Taking on a sporting event can be a great challenge – but it can also be a little bit daunting if you’re not entirely sure how to prepare and start training.

Whether you’re going to run, swim, cycle or hike, there are certain tips to make sure you’re as ready as possible for the big day.

We had a chat with blind veteran Darren Blanks to get his advice on preparing for a race day. Darren is a keen athlete who has taken on multiple marathons since 2013, and this year alone he’s already done five half marathons!

So without further ado, here are Darren’s top tips for preparing for your big race:

Tip 1: Enjoy your training.

The sooner you start enjoying yourself while you’re training, the more you’ll enjoy your actual race. By keeping positive you’ll always want to push yourself, which is invaluable on race day.

Tip 2: Find a training plan you like.

No matter what kind of event you’re doing, there will be a training plan for it. Find one you like the look of and record your progress. Register on training apps such as Strava. The added bonus of using Strava is that you can join our Blind Veterans UK clubs – we have one for running and one for cycling.

Darren with guide

Tip 3: Rest and mix it up.

Make sure you have enough rest days, and that you mix up your race training with complimentary exercise such as pilates, yoga, spinning or lifting weights. Building your core strength will help you to perform your best.

Tip 4: Don’t try new shoes or clothes on your race day.

Make sure you’ve broken your shoes in properly if you’re doing a run. There’s nothing worse than getting blisters half way through.

Tip 5: Nourish your body properly in the weeks leading up to race day.

For any kind of endurance race make sure you load up with carbs in the days leading up to the event – this is your free ticket to eat as much pizza, bread or pasta as you’d like.

Darren crossing the finish line

Tip 6: Prepare for your big day by finding and participating in other local events.

Participating locally takes the pressure off for your big race, and helps to build your confidence and stamina. There are hundreds of local sporting events happening around the UK, you’ll be sure to find one!

Most importantly, stick with it and have fun with your training. The more you enjoy it, the more you’ll want to train and the better you’ll do.

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