5 Ways Athletes Prepare for a Competition
Author: Alex Cordier
If you have a competition or event coming up that you’d like to be well prepared for, you may be wondering about the ways athletes prepare for a competition. Follow these five tips to channel your inner athlete:
Plan in advance
Athletes have to think about their competitions long before they happen, so perhaps the most obvious yet most important tip is that you must plan for, and begin training for, your competitions in advance. Setting realistic goals is the best way to begin training; it gives athletes something to work towards while ensuring that they are not dissuaded by goals that will be too easy.
Staying realistic will help to keep you on track. You’re probably not going to make first place on your first marathon, but if you know the types of people who will be competing and how fast you can run, you can set challenging but realistic goals, and give yourself a higher chance of reaching them.
Monitor your nutrition
Carbohydrates and water are the two most important components when it comes to pre-competition nutrition. Ideally, you should be eating well all the time, but nutrition is of particular significance the week before the competition. An athlete should limit his or her carbohydrate consumption a week before the competition, and focus more on protein.
Three days before the competition, he or she should switch back to carbohydrates. On the day of the competition, he or she should eat a large meal 3-4 hours before the competition’s commencement. Your pre-competition meal should consist of foods that you are used to, in case your body reacts poorly to new foods – keep in mind that carbohydrates and protein are the most important components of the pre-competition meal.
Additionally, make sure you’re staying well hydrated in the week leading up to the competition.
The week before a competition, it is imperative that an athlete gets enough sleep. Make sure you’re going to bed at the same time each night and waking at the same time each morning, and aim for 8-10 hours.
Sleep should be considered a key part of your training. If you are extremely nervous the night before a competition, your lack of sleep will likely be buffered by the good sleeping habits you’ve practised throughout the week. If, on the day of the competition, you worry you haven’t slept enough, a short nap several hours before the competition begins should help.
Mentally prepare yourself
It’s necessary to remain positive, and while nervous energy is to be expected, athletes shouldn’t let themselves be consumed by it. Staying positive means that an athlete is less likely to give up when things don’t go their way, so its importance cannot be overstated.
The above tips should help to keep athletes motivated and on track, but there are several techniques you can try if you’re having trouble focusing on your goals. Firstly, anticipate any obstacles you may face: being able to visualize and prepare for these obstacles will help greatly in overcoming them should they occur. Secondly, take time to learn about the place in which the competition is held, and take a tour of it, if you can.
Being able to picture where your competition will take place will give you a clearer idea of what to expect, and hopefully help you to relax a little.
Remember to enjoy the process
The more competitions you take part in, the more natural the whole process will become to you. When you look back on your progress years later, you’ll be glad you never gave up.
While training can be stressful and sometimes disheartening, you’re constantly improving yourself, and creating and reaching new goals.
That’s something to celebrate!
About the Author: Alex Cordier is a freelance writer from New Zealand, with a passion for writing about health, fitness, and lifestyle.