Congratulations! You are about to embark on an incredible journey as you set new goals and train for a race this year. You’re going to get stronger, faster, and test your limits in new and exciting ways. But you may also have some lingering questions, like where to start and how to stay motivated. That’s completely normal. We’ve got some of the basics covered for you!
Set the date and spread the word!
Make the race day on a calendar, white board, or anything visual. It puts into perspective how much time you really have to prepare. Then tell everyone in your inner (and maybe outer) circles. Friends will hold you accountable just by asking how training is and being excited for you.
Research the event.
This one seems like a no-brainer, but you would be surprised how much it can help and how many people don’t do it. Do a simple Google search of the event. Bloggers and experts will share tips and information on everything from parking and transportation to port-a-potty lines. This can be really helpful if you are racing in an unfamiliar city.
Pick a training plan.
I really don’t recommend just “winging” your race. How you train will dictate the entire race experience, so do the time! You’ve spent money to register and the race day will arrive whether you’re prepared or not. So start your training ASAP and stay dedicated to it. There are plenty of sample programs on the Internet. If you’re unsure, get help from a coach.
Staying motivated can be a challenge if you are training for a longer race or end up feeling overwhelmed as you head toward your big day. One way to stay motivated throughout the journey is to focus on your purpose and passion for starting the journey in the first place. When it gets hard or you feel exhausted, go back and visualize those things. It really helps.
Get the gear you NEED.
My coach always told me that even if you have fancy wheels on your bike, they aren’t going to do the pedaling for you. I still chuckle at that because it’s true. You just need the basics to get started. Think things like a good pair of shoes, moisture wicking clothing, sunglasses to protect your peepers (if it’s a daytime event), and a hat or visor. Seriously, all the other fancy stuff can wait. If this is your first race, don’t invest a lot because you don’t know if you even like it yet. Save the fancy stuff for later.
Make this journey you are about to take about doing something challenging and fun. The best part of the process is setting an amazing goal and then chasing it down. At the end of the day it’s not about the medals, finish lines, or personal bests that you set. It’s what you can learn about yourself in the process. It’s about learning to challenge yourself and the experiences you will share with those around you because of it. That’s more important than a time, a medal, or first place.
Rest, then do it again.
After the race, make sure you rest and recover appropriately. If you enjoyed yourself, start setting new goals while you are still on the high of all your success. This will keep you motivated to head into the next chapter of your adventure. Know that you are now an inspiration to others. Bring a friend along for the next journey and share the experience. Some of my best races have involved helping friends reach their goals.