coached Monday Night Bike Ride (or brick), Meet at 6:45pm on the SW corner of Central Park at Columbus Circle / Ride starts at 7pm
  • Coached Tuesday Night Core + 4 Workout, Meet at 6:15pm on the SW corner of Central Park at Columbus Circle / Workout starts at 6:30pm (typically once a month we exchange workout this for a clinic, yoga session, or welcome a guest coach to host a special event)
  • Coached Thursday Night Run, Meet at 6:15pm on the SW corner of Central Park at Columbus Circle / Run starts at 6:30pm

Bag drop is available at the NY Running Co. by Jackrabbit (2nd Floor) of the Time Warner Center at Columbus Circle.  There are changing rooms, bathrooms and lockers available. BYO lock if you want to secure your belongings. Wear comfortable workout attire. Pace groups will be formed. All abilities are welcome. We try to keep workouts on rain or shine but in the event of a cancellation you will receive an email by 5:00pm on workout days.  Workouts that fall on holidays (including Memorial Day and 4th of July) will be posted and not scheduled group workouts. 

What other events / dates are schedule in the program?

  • Team shopping night and “intro to triathlon” talk with Empire Co-Founder Alison Kreideweis
  • Meet the team info session
  • Team shopping night @ Jackrabbit Sports (Columbus Circle)
  • Guest speaker – Nutritionist Lauren Antonucci
  • Team shopping night @ GoGoGone Bike Shop
  • Monthly Team Socials
  • Intro Ride over the GWB / brick workout / transition clinic @ 72nd & Riverside Drive
  • Wyckoff Triathlon – team tune up race & post-race BBQ
  • NYC Tri Course Orientation
  • NYC Tri “Chalk the Course” and Q&A with coaches
  • Post race party

*Program participants receive additional details through Training Peaks. 

Are Open Water Swim Clinics included in the program?
Beginner Program athletes may attend 1 open water swim clinic for FREE. A discount code will be provided upon joining the program.  If you’d like to attend additional open water swim clinics, you may sign up for half price.

Are the race entry fees included in the cost of the program?
No, however program participants have guaranteed entry into the NYC Triathlon.  If you plan on participating in the team tune-up race (the Wyckoff Triathlon), participants receive a coupon code for $15 off.

I’m an experienced (runner/cyclist/swimmer) but I’ve never done a tri before.  Am I going to be held back?
No.  Every athlete in this program has different strengths and weaknesses.  Some are relatively new to all sports, while others have run a half or full marathon, biked over 50 miles, or swam recreationally or competitively at some point in their life!  You might be a GREAT runner, but have no experience swimming or biking.  At all of our workouts, pace groups are formed and we offer modifications to accommodate athletes of different ability levels.  The beginner program and tri club meet at the same time and place on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday nights.  We pair athletes with the right group for each individual workout to ensure they’re not held back or pushed too hard.

How fit do I need to be to enter the program?
The program builds up to an Olympic distance triathlon, so we recommend athletes be able to run (or run/walk) 3 miles, bike 10 miles and swim 800m by the start of the program.

What if I need more support or training than the program offers?
Empire Tri Club offers an extra support package which includes a consultation and 3 personal training sessions. We also offer personal training sessions in packages of 1, 5, 10 or 20 if you’d like additional 1-on-1 sessions with a coach in any discipline.  From Memorial Day through Labor Day, our coaches are available for private and small group open water swim lessons at Coney Island.  If the training plan is not a good fit for you and you’d like a plan fully customized to you, we offer coaching packages as well.  Program participants can sign up for additional open water swim clinics and small group instructional swim programs at a discounted rate.

What equipment will I need to do this program?
We know that many of you are NEW to triathlon, and don’t have most of the gear.  That’s why we want to ensure you that you can do this program on minimal equipment, and we will offer discounts & shopping nights for you to save as much as possible as you stock up on gear. Here is a list of the basic equipment that you will need for the program:

•  Bike
•  Helmet
•  Flat repair kit & lights for your bike
•  Hydration (Can bring water bottles in cages mounted to your bike, a Camelbak, etc.)
(for safety reasons, a helmet and lights are required for attending our group rides)
•  Bike Pump (pump your tires before EVERY ride!)
•  Comfortable bike & run apparel
•  Running Shoes
•  Swim Goggles
•  Swim Cap (optional but required at some pools and recommended especially if you have long hair)
•  Swimsuit (for training)

Optional gear for race day:
•  Wetsuit
•  Tri Suit (one or 2 piece – optional for race day)
•  Race Number Belt
•  Clip in bike shoes (optional – sneakers are ok for this program!)

A full race day checklist can be found here.  We are listing the most basic equipment needed to do a tri above.  Visit the Empire Tri Club website for all of our team apparel.  We don’t sell online (it’s only a look book), but you can stock up on gear at any of our team uniform events.

