We are presented weekly with the opportunity to Compete in our chosen sport. Marathons, triathlons, CrossFit competitions, NPGL auditions, powerlifting/Olympic meets, Spartan Races, & more cover our calendar. Many of us choose a local event, circle the date, and begin training toward that first competition. We can lift/run/work as much as we want, but still feel ill-prepared for the unknown of what "gameday" will hold. I did some research and put together a list of the best tips & tricks to help you perform at your best when your competition arrives.
1. Practice your specific workout/lifts the week before.
Don't go into your competition completely oblivious of what awaits you unless none of your workouts are being announced the morning of your competition. In a marathon or race, review the course path and know where you'll be running. If there are obstacles, be sure to look up what they are and test on your own so you can adequately train how to overcome them or what scaling options you have. Local CrossFit competitions normally release their workouts 1-2 weeks prior to the competition, giving you ample time to test each workout & see what adjustments you'll want to make on the day of.
2. Properly fuel up!
This isn't a "pizza & beer" meal. If you haven't already been eating well, make sure you "dial in" (or clean up) what you eat the two weeks prior to your competition. This will not only help your body recover from training and prepare for the competition, but also give you a "cheat meal" to look forward to after the competition as a "treat" for competing. During the race/competition/workout, make sure you are hydrating throughout the day and also consuming a small amount of protein and fat to keep your energy levels high until the competition ends.
3. Get some rest.
You definitely don't want to me exhausted the morning of your first competition. Be sure to get ample sleep the two nights before your competition (7-8 hours) so that your body is well rested and ready to Compete.
4. Bring a friend.
Marathon/Spartan/Triathletes - race with a friend if you can! Nothing beats having a training partner or someone in the competition with you. This also applies to CrossFit athletes competing for the first time on a local level. If you have the chance to do a partner or team competition, grab a friend. They'll not only keep you accountable in your training/nutrition, but also give you someone to hang out with throughout what can be a very long day. If you are preparing for a solo competition, bring a friend to come watch & support you. There's nothing like a familiar face to see in the midst of pushing past your limits.
5. Have fun.
Remember above all, this is supposed to be fun. Competitions are about pushing your limits, setting a new personal record (PR!), and having fun. You've trained hard and prepared, "game day" is about enjoying the fruits of that work. If you're still looking for tips to prepare you for your first competition, below is a list of great links to sport-specific tips!