Competitive sports are a great way to stay in shape and meet new people, but how do you survive events such as triathlons, marathons and adventure races if you are not a professional athlete?
Because our bodies are comprised of about 70 percent water, one of the most important aspects to longevity is hydration. Keeping your electrolytes up will help to prevent cramps and injuries.
Water is an essential component to keeping up in a race, but sports drinks and mixes can give you the extra carbohydrates you need to get to the finish line.
Some hydration bladders don’t typically do well with sports drinks, but some out there can (be sure to read the label).
Nutrition is another key in factor in keeping your body going during an endurance event.
A big spaghetti dinner is a good start, but in this day and age there are a lot options for before, during and after a race.
Some of the more advanced options are cookies, chewable gummies, gels and drinks that provide a variety of nutrients and other performance enhancing additives such as herbs, electrolytes and caffeine.
And of course there is always fruit — it is an all-natural alternative.
Now you don’t have to be ready to compete in the Ironman, but training is essential in a competition and it can prevent serious injuries.
Proper stretching and exercises such as yoga and Pilates help to improve strength and stability.
Jogging and sprinting provide great forms of cardio and endurance building that will help build a strong body.
If you are just starting out, try to use a combination of jogging and walking. Challenge yourself but work your way up a mile at a time until you reach your target number, or you feel comfortable. Once you hit you comfort level, take it up a notch. Just be sure to stretch before and after, and don’t overdo it.
The same thing goes for swimming. You shouldn’t just jump in and expect to be able to swim over a mile.
Work your way up, and be sure to do some open-water swims before doing a race. The currents can be challenging and affect the distance a person can swim.
Confidence is key in how well you compete. It may start in the mind, but the body reinforces it.
Lastly, be sure all of your equipment is in working order. This goes from your shoes to your helmet.
If you are just starting out, it doesn’t matter if you got your bike from local discount or a high-end retailer as long as your equipment is working. Mechanical problems can eat up valuable time in a race.
The most important thing to remember in a race is that fun and good sportsmanship go hand and hand. The goal of participant sports is get in shape or stay in shape while finding some adventure in your life.
If you would like you have your event showcased in The Miami Herald, please email Corey W. Campbell, at Campbell.corey @gmail.com.