I’m already signed up for a different triathlon.  Can I do that race instead?
Yes, no problem.  If your race is more than a few weeks apart from our final team event, you may need to make slight modifications to the plan to ensure you’re properly trained & recovered for race day.

I want to join the program but I prefer to race a Sprint instead of the Olympic. Will this program be too advanced for me?
No, you will be just fine!  The lessons and workouts are all basic and instructional to teach you the fundamentals you need to know to prepare for your first triathlon.  Consult one of the coaches about how to best modify the training plan and cut back some of the mileage if you are training for a shorter race. 

I have a conflict and can’t do any of the team races.  Can I still do the program?
Yes, no problem.  We encourage athletes to do the team races if you can, but understand that not every athlete will be able to make it.

What happens after the program ends?  Is there an option to continue training with the club?
Yes.  We will provide athletes with a special membership offer if you wish to continue training with Empire Tri Club.  Each year 60-80% of the athletes in our program continue training with Empire for the remainder of the season!

Do you offer make up sessions for missed classes?
No.  We understand that everyone leads busy lives, and hope you can make it to as many sessions as possible!  We do our best to keep workouts on rain or shine, but may need to cancel select sessions due to inclimate weather or unforeseen circumstances.  On those days, we will do our best to provide athletes with an alternative workout.  In the event that an open water swim session gets cancelled, we will do our best to reschedule those events.

Can you recommend a pool?
Many gyms in NYC have pools including New York Health & Racquet Club, Equinox, New York Athletic Club, New York Sports Club, West End Fitness, Asphalt Green and Chelsea Piers.  Some additional resources include:

NYC Park and Rec Centers
Riverbank State Park
Lasker Pool in Central Park
Free Outdoor Pools in NYC
Coney Island Beach for open water swimming

I don’t have a bike yet.  What kind of bike do you recommend I get?
We recommend getting an entry level road bike.  You can also do this program on a hybrid, mountain or tri bike.  However, tri bikes are typically for more advanced cyclists and we don’t expect many athletes in this program to have one (or get one) if you’re new to cycling.  A mountain bike or hybrid will do just fine, but are generally heavier and a little more challenging to maneuver, so we find that a road bike is best!  We DON’T recommend using a fold up bike, fixed gear, single speed, beach cruiser, Citibike, or “friends bike” that doesn’t fit you properly. Please visit our Member Discount page for a list of partner shops that offer discounts. Additionally, we have a number of team shopping nights planned throughout the course of the program.

I have never clipped in to a bike before.  Do I need to for this program?
No.  Sneakers and flat pedals are ok for this program!  However, if you’re looking to get into cycling more seriously, we strongly recommend you consider getting shoes and pedals that allow you to clip in.  You will find that they make you a much stronger and more efficient rider!  If you’ve never used clips before, don’t feel pressure to use them on day 1.  Feel free to attend the first (few weeks) of workouts using what’s comfortable to you, and switch when you feel ready.

Can I do my bike training by taking spin classes or on my own indoor trainer?
Yes!  Especially in the winter and early spring, many athletes choose to train on an indoor trainer and follow the posted workouts in Training Peaks.  You may also use apps like Rouvy, Trainer Road, Wahoo, or Peleton to follow coached bike sessions.

You may also take indoor cycling classes at facilities such as Cyclebar, Lifetime, Equinox, Ride Brooklyn, Asphalt Green and Chelsea Piers (some of these facilities require you to bring your own bike.  Others are on stationary indoor bikes). Find out if you need to BYO shoes or if they provide them.  And try to attend classes that most simulate outdoor cycling.  While taking a class, ask yourself “is this something I would do on a bike outdoors”.  There is a wide range of classes and some are more “dance party” while others are more “cycling” focused!

How do I communicate with the coaches and other athletes in the program?
All program participants are added to our Google Group communication forum and GroupSpot team communication app.  We use these forums to communicate with athletes in the program, share helpful articles, and send updates about workout changes or cancellations.  We encourage you to use these groups to communicate with each other, sell/swap gear, and plan meet ups outside of our group workouts, and coordinate house shares and carpooling for the team race if need be!

What is Training Peaks?
At the start of the program, all athletes are connected to our training plan by way of a program called Training Peaks.  Training Peaks allows you to view workouts (that we do as a group and on your own), as well as track your progress.  Athletes receive electronic delivery of their workouts daily. Additionally, you can view your workout calendar by logging into the Training Peaks website or downloading the free app on your phone.  If you want to utilize advanced features, you may choose to upgrade your account to Premium (although it is not required for this program).

Hopefully this answers all of your questions you have, but if we missed anything, please email us at