Strength and endurance sporting events are no longer just for seasoned athletes. More and more fitness enthusiasts are getting into the mix—venturing into athletic activities such as duathlon, triathlon, CrossFit competitions, and many more.
Some people are simply keen on breaking a sweat and fancy the thrill of a new challenge; others are consistently hitting the gym to put their fitness level to the test and see how well they stack up against their contenders. Whatever their reasons are for signing up, it’s crucial for these amateur athletes to prepare the mind and body for the upcoming gruelling yet fulfilling competition.
Whether it’s their first marathon or a first professional sports league game, athletes prepare religiously months—sometimes even years—leading up to the event itself. This helps them reach and maintain a certain level of mental sharpness and physical fitness to perform at their best.
No matter the sporting event you’re looking into joining, the list of fitness tips below will help you address all aspects of preparation—from deciding the right diet to choosing the best gym or home exercise equipment suited to your goals.
One of the most common mistakes in training for an event is increasing your mileage way too soon. When you put too much stress on your muscles, joints, and ligaments too soon, it could lead to several serious injuries.
For beginners without any prior aerobic exercise, you can gauge your mileage by starting with one mile or less for your first week or two of training. Steadily build your weekly distance by regularly running at least 3–5 times a week.
To ensure proper progression and avoid injury, listen to your body and never exceed a 10% increase in mileage every three weeks. If you run a total of 10 miles a week, you should not cover more than 11 miles for the next three weeks.
For first-timers, it is essential to set a goal—at least train up to or even beyond the distance of the race. It’s good to complete the race distance the week before the event to boost your confidence and help you ace the race.
You can think of endurance as stamina, allowing you to perform at your best for an extended period without feeling tired or needing to rest. As sports events like running and cycling require athletes to build cardiovascular and muscular endurance, you must integrate strength training exercises into your weekly routine.
Surely, heading out for a run can improve your endurance. However, to accurately track your progress, it is helpful to take a controlled tempo-run test with a treadmill at home or in a commercial gym. As an added benefit, using a treadmill during training can help minimise injuries and stress since it is built with a cushioned surface that absorbs shock. Stationary bikes and rowers help, too!
Boost power and efficiency while working out to stabilise your joints. You can do this by incorporating resistance training into your routine. Commit to doing a few resistance-focused workouts at least once or twice a week throughout your training plan. Kettlebells, medicine balls, and dumbbells are just some equipment worth investing in for effectively perform resistance training and improve your athletic power.
In line with boosting power, training to improve speed is, of course, necessary when preparing for a race if you are hoping to run the distance within a specific timeframe. To develop speed, you must include exercises that focus on strengthening your legs and ankles into your training program. It is also vital to work on your flexibility through a regular stretching program to enhance your form and minimise the risk of injuries.
Consistently increasing the speed of your treadmill won’t get you anywhere. As counterintuitive as it may sound, practising easy running rather than running flat out every training day can help you boost endurance and improve your speed. Try shaking things up and finding your pace—give easy endurance run or tempo run a try.
Core strength and conditioning during training can boost your endurance, power, strength, balance, and overall performance during any athletic event. A strong core will help reduce wobbling so that you get the most out of every stride. This is also extremely important in preventing both minor and major injuries during the race.
Recharge your body and keep your mind sharp by having a proper sleeping schedule. It is recommended to get at least 10 hours of sleep during training. On the day of the event, try to squeeze in a 20-minute nap at least two hours before the competition to increase your energy and further boost performance.
Optimise your athleticism by fuelling your body with the right nutrients it needs to help improve your overall performance. While there is no one-size-fits-all diet plan to prepare you for your next competition, high-carb diet plans are worth trying as carbohydrates supply energy to your body—enabling you to perform your best before and during the race. Also, don’t forget to hydrate!
Keeping your mind clear, sharp, and calm through meditation is as essential as physical training. Try a simple meditation technique that will help you stay focused—draw your attention towards your breathing and as you exhale, breathe out negative thoughts and focus only on positive actions.
Prepare for your next athletic challenge with these nine fitness tips. Remember, stay focused on your goals and work steadily throughout your training—never overdo it. Also, keep in mind that having access to the right equipment is vital in having a safe and effective training. Whatever you are training for, dominate the competition with Again Faster’s quality and top-notch home exercise equipment.