Endurance sport is very simple. All you need is some enthusiasm and the basic kit to get you started. However, in today's age of ridiculously expensive apparel, training tech and social media, sports can appear intimidating and even off-limits to some. To many, sport isn't just something fun to do when they have time off work - it's a lifestyle, an aesthetic, a status symbol. From unwritten clothing codes in cycling to constant PB d*** measuring in running, there are plenty of unnecessary barriers in the way for newcomers. We're officially blowing the whistle on all the nonsense. To anyone who wants to give endurance sports a go but hasn't quite worked up the courage - join us!
Don't get us wrong, you will need a little bit of kit. Cyclists will need a bike and a helmet, runners will need shoes (unless you're one of those barefoot runners). Triathletes need all of the above plus swimming goggles and the trisuit. But beyond the bare basics, you don't need the fancy stuff to get started.
And yet, there are those who wouldn't dream of showing up to the group ride or the club session without 'looking the part'. Whether that means wearing skin tight aero bibs with matching tall socks for laps of A6187 or Richmond Park or the latest Nike ZoomFlyDragonBoostStreak for laps of Battersea Park or The Monsal Trail, it's an imagined barrier. Sure, there are those who might chuckle when you rock up for the group ride in ankle socks or when they hear your 80s trackies flapping in the wind on the run. But you know what? There are plenty of groups out there who would welcome you no matter what kit you have and can afford. There's nothing wrong with looking good while training, but it shouldn't be a prerequisite for getting out the door.
There's too much stress and insecurity out there these days. Sports should be a way to escape from all of that. Runners tend to identify themselves by their PBs. It is something they are extremely proud of and when they run a new one, they wear it on their chest like a badge. And rightly so! But that pride can easily turn sour and become a way to establish a pecking order in a group. With hierarchy comes challenge and trash talk. There's nothing wrong with this per se, but for newcomers who are unsure of themselves and already feel nervous about joining a group, this can be extremely off-putting. Gatekeeping isn't cool!
This is not just a problem for runners, by the way. Cyclists and triathletes can be equally obsessive with numbers, sometimes to a fault. The truth is, you don't need to have achieved anything or be 'fast enough' to get started. Everyone has to start somewhere and they're not going to do it if they're constantly worried about being 'the slow one'. We're here to tell you that it doesn't matter what pace you run or ride. As long as you enjoy doing it, there is a place in the sport for you.
Finally, you don't have to be a dedicated, semi-professional (or fully professional) athlete to be allowed in. For some, their training is what drives them. It is what gets them out of bed in the morning, what they think about when they drift off at night and where they find a huge sense of accomplishment. And that's great, but it's not for everyone. Some want to train just to get fit, others just to prepare for a one-off challenge. For some, it's just a fun way to hang out with friends or to spice up the weekend dog walks. Nobody has to justify why they train, it's entirely up to them.
We believe the true beauty of sport lies in its community founded in diversity, colour and individuality. Everyone joins for different reasons and has their own experience. At KOTWF, we dream of doing cool stuff with cool people in cool places. If you're keen to get started but don't know how or where, why not tag along with one of our sessions? We have a whole range of coaches and classes spread across London and Bakewell which cater to all abilities. Get in touch if you want to do cool stuff with cool people in cool places too.
Wednesday EZ 5k run - 6pm
Saturday Ride Out - 9am
Sunday Trail Run - 9am
Monday Run Club - 7pm