How to Prepare for a Track Meet
It’s important to prepare your body and mind before a track meet. Practice your events in the days leading up to the meet, and ask your coach any questions you have. Be sure to eat healthy and get enough rest. Arrive at the meet on time, and stay calm. Don’t forget to bring sunscreen, water, and snacks to the track meet.
Training for the Meet
Exercise.You should do cardio as well as lift weights to train for a track meet, regardless of what events you will participate in. This will help you get in shape so you can perform to the best of your abilities.
- Keep your workouts light as you get closer to the meet. You shouldn’t test your limits right before the meet. You can decrease either the intensity, frequency, or duration of your workouts.
Familiarize yourself with the equipment.This will help you feel calm and ready when it is time for the meet. Check out the jumping pole if you participate in pole vault, or get familiar with the shot needed for shot put. Practice hand-offs for relays, or get to know the hurdles. If you are a sprinter, practice with your starting blocks the day before.
Eat carbs and protein.Both carbohydrates and protein are important sources of energy for your body. Healthy forms of protein include chicken, fish, and tofu. Good sources of carbs include whole grain bread, sweet potatoes, chickpeas, brown rice, bananas, and blueberries.
Avoid soda and sugary drinks.Soda, sugary juices, and even sports drinks aren’t good for you. Choose water instead to keep your body properly hydrated.
Get enough sleep.It’s important to get plenty of rest before a track meet. Go to bed early to ensure you get adequate rest. Teens should get 9 to 9 ½ hours of sleep each night.
Follow your coach’s instructions.Listen to the advice your coach gives you and ask them any questions you have. They will be happy to help, and it'll be better to get these questions off your chest before you compete.
Getting Ready the Day of the Meet
Eat a good breakfast.Choose a breakfast with protein and carbs, but avoid greasy foods and butter. Be sure to eat at least two hours before you are scheduled to compete in an event so your body has time to digest the food.
- You should also bring a few snacks with you to the meet. Snacks such as honey, peanut butter, apples, cheese, and granola bars are good choices.
Stay hydrated.It’s essential that you drink enough water leading up to and during a track meet. As a general rule, men should drink 13 cups (about 3 liters) and women should drink 9 cups (a little over 2 liters) of water each day.
- Drink extra water to compensate for fluids lost through sweat when exercising.
- Be sure to bring plenty of water with you to the meet so you can hydrate throughout the day.
Relax yourself.Take some time to calm down before the meet starts. Practice yoga, imagine yourself in a happy place, or listen to your favorite music.
- Give yourself positive encouragement by saying or thinking things like “I am ready,” and “I can do this!”
Arrive on time.Being late for the meet will stress you out and could throw off your game. Be sure to leave extra time in the morning in case you run into traffic or have other issues.
Wear sunscreen.A sunburn is not a good reward for all your hard work. Apply sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher every 2-3 hours while outdoors.
- You can also visualize the meet and see yourself competing to the best of your abilities.
Warm up.Be sure to stretch and warm up about 25-30 minutes before competing in an event. You can do the same warm-ups you do in practice. Just be sure not to over-exert yourself before the meet begins.
Have an energy gel.You can have an energy gel about 15 minutes before the race. Energy gels have complex sugars, and are more efficient than simple sports drinks.
Do your best.Put all your passion and training to work the day of the meet. Give each event your all. It doesn’t matter so much if you win or lose if you gave your best effort.
QuestionWhat can I do to control my breathing?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerWhile running, you should breath in through your nose and out through your mouth; this will help prevent cramps. Your breathing is very important while running -- you need to get oxygen into your body so you don't pass out. Focus on long, steady breaths.Thanks!
QuestionWhat do I do when I'm nervous about my first ever track meet?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerIt is perfectly normal to be nervous before your first meet. To help calm your nerves, close your eyes, breath in deeply through your nose and exhale slowly through your mouth. Shake your arms and legs to get the jitters out.Thanks!
QuestionWhat if my legs are hurting?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerStretch it out. Make sure that you stretch before and after the meet. Jump around a little and keep your legs moving; it will help it hurt less.Thanks!
QuestionCan I first start sprinting, and then jog, and at the end of the race sprint again?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerIf you are talking about a 100m, you shouldn't jog at the end unless you are super tired (in that case you should be running and practicing more often). If it is a 200m, you should still sprint it all out. A 400m race is different -- you should sprint the first 50m, but then you should start to coast and try to maintain that speed before sprinting again in the last 100m.Thanks!
QuestionIs it wise to eat candy and sweets before competing in a track meet?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerNo, it isn't. You could get cramps, which will affect you for the worst and you won't be able to run. Sugar may also give you diarrhea and a need to stop during running. Stick to healthy foods with plenty of long-burning energy release.Thanks!
QuestionShould I go to the bathroom and do my business before the race?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYes, you should because you don't want a full bladder before the race. It makes you uncomfortable. Just make sure you go in plenty of time before the race so as not to miss the race!Thanks!
QuestionShould I eat breakfast before a meet?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYes, but be careful. You want to eat enough food to fill you up and give you some energy, but you don't want to eat so much that you get sick when you run. I would recommend maybe some eggs and toast or a bowl of oatmeal.Thanks!
QuestionWhat if I want do good a the 50 m race at school, but every other school has girls that are better than me?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerTry other races and don't give up. If you only sprint, consider talking to a trainer or a coach about working up to that point.Thanks!
QuestionHow can I win a 3000m race?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerPace yourself. Everyone else will probably sprint at the start of the race and tire themselves out. If you start slowly, you will have enough energy to sprint at the end.Thanks!
QuestionDo I have to run or jog at the meet?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerIt depends on your event. In the 100m and 200m, you have to sprint all the way. In the 400m, sprint at the start for about 75m, and then keep a fast jog until the last 100m, where you sprint your hardest. In the longer races (800-1500m), you should keep an easy-paced jog most of the way, and sprint at the end. For field events, like long jump and triple jump, you're better off sprinting, but it can be hard to get your footing right.Thanks!
- Breathe deeply! It will help you focus and also get oxygen to your muscles.
- Don’t wear new shoes for a track meet. Be sure to break in your shoes so you don’t get blisters.
- When running at a track meet be sure to not use too much energy at your schools warm up/ your own warm up. Don’t waste your energy!
- Be a good team player/sport. If you lose, don't complain. If you win, don't brag. You shouldn't be bossing people around, goofing off, making mean comments, etc.
Video: Things Track Runners Do & Say
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