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Beginner's Guide to Picking A First Race or Triathlon

Jun 24, 2008
Running a first race or triathlon will take the proper preparation. It is no small task, but after all of the hard work and dedication, crossing the finish line will be an extremely awarding experience.

Picking The First Competition
For a first time racer, go with what feels natural. If competing in a race or triathlon is completely new to you, pick a distance that you know you will have relative success with such as finishing with a respectable time or finishing the race at all. A realistic choice for your first race might be a five-K walk or run. A 5K is not as difficult to train for and you can still get the satisfaction of completing a race. You might want to research as well to gain more of an insight of the different racing options available.

Set Goals For Yourself
Setting goals for yourself is very important. You need something to strive for, but make sure your goals are realistic. This is the first race, so do not expect to finish a marathon in record-breaking time. Don't set yourself up for a disappointment with unreachable goals.

Weekly goals and race day goals make training much more purposeful. Ultimately that's what you're looking for in your decision to race, a greater purpose for fitness and mentality. Preparing for a race teaches you about dedication and self-reliance.

Training For The Race
Give yourself more than enough time to train but do not overdo it. For an average 5K race, train for two or three months. For a longer or more difficult race such as a triathlon or marathon, plan for six months to a year of training.

Develop a program in order to stay on track and motivated. When training for a triathlon, do not focus on strengths. If you are a weaker swimmer, focus and train more in the pool and run and bike less. Focus on being well rounded in each event.

Training with a friend or two can be beneficial. Having a workout buddy provides competition and the extra push to keep moving and improving. Training with another person can be enjoyable as well and it unites you and your friend towards a common goal. Your training partner can hold you accountable for training sessions and keep you focused. If you don't have a friend who is reliable to train with, explore the possibilities of a coach.

Preparing for the Race Day
When training for a race, give the body time to rest and heal. Taper workouts down towards race day so muscles are not sore or past the peak of training on the day of the race. If possible, try to make your training schedule mirror the day of the race. For example, if your race is in the morning, train in the morning, if the race is in the evening, train in the evening.

Remove all fatty and unhealthy foods from your diet and focus on eating a balanced diet. Eat plenty of protein, carbohydrates, fruits and vegetables to stay energized and strong for race day.

What To Do On Race Day
Get a good night's rest the night before the race. You want to be well-rested and energized. Eat a medium-sized pasta meal the night before. It will fill you up and give you the needed carbohydrates to store for energy.

After the Race
Make time with friends or family to celebrate and eat. After completing the race relax and reward yourself for all the time and effort put into the race. Finishing a race is an enormous accomplishment - be proud! Don't stop training after the race is over. Stay in shape, prepare for the next race and finish with an even better time.
About the Author
Michael Greeves, CEO and founder of Hyperstrike, wanted to develop an affordable fitness program for individuals and athletes that could be customized to their personal abilities and goals, and be delivered to any one, any where, any time. Learn more about HyperStrike exercise and workout programs.
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