It might be a new year’s resolution, a way to kick-start your health goals, or maybe you just want to do something for charity, but if you’re looking at doing a run or some other endurance based competition over the year, there’s a significant amount of preparation that you’ll need to do to help you reach your goals. To help, we share 10 tips to help you prepare for your event.
Make it something you love
It’s a lot easier to work towards a goal if you are doing something you love to do. If you’re not a fan of running (though you can grow to love it), it’ll be extremely challenging to build yourself up to run a 5K, let alone a half or full marathon. If there doesn’t seem to be an event that you’re passionate about, create your own. Just because there are events focused on running, cycling, or other kind of endurance training, doesn’t mean you can’t create a swimming event for yourself, for example.
Warm up, cool down
Essential to any exercise, you need to warm your body up to prepare it for physical exertion and cool it down afterwards to help keep your body in tip top shape. It’ll help you to avoid injury or further stress to your body. It may be a short walk after a run, slight stretching of the limbs, a little meditation, or, as we’d recommend, all of the above!
Build up slowly
As they say, slow and steady wins the race. When training for an event, it’s about building yourself up not starting from the top. Just like the tortoise and the hare, it doesn’t matter how long it takes you to get there. You’ll only feel incapable of achieving your goals, hate what you’re doing, and/or are end up in serious pain.
Keep track of your progress and move your goal posts
When preparing for your event, downloading an app like Nike Training App, or keeping a journal of your progress will be extremely beneficial. You can start with your ultimate goal and then set out mini goals to help you to achieve it. As you conquer each one, move forward. You’ll feel more confident and comfortable in your abilities with such a structure.
Check your gear
It’s super important to have gear appropriate to the event your training for. Cotton, although may seem like a good idea for a summer holiday, it’s a terrible idea for sporting events because it essentially holds on to sweat. This will make you feel uncomfortable and can lead to nasty chafing. Instead, opt for synthetic materials such as nylon that will dry out faster and keep you comfortable.
Same goes for shoes. Research the best kind of shoes for the event you’re practicing for. It really will make all the difference.
Know the course
When preparing for your event, it’s a good idea to familiarise yourself with the kind of terrain you’re likely to encounter and prepare for this in your training. For example, if it involves hills, grass, concrete, mud etc. prepare for all of these outcomes by adding routes into your training to allow you to experience it and adapt accordingly.
Be holistic in your approach
The event will impact all aspects of your life; mind, body and soul. Tell as many people as you can about your goals to encourage support and potentially guidance. There could be valuable advice you could benefit from.
Additionally, to reach the finish line, you need to ensure you’re resting sufficiently to allow your body to fully recover after each training session. Be sure to get 7-8 hours sleep and be asleep by 10pm. This will give your body the best chances. Also review your diet, general health, and water intake, to ensure you’re the healthiest you can be. Whether you’re doing a fun run, 5K, or a full marathon, health always comes first.
Mix it up
To get the best from your body, it’s a good idea to do different activities. Different exercises will give different benefits, so in addition to your event; be it running, swimming, cycling etc., include Pilates/Yoga for stretching and weights for strength training and cardiovascular activity. You’ll benefit so much more from it. Try something new, see our fitness feature guides for inspiration.
Before the event
Carbs, such as potato, pasta, bread etc. are slow burning and will help to keep you going for longer in endurance activity. This is particularly beneficial the night before and the morning of your event. Don’t skip breakfast because you’re feeling nervous or because you don’t normally eat breakfast, you will feel worse for it. It’s best to acclimatize your body before the event so switching to carbs a few days before is ideal. We’d also recommend training around the time of day the event is to take place as your body will adapt to a new routine making it much more comfortable for you on the day.
At the event
Try to enjoy yourself as much as possible. It can be difficult not to get swept up in the emotion of it, particularly if you’re participating with a large number of people. But stick to your training guides and go at a pace comfortable for you. During the event, do something for you, whether it’s singing, talking, or just being observant of your surroundings. It will be a good distraction mechanism and you’re likely to enjoy it more.
After the event, and your cool down, be sure to have a nice relaxing evening. But make sure you do something for you, to congratulate yourself for all the hard work. Just maybe the day after.
Do you have any advice for preparing for a sporting event? Or let us know in the comments below how you prepared for an event you took place in.