It’s a well-known fact, participation in competitive sports like running, cycling, and mixed discipline sports such as triathlons has greatly increased in recent years. If you’re registered for a similar competition this summer, here are some helpful preparation tips.
IN THE MONTHS AND WEEKS LEADING TO THE EVENT
Early preparation is the number-one tip for getting ahead. Once you have set your goal based on your abilities, be it a fun-filled triathlon sprint or a marathon you intend to take seriously—preparation is your best friend. A detailed training plan that gradually builds your strength from week to week is the key to achieving your goals. Of course, a trainer can help you get there if you don’t know where to start. Once your plan is in place, stay on track and stick with it!
IN THE WEEK LEADING UP TO THE EVENT
- Reduce the intensity of your training. The idea is to take it easy in the days leading up to the competition to avoid last-minute injuries and not overwork your body.
- Stay hydrated and eat well. Try to drink 1.5 litres of water a day to stay hydrated during these key days and eat healthy that week (no junk food just yet)! It is also recommended to slightly reduce portion sizes over the last week to avoid weight gain due to less intense training.
- Stock up on sleep. Proper sleep hygiene should always be a priority, but is absolutely vital this week. Some research has shown that more sleep can actually help improve sports performance. Go ahead and give yourself a solid ten hours to relax in your bed (it’s free, after all).
THE DAY BEFORE THE EVENT
- Eat a high-carb meal. Complex carbohydrates are extremely important in ensuring that you cross the finish line in the best shape possible. Both your muscles and your brain need it! Complex carbohydrates, such as grain products and pasta, greatly contribute to generate the necessary energy we need when moving. Eating the night before the event or in the morning just a few hours before the competition is recommended. Finally, stick to the foods you regularly eat to avoid nasty surprises. You can try small variations on your favourite staples, of course. A lasagna taco or pasta with wild mushrooms and sun-dried tomatoes, perhaps?
- Organize your equipment, visualize your success, and go to bed. Minimize stress by preparing everything you need the night before the event. Now, all that’s left to do is to visualize your imminent success, and of course, head to bed even earlier than usual.
Wake up early to eat a carbohydrate-rich breakfast (like this Lemon Pie Oatmeal or these Milk Chocolate Energy Bars), but make sure you have time to fully digest. Now you can breathe, relax, and enjoy your day to the fullest without focussing on the outcome. Don’t forget to rehydrate after all that effort. Chocolate milk is a good option to replenish carbohydrates and protein to ensure proper recovery.
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