When you’re preparing to participate in your first competitive event, the thought of it can be intimidating. You’ll be surrounded by people who are more experienced than you are, you psych yourself out about how your time probably won’t compare, and it’s easy to disappear inside your head and overthink the whole thing. Doing that takes the fun out of racing - and we don’t want that to happen for you.
The best advice that Protekt’s co-founder, Tim Duba, has for first-time racers is to give yourself plenty of time and training to prepare for the race. Work up to it smartly and enjoy the process.
“The process is the reward. It puts you into a whole different state of fitness. No matter how you do on the actual race day, you've achieved a lot already. And that's something that you can always keep building on.”
The worst thing you can do is let your ego take the front seat as a first-timer. Of course, it’s tempting, but knowing how to create a fitness plan for your first race depends on setting realistic expectations so you can be in the best state possible during crunch time.
“The average person who feels defeated, deflated, or has a really bad first experience, it's most likely because they didn’t set reasonable expectations. You have to put yourself in a state to perform, and that’s the whole point behind Protekt. It's not to help you get bigger muscles, it's not to help you win events, the whole point of this company is to help keep people in an optimal state to perform. That's the biggest part of the battle is having discipline. To get good sleep, to stay hydrated, and to exercise smartly to get yourself in an optimal state for when the actual event happens.”
Comparison Will Kill You
Like we said before, comparing yourself to other, more experienced racers will only set you up to fail. No two people will run the same race, especially if they have different training backgrounds, varying experiences, or different body types. Nick Norris, the other co-founder of Protekt, was once bitten by the comparison bug. But he knows better now.
“When I actually was racing longer distance stuff, my downfall had to do with inappropriate pacing. I was going in with an attitude that was overzealous, and trying to race other people instead of racing myself and sticking with a methodical plan. The problem with that is I was burning myself out too quickly, and building up too much lactic acid in my muscles and paying for it much later in a long race.”
Appropriate pacing, pacing that fits you and your style, even has to do with how you fuel your body. Nick also had trouble with that.
“Going out too hard affected my gut more than anything else, and my inability to take in appropriate nutrition. I was dealing with nausea and stomach issues from having too high of a heart rate too soon and for too long. Appropriate pacing allowed me, in following races, to control my heart rate and my body's ability to want to consume food. That also means taking supplements - whether that’s water and electrolytes, or protein, because those make a big difference.”
Speaking of supplements, they can be a huge help when it comes to race day. No matter the type of athlete that you are - if you’re a cyclist, runner, or triathlete - these liquid supplements can help you out.
We have some great liquid energy supplements that contain organic caffeine to get you ready for the big day, and hydration supplements to keep your body working as it should for an optimal performance. We also stock a useful sleep aid supplement for both before and after a race - to help you prepare and then recover.
The most important part of racing - no matter the type of race - is not when you start, it’s that you started at all. It’s not about setting a lofty goal for yourself and suddenly becoming an Olympian, satisfaction should be shaped around your own personal progress.
Nick Norris says it best with: “Look at it as an opportunity to test the waters. Don't go into it with expectation. Rather, approach it with intention. I think if you can approach anything with intention, in lieu of expectation, you’ll always get a more positive result.”
*These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. Protekt products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.