10 mistakes that can ruin your results before competition
You spend the whole year training for an event and, after all that time and dedication, the results are disappointing! What happened? These are 10 possible answers: the 10 most common mistakes made by athletes that can be very negative for performance and results. Mistaking is human, but not too athletic when in a competition.
1) Using your equipment for the first time
One of the golden rules applicable to every discipline is not trying new equipment during a competition or a game, whether it may be tennis, cycling or swimming. New tennis shoes can produce blisters and be very uncomfortable during the game; new swimming glasses can let too much water in; tight shorts can cause wounds on the groin, etc. Now you know: do not try new things on the competition day! Be faithful to the equipments you already know.
2) Taking supplements your body does not know
More than once, novelties take their toll on us. The days before a competition, do not try new supplements, because you may end up with an unpleasant surprise. The best thing is trying new products later, and maintaining the ones you are used to.
3) Training the day before: pre-fatigue
A high intensity training the day before a competition can increase muscle acidity, which naturally decreases athlete’s performance, who starts the game in a pre-fatigue state.
4) The myth of sex
Sexual relations the night before a competition: yes or no? Well, sexual activity must also be considered a physical activity. If you turn it into a keep-fit exercise and, therefore, with a low intensity level, the answer will be yes, you can have sexual relations before an important day. Just follow a rule: Use your head!
5) Resting some time before
Trying to make sure they get plenty of sleep and maximize their performance at the event, ,any athletes go to bed much earlier than in a normal day. In case this has ever happened to you, you should notice the following symptoms: trouble falling asleep and anxiety. Anxiety can actually prompt the release of significant amounts of cortisol, a hormone that lowers glycogen in our body, and we need glycogen to give us energy during the event.
6) Controlling weight
There are certain disciplines where body weight is very important. Usually, athletes want to reach and “ideal” (maximum or minimum) weight before a competition. When the goal is a lower weight, they may reduce the nutrition supply and glycogen energy storage, therefore, compromising the athlete’s performance.
7) Inadequate warm-up
High competition athletes always do a good warm-up before the competition starts. This is a basic activity, not only for avoiding injuries, but also for the stimulation of the cardiovascular system and for preparing muscles and joints for the competition. Nevertheless, we must not forget that a good warm-up depends on other factors: for example, warming-up under the sun, with a high temperature, can excessively increase body temperature. On the other hand, if it is cold, warming-up with not too much clothes on can be detrimental to blood circulation.
8) Different foods
Pay attention to those foods that, before the competition, can cause gastrointestinal problems, such as diarrhoea or digestive problems. These are not good days for trying new dishes or foods your organism is not used to, because you do not know how it will react. Athletes must avoid great amounts of fibre the day before and the very day of the game. The last two meals before the competition should be rich in carbohydrate and poor in fats and protein, so as to avoid eventual digestive problems.
A few days before the competition –and that day, too–, the athlete must take care of his/her hydration. With very warm and moist weather, it is recommended to slowly consume an isotonic drink, even before the competition. During the activity, the athlete should drink water or the isotonic beverage very long before the first symptoms of dehydration appear (as thirst). Drink slowly but regularly, every 10 or 15 minutes.
10) Ignoring the route
This may be applied to those disciplines where it is necessary to previously know the route, not only because of the distance, but also because of the orientation and altimetry (height measurement). It usually happens that the ignorance of the route makes the athlete attack when he/she should not, and the fatigue appears earlier. Furthermore, knowing the route is very important for the athlete to control the rhythm during the competition. Serious athletes mentally visualize the way and the crucial moments before the course.