Any pursuit in life requires knowledge. Knowledge of where you are and where you want to go. It is important to take time to get to know yourself as it relates to the task at hand.
In becoming an athlete consider your current physical condition and what is needed to perform successfully. Read books and articles that talk about and lay out a weekly workout schedule that starts at your current fitness level. Whether couch to 5K or setting a new personal best completing a marathon or Ironman triathlon, there are many training plan options available. Look at your diet, consider whether the foods you currently eat allow you to perform at your best or are they a hindrance. Learn about pre- and post-workout meals that help you during the activity and help you recover quickly afterwards. What you learn may require you to overhaul your diet in order to see the success you want.
Take time to research the necessary training and racing gear. Running requires a good pair of running shoes that give you the foot support and stability you need. Purchase running shoes from your local running store where the sales people are runners themselves and know best how to direct you. The wrong shoe will not only prevent you from doing well but can also lead to injury. While at the running store learn about and purchase clothing that is made of wicking material that will keep the moisture of sweat away from your body. If you plan to run in the winter, learn about the running shell that will keep the wind and rain off you and keep you warm when you head outdoors. If you want to run indoors, is there a local gym or YMCA you can join or consider if you want to invest in a treadmill for your home.
If you are taking up biking, read bike reviews to find the bike that best fits your body and your price range. Once you have purchased a bike, learn how to maintain it and change a flat tire when necessary. Take time to understand the laws for riding on the road. If you are interested in swimming, the local YMCA provides a great environment and offers swim lessons at a variety of levels. As with running, purchase your swimming equipment such as goggles, swim suit and flippers from a store that sells to local swim teams. Find out about and incorporate a strength routine to develop muscle and the power necessary for your sport of interest. Learn how to stretch your body correctly for each sport to avoid injury.
Talk to people or look up reviews from individuals who have completed the event you are interested in beforehand in order to get an idea of how to prepare yourself. Go to the event website and look at the different details they provide in order to make sure you know what will be available on site and what you need to plan to take with you. Drive over the racecourse prior to the event to familiarize yourself with where you will be going and the terrain you will be covering.
Stay aware of the weather on the day of the event so you can best plan on what to wear for the race. You will need to plan ahead and dress appropriately for the time before the race while you wait for it to start and for the ride home once it is over. If the event is an Olympic triathlon, half marathon or longer, learn about the fuel needed during the race for sustained energy. Take time during training to determine which of the fuel sources works best for you. Purchase different energy gels, beverages or make your own to find one you like. Learn about the suggested recovery time after your race, working out too soon after an event can lead to injury.
Knowledge is so important to your success!