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The first step in becoming an endurance athlete is to choose what endurance sport is right for you. The three most popular endurance sports are endurance running, endurance cycling, and endurance swimming, though other endurance sports do exist. Conditioning is vital to the endurance athlete, and if you want to participate in endurance events, be prepared to dedicate a significant portion of your days and weeks to training. An endurance athlete must change his or her lifestyle to compete in such events, so you should be prepared to closely examine your diet, exercise, daily routines, and every other aspect of your life that may add or detract from strong performance.
If you have never participated in any endurance events before, it may be wise to consult an endurance athlete or a professional trainer to find out the best ways to prepare for the events you are considering. Remember that an endurance runner will prepare for his event much differently than an endurance cyclist will prepare; speak to an endurance athlete who participates in the sport you plan on trying. Ask him or her about their diet, daily routines, exercise plans, and race day preparations. Everyone's answers to these questions will be different, but the answers will give you a better understanding of what it takes to become an endurance athlete.
Preparing for an endurance event does not necessarily mean just running or cycling for long periods of time. It means exercising consistently every day and following a diet that will encourage weight management, energy production, and muscle recovery. Learning to rest the body sufficiently will also become part of your new routine. On rest days, research the best ways to prepare for a race day, and comparison shop for energy products, equipment, and other items you may need for your race. Be sure to try out all equipment and energy food before the race to avoid catastrophic problems during the race.
Endurance athletics test the limits of the human body and mind, so be prepared. Mentally preparing for an event is just as important as physical preparation, and you should be prepared to suffer for long periods of time. Endurance racing is difficult on the body, stressful on the mind, and often difficult on relationships. Be sure that your loved ones and friends are prepared as well; they will see you less as you train, and they will have to watch you work to the brink of complete exhaustion during a race, which can be difficult to witness. Include them in your preparations and make them feel like part of a team.
I think the most important thing about becoming an endurance athlete though is picking a sport you really enjoy. Even though running marathons is pretty accessible since very little equipment is needed beyond proper shoes and socks, not everyone is cut out to run long distance. Trying out a few different things might be helpful to figure out what you want to pursue.
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