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Mid Season Burnout: Part 1

by Robb Beams

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Have you reached the month of July and noticed that you just don’t have the motivation you had back in January? Are you falling asleep earlier in the evening and having to force yourself to get out of bed in the morning? Does it seem that you are no longer the first one to arrive for riding sessions and weekend racing? If these symptoms sound familiar, you are probably facing a case of mid-season burnout.

As racers we can withstand a lot of stress and high load levels, but we reach a point where we need take a step back and recover both mentally and physically. Let’s consider each characteristic of burnout and suggest some strategies to help you turn it around:

Not Motivated

The first thing you must do is evaluate your short, mid, and long-term goals and honestly assess whether they are realistic given your other responsibilities, such as family and work. Do you have enough time to get the necessary workouts in to meet your goals, or do you find that riding sessions and workouts add another stress to your lifestyle? If you find that you are cramming everything in to get it all done, you need to re-evaluate your race goals. Remember, you don’t have to drop out of a race just because you couldn’t train exactly the way you intended. Instead, realign your expectations in light of the available training time. Don’t let the likelihood of failing to meet your expected or desired race results rob you of the pleasure of participation.

Racers tend to train at levels much harder than they perceive them to be. This leads to many long-term deficiencies ranging from blood chemistry values to mental outlook

Evaluate your time trial and field-testing results and analyze how far you have come since the beginning of the year. If you haven’t improved as much as you would have liked then you need to look into your training protocols; something is obviously missing. If you currently don’t have a coach to develop and analyze your weekly progress, then take your training log to a reputable coach and ask him or her for an analysis. Having an outside opinion of your protocols will help you more readily identify your missing workouts and physical weaknesses.

Take a week off from training and ask yourself what drew you to this sport in the first place. Remember how excited you were about completing your first race? Take each day of your week off and spend it going over old photos and revisiting your most memorable events. Rekindle that feeling by going back to your first race venue. Even if there is no longer an event there, relive it on your own (safety pending) and re-create the experience.

Change your training courses to include a variety of routes, or at least do your regular courses backwards. The key here is to be creative and break the boredom that leads to burnout. When did you start identifying you’re riding sessions as “training” instead of “riding”. Think about it!

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Hire a qualified coach who will watch you ride or cross train (Concept 2 rowing, swimming, cycling, running, etc.) to help you increase your efficiencies. The key to enjoying your workouts again is to learn how to be as efficient as possible and how to maintain that efficiency throughout the entire race distance. Our motto is “Work smart, not hard.”

Tired all the Time

Racers tend to train at levels much harder than they perceive them to be. This leads to many long-term deficiencies ranging from blood chemistry values to mental outlook. Each athlete needs to know their Max HR levels for all forms of training (on and off of the motorcycle), and these need to be determined by field-testing, not generic formulas. With proper testing, you can establish training zones based on specific HR levels to ensure that you train the appropriate energy systems on any given day. Remember, if you have set realistic goals and you have the appropriate training protocols in place, you only need to adjust your training duration and intensity levels to avoid over training. Pushing the envelope for extended periods of time depletes vital nutrients such as creatine and cytochrome C. Chronic neglect of sleep and nutrition only compounds depletion issues.

About the Author: Robb Beams is the founder of the Complete Racing Solutions Program™. Visit CompleteRacingSolutions.com for specific training programs for riders of all ability levels, resources such as the two MotoE Performance Training Facilities in Florida, eBooks on various human performance elements and online instructional video series. To discuss your current program or have a new one developed for you; feel free to contact Robb Beams at robb3@earthlink.net or 407.701.7586 directly.

That's it for now, until next time, good luck with your training and remember, if you have a question, log on to the Virtual Trainer Expert Forum and have your question answered by a panel of experts. In addition, be sure and check out the Racer X Virtual Trainer archive section. Your complete one-stop information zone for motocross fitness. VT Signature

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