Endurance competitions are about how long you can keep pushing yourself, not about sudden bursts of energy like other competitions.
You’ll need mental strength as well as physical ability to be able to continue to push yourself without quitting.
So what does it take to train and prepare for an endurance competition? How do competitions differ depending on the sport you do?
Let’s go over some of those questions together.
There are tons of running endurance competitions! The trick is finding the right distance for yourself.
You’ll want to find a race that pushes you, but something that is possible for you. You aren’t going to want to start out by running a full marathon if you’re just starting your running career.
The most common running races include 5k, 10k, half marathon, and full marathon.
Each of these races will come with their own set of challenges to overcome. You’ll also need to train differently depending on which distance you’re going to run.
There are some similarities to training for a race no matter which distance you decide to do.
These suggestions will be for beginner runners that have never competed before.
The best advice for beginner runners to remember is that everyone has to start somewhere!
First, you’ll need to pick a distance that you’d like to run with plenty of time to start training for it. You won’t be able to train for a marathon in a week.
You just won’t.
A 5k race will take about seven weeks to train for, while a marathon will take about six months.
You might be surprised that although the time differs significantly for training, the actual training process is quite similar for any running race.
You’ll need to actively train for 2-3 days a week pushing yourself to go a little farther. Try to go on small jogs or slow walks on the other days of the week to help get yourself in cardiovascular shape.
Try to cross-train on your days off to strengthen other muscles and to give you a break from running. This prevents burnout by mixing up your routine.
Run at a pace where you’d be able to keep a conversation going. The key with endurance competitions is to find a pace that you’d be able to keep up for a long period of time. You don’t want to sprint.
Don’t be afraid to walk!
Give yourself a short break by walking when you need to. This will help you get a short rest before you start to push yourself again.
Sometimes that short rest is all you need to be able to finish strong.
There are several science-backed health benefits of running.
First, you’ll be happier! Running releases endorphins, which make you feel better. Try running even if you’re having a terrible day. You might just be surprised at how much better you feel!
Running also helps you to lose or maintain your weight. Continual training will strengthen your muscles, heart, and lungs.
Elderly runners can expect to see a lot of benefits in their cognitive function. They’ll have a better memory, better organizational skills, better language skills, and fewer judgment problems.
Swimming is an entirely different ball game than running.
Not only do you need to be able to keep going, but you also need to be able to stay afloat!
The biggest thing you’ll need to learn if you’re training for a swimming competition is how to rest in the water without going under the water’s surface.
That’s never good.
Some of the more well-known distance races include the 5k,10k, 25k, and long-distance open-water swims.
Training for a swim competition could be compared to the training needed for running in a few ways.
You’ll want to actively train 2-3 days a week, cross-train on free days, and don’t forget to take some rest days.
The similarities end there.
A beginner swimmer probably already knows how to swim. The problem is that there are many different ways to swim.
Do you know how to do the butterfly? The breaststroke? The backstroke?
You’ll need to learn how to these specific strokes to be able to compete. You may want to consider getting a coach if you don’t already have one.
Open water swimming is very different than swimming in a pool.
There are many more obstacles you’ll face if you choose to race in open water.
You’ll need to cope with weather and waves, something that indoor swimmers don’t worry about at all.
Please only compete in an open water swim race if you’re 100% confident in your swimming abilities.
Most importantly, you’ll need to train yourself on how to breathe properly. You will put yourself in a lot of danger if you don’t learn this valuable skill.
Swimming is a full-body workout that’s easy on the joints.
Elderly individuals are the most likely to benefit from swim training.
Swimming is an excellent way to strengthen your lungs as it forces you to be able to hold your breath and breathe at specific times.
Muscles will also be toned and strengthened as you continue to train.
You’ll see improvements in your endurance and cardiovascular strength as well.
There are both on-road and off-road bike races that you can compete in.
These vary quite a bit, so choose a race that you know you’ll be able to do. Off-road bike races are much more extreme and require you to over rocks, streams, and jumps.
These include downhill and cross country races.
Although on-road races will be on a paved road, the speed at which you travel will be a lot faster, which can also be more dangerous.
The most common on-road races are time trials, criteriums, and road races.
It’s very important that you get to know the course you will be riding before the race! This will prevent you from making a wrong turn.
Get a map of the course and make sure you memorize it. Better yet, ride the course a couple of times to get a feel for it.
Make sure you’re riding the bike you’ll be racing with since each bike is different. It would be a shame to do poorly on the bike race because you weren’t used to the bike.
Start strengthening your leg muscles with squats, deadlifts, and leg presses. Your legs will be used the most.
Don’t be afraid to get wet.
Practice in the rain if it’s likely that you will be racing in the rain. This will help you get used to the sensation and maybe give you a leg up on your competitors.
Don’t forget to eat right and drink plenty of water while you’re training so that you can do your very best.
Cycling is low-impact, so it’s better for people with joint problems and may even help joints get back to normal.
Cycling also reduces stress as you spend more time outdoors.
It’s also said that bike riding can improve your posture and coordination!
Cycling is a fun way to get fit as you go on different trails and enjoy the outdoor beauty.
Expect to see improvements with heart health, flexibility, and anxiety as well.
The Finish Line
Endurance competitions are a great way to push yourself to finish something you didn’t think you could do.
It might take a lot of work, training, and time, but you’ll feel a great sense of accomplishment when you cross that finish line.
You’ll also be glad to know that you accomplished a great feat not only with your body but with your mind as well.