One of the most important aspects in my fitness journey has been the support network around me. I’m grateful to be involved in a community of like-minded people who I can rely on for advice, motivation and encouragement. It’s well documented that a strong support network can help sustain fitness goals and I’ve certainly found that to be true.
I also think it’s important to give back and offer support to others. I’ve learned so much about triathlon that I want to give back and offer what I can to newcomers. Here are some of the ways that I’ve been able to support others in their fitness journey:
Become a buddy or mentor
One of the things I love about Havering Tri is our buddy and mentor systems. New members are assigned a buddy for their first three months to help them settle into the club, ask questions and have a friendly face at training sessions. Members who are training for their first triathlon or stepping up to a longer distance are partnered up with a mentor. Mentors are the more experienced members of the club who are able to share their advice on race logistics, training, nutrition, kit etc.
I’ve been a buddy to around 10 people and mentored 2/3 over the past few years. It’s always such a rewarding experience to share my love of the sport with newcomers and seeing how they progress with their own training and racing.
Become a ride or run leader
Earlier this year, I took my British Cycling Level 1 Ride Leadership Award. This qualifies me to deliver guided group bike rides for adults of all levels of ability and experience. My role as a ride leader involves planning a route, communicating effectively with the group, managing potential risks and ensuring that participants have a safe and enjoyable ride.
I’ve been putting this into practice with regular Havering Tri club rides and I’m planning to start some beginners and ladies only rides later this summer. Getting more people out on their bikes is a passion of mine and I love to see new faces at our club rides.
If cycling isn’t your thing, England Athletics offer an equivalent Leadership in Running Fitness
Start a blog
Recently I’ve noticed a lot of criticism and negative views of bloggers, such as we are just in it for the cash and freebies. I have been fortunate enough to be involved with some opportunities through this blog, but ultimately I started it as a place to share my experiences and hopefully inspire others. I aim for Paddle Pedal Pace to be a resource for those who are new to triathlon and need guidance on preparing for their first race.
I share a message that triathlon is for everyone, regardless of size, age or sporting ability. I’d never share anything which I don’t believe is relevant or interesting to my readers. Hearing from readers who have been inspired by my writing makes it all worthwhile, so please do get in touch! I also love to read other blogs, particularly those who share an honest and balanced view of health and fitness.
Volunteer to marshall at a race
Anyone who has ever taken part in a race knows how essential marshalls are. There are so many different roles which go into making the day a success- from setting up the venue, to directing the athletes and handing out water. Volunteering as a marshall is a great way to give something back to the sport you love. It’s also a fun way to get involved with race day without actually having to swim, bike and run yourself.
I’ve volunteered at several events and I’m always keen to get involved with more. I particularly enjoy handing out medals and seeing the elation on people’s faces as they cross the finish line. If you are keen to volunteer, then your local parkrun is a great place to start.
How do you support others in their fitness journey?