However, if you have not been training, jumping straight in to a challenging event without taking proper care of your body is asking for trouble.
Here I am going to present some do’s and don’ts to get you prepared for an event while ensuring you stay injury free, maximise your performance and have fun while doing it.
Do give yourself enough time – if you know you’re doing an event, start training as soon as possible. The longer you have to build up, the safer it will be and the better prepared you are going to be on the day. This
This will improve your performance and minimise the risk of injury.
Don’t just jump in to an event next weekend if you’re not physically prepared – say no to an event if you’re not ready for it. There’s no benefit to getting injured. This goes back to the first point of giving yourself enough time to prepare.
Do recognise where you’re starting from, and train appropriately – if you’ve entered a marathon and haven’t ran in 20 years, that’s fine. Just recognise where you are at. If your training at the beginning consists of walking, that’s fine.
Training is about progression and building up to the event. Be honest about where you’re at now, and you will be in a much stronger position at the end of your training.
Don’t train through pain or injury – get it looked at! Sometimes working out hurts, but recognise the difference between the pain of exertion, and injury.
If you’re not sure, err on the side of caution. Better to miss one training session than potentially hurt yourself and miss 20. Not to mention the risk of long-term damage.
Do fuel yourself and look after your nutrition – even if you don’t see yourself as an athlete yet, you need to start thinking like one. Recovery is the most important part of training.
That means eating right. Eating enough calories to recover from your training, but not overeating and carrying around excess weight.
The food you eat will have a big impact on your level of inflammation and whether you recover quickly from training.
Don’t be one dimensional – if you’re doing a marathon, you do not have to go out running every day. In fact, you should also be doing gym work to build strength and condition your body for the running.
If you have poor stability and weak core muscles, you will be more susceptible to injury, and not as strong a runner anyway. Working on strength is important, no matter what sport or event you are training for.
Do work on mobility and flexibility – that means stretching, foam rolling, building strength and control through different ranges of motion.
This will keep you injury-proof, improve your performance and help you recover from training. It sounds like a no-brainer, but many people don’t do it because it’s boring and they tell themselves that they don’t have the time.
Don’t be too competitive – you should have fun with it and be competitive, but to refer back to an earlier point; recognise the level you are at right now.
If you’re not conditioned enough to be competitive, don’t try to keep up with those who are fitter than you. Focus on yourself and making improvements on your own results, week by week. Over time you can become more competitive, but you have to earn the right to compete after you have your base of conditioning.
Do treat recovery as seriously as training – you don’t get fitter or stronger when you train.
Training is breaking the body down, it is when you recover that the body rebuilds and comes back stronger. You should treat the recovery process as seriously as the training, if you want to get the most out of it.
That means eating right as mentioned above, sleeping right (lack of sleep is a recovery killer), being generally active to keep blood-flow up and using techniques like massage to help the muscles recover.
It’s great that you’ve chosen to be active, and of course do something for charity. I want you to have a long and enjoyable relationship with fitness. Following these ‘common sense’ tips above will ensure that you do that.
If you would like some help preparing for an event, or just getting back in to fitness after a long period of inactivity, reach out to me and we can look at a plan to ensure you stay safe and make progress towards your fitness goals.