Preparing for a fitness event

Got a big fitness goal you're working towards, such as a swim, a marathon or a triathlon? Follow the tips below for the best ways to prepare yourself before you start training through to the night before, and looking after your health when you've finished.

Before you start

  • Talk to and get advice from others who have completed a similar event.
  • Get your technique assessed and iron out any bad habits early before it inhibits your progress.
  • Enter your event early and tell all your family and friends for greater motivation to reach your goal.
  • Give yourself plenty of time to train for the event, especially if you’re new to the sport or are taking a step up.

Training

  • Learn how to train like an athlete in the sport you’re entering and follow a structured training plan for maximum benefit.
  • Learn how to eat nutritiously for maximum energy and recovery - plan your meals and keep hydrated.
  • Ensure you spend some time training in an environment that replicates where your event will be held.
  • Train at least a couple of times in poor conditions so you’re prepared for the chance of similar conditions on event day.

The night before the event

  • Eat foods you would usually eat but avoid high-fibre meals.
  • Check over all your equipment and pack your bags with your official race pack, gear and equipment (including spares) and snacks.
  • Read through the event schedule, confirm start times and know the public transport timetable or parking options.
  • Get to bed early! Read to take your mind off the event and to help reduce anxiety.

Event day

  • Consume a light snack which is high in GI carbohydrates and a small amount of protein 2-3 hours before the event.
  • Get to the event and register early, take public transport to avoid stressful driving and parking conditions.
  • Take the time to view as much of the course as possible focusing on current conditions and the start, finish and any transition locations.
  • Take your mind off the start by talking to other participants and doing a short warm up and stretch.
  • Keep hydrated, apply sunscreen and stay in the shade until you’re called to the start line.

During the event

  • Choose your position on the start line depending on how you want to compete; the front is competitive, the back to take it easy.
  • Don’t go out too hard at the start, get yourself into a comfortable rhythm and save some energy for the finish.
  • For endurance events keep well hydrated along the way, but don’t wait until you’re thirsty to have a drink.
  • Your body can handle a lot more than your mind thinks it can, so keep going and surprise yourself!

Post event

  • Make the most of the finish and bask in the glory of completing your goal event.
  • If you’re feeling tight, cool down with some light exercise and then dress up warm until you get to shower and change
  • Rehydrate immediately and eat within one hour of finishing to repair muscles, refuel energy stores and support your immune system
  • Make sure you share stories with other participants, thank the organisers and check your result!

Cole Classic tips

  • Take 5-10 minutes to observe the surf conditions at the finish location on Manly Beach before heading off to the start at Shelley Beach.
  • Locate a shallow sandbar near the finish where the waves are breaking consistently and pick a landmark opposite it on the shore that you can use to line up your swim back to the beach.
  • Choose your position on the start line depending on how you want to swim. Get off the start line fast and in clear water from the front, stick to the back to swim in your own time.
  • Stay on course by sighting forward as you swim to locate the swim buoys.  To sight, lift your head up to start your breathing stroke, and finish to the side.
  • If the water is choppy, alter your stroke to get your shoulders and mouth higher out of the water and adjust your line to account for crosswinds. Breathe away from the wind.
  • When returning to shore through the wave zone, keep an eye on the waves by sighting behind you. Attack the surf by bodysurfing or turn and face the waves to dive under for a more defensive approach.

The Cole Classic is organised by Fairfax Media, owner of this website. OceanFit will exhibit at the event.

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