-Overcome obstacles and setbacks
-Coachable and willingness to learn
-Can perform under pressure
-Can step outside of your comfort zone (or stretch your comfort zone)
-Have a plan
-Great work ethic
-Be open to change and failure
As you can see, many of the skills that are needed in sport also work great in life. If you are thinking about signing up for a race/event, and you have a few of the skills listed above that you use in your every-day life, I have a feeling you are going to be very successful when you dedicate yourself to training for a race.
I discovered endurance running while I was in graduate school and quickly endurance triathlons followed. I was hooked immediately when I crossed my first marathon finish line because I not only felt a great sense of achievement and accomplishment but I also really enjoyed the amazing journey that I was able to experience with my body and mind while training for my race.
-If there is an activity that you are allowed to do (pain free), don't be afraid to change up your routine
What's most important is that you focus on yourself so you can stay balanced. What's great is that your sport of choice will not disappear in the next year. There will be more races and even if you have to change up your plans, you never have to lose sight of your goals.
-Consider getting involved with more groups so that your focus is not on "training" but instead working-out and exercising.
-Don't try to stick a plan if the plan is not accommodating to your new "life" or change. Maybe you can't follow a 6-7 day training plan like you use to but if you have a few days each week here or there that you can enjoy a little "me" time, take advantage of it.
-Communicate. Whether you need support from friends or need to talk to your family, it's important that you still stay active for health benefits. Find a balance.
-Your motivation and inspiration will never go away so why not help someone else train for an event. Perhaps you can not maintain a structured training plan but your enthusiasm for sports can be a great asset for someone who is just starting out.
-As an athlete, you are no longer working out just to "be healthy" or "burn calories". Be sure to fuel your body so that you can adapt to training stress and recover well.
-Work with a coach so you can follow a plan that works for your goals, lifestyle and body. Remember, you are an athlete so a plan will have structured workouts to help you prepare for your upcoming race/event.
-Enjoy your athlete body. Your muscles may change, your heart may pump more quickly at times, your legs may burn and you may sweat more than normal. Enjoy what your body is letting you do and always thank your body for what it allows you to do.
-Involve others. Find other new and veteran athletes who can share your journey with you. The veteran athletes can give you advice and can also keep you motivated whereas your newbie athlete friends can share the excitement with you when milestones are reached.