You do not need to be an elite athlete to compete in recreational fitness events. While certain events are geared more toward those individuals with an elevated fitness level, there are hundreds of events nationwide annually that are designed to encourage and welcome those individuals with an average level of fitness to participate.
It is important to choose wisely in terms of which events to register and train for based upon your specific limitations and fitness experience. Matching your fitness level and skill level to an event’s protocols and requirements may ensure that your event participation is a positive experience.
The benefits of participating in a fitness event range from providing you with a specific goal to train for, which may lead to a lifetime of fitness successes to training with a group of friends, family or colleagues bringing all of you closer as a group. There are a few tips to consider from making the right event choices to training protocols presented below. So prior to registering for and committing to an event, check out these suggestions and, as always, before you participate in any exercise program or event, please consult your physician.
Tip #1 If you are new to participating in any fitness events, discuss your interest in doing so with your fitness professional. They know you and your limitations and may be able to provide you with specific guidance regarding your entrance into the fitness event arena.
Tip #2 While it is great when a group of friends/family/colleagues want to include you in their entrance into a fitness event, make certain it is the right event for you. As a 30-year fitness professional, I have had clients end up injured or just turned off from participation when they were encouraged to participate in an event that either did not match their current skill or fitness level or did not allow for addressing their specific limitations.
Tip #3 Take baby steps if you are a novice and perhaps train for a 5K walk/run/ski event.
Tip #4 If you are accustomed to participating in events, but have not done so for a while, take a step back and choose a few shorter, less intense events to begin the mental and physical preparation for the more ambitious events.
Tip #5 The goal is to train smart and stay healthy prior to the event and to perform smart and remain healthy during and following the event. Therefore, hiring a qualified, certified, experienced trainer/coach to design your training program is well worth the investment. Following a training program that your friend or spouse has performed is generally not advised as we are all individuals. Consequently, strive to obtain an individualized program for you, specifically for this event.
Tip #6 Part of the value of hiring a trainer/coach is that you will together create your goals/objectives for this event and the trainer will make certain that the goals/objectives are realistic. For example, if you decide in May that you would like to run a marathon in July, and you do not have any previous experience doing so, your trainer may advise you to choose an event further into the future and to work toward that lofty goal over time safely and effectively.