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Preparing for Longer Motos

by Brandon Haas

Muscle Milk/Honda rider Justin Brayton is a regular at ClubMX.

As we work our way into the Nationals and the start of Loretta Lynn’s, it is important to begin focusing your training regimen more towards longer motos. For most amateurs, you will be preparing for 20-minute motos in the heat and for those turning pro after Loretta's, you will be faced with 35-minute motos. In order to be fully prepared, a closer look must be taken at one of the most overlooked aspects of motocross training; the motos themselves.

Although every rider tends to have their own way of approaching their motos, one common problem I find is that some amateurs start their preparation for longer motos by going from the 5-10 lap motos they are used to running to jumping straight into a set of 25-35 minute motos. By doing this, a large number of riders focus too much on trying to pace themselves the whole moto and then be able to put down a fast lap time at the end of the moto. The problem with this is that there is too much focus placed on the end of the moto, rather than the start of the race where the most critical laps are run. One advantage most young amateurs have over many established pro riders is the ability to sprint hard on the first few laps of a race because they have grown up racing 4-5 lap races every weekend. As a racer, it is important to be able to capitalize on your strengths during a race.

Why is it so important to be able to sprint the first portion of the race?
In the first few laps of a race, 2-3 seconds per lap can be a difference of 5-10 positions, while 2 seconds on the last lap typically does not yield any positions because everyone is so spread out by that point in the race. This is why it is more beneficial to focus on sprinting all of your motos during the week. Justin Barcia and Ryan Villopoto are good examples of riders who are great sprinters on the first lap, but who can also match their sprint times throughout the race.

ClubMX owner Brandon Haas teaching class.

As an amateur, you should try to build on the length of your motos gradually without sacrificing your sprinting ability. To start off, take how many laps you can do now while sprinting hard each lap, and add two or three laps so that you push yourself to run that same sprinting pace each lap. You should try to match your previous times, but not to the point where you find yourself pacing your laps. Your focus on the first lap should be your sprint and then every lap after that try to match your first lap time to the best of your ability. I have found that some riders pride themselves on being able to drop 2 seconds on the last lap, but in a lot of cases (not all) the rider paced themselves throughout the moto, at that point it is possible to drop 2 seconds for the last lap because there is a large amount of energy left unused. Dropping your lap time is a great skill to have in a race situation when it is needed, but it is more vital in the first few laps of the race.

How you should structure your motos:
Plan the days that you ride your motos with recovery days in between. With our Clubmx riders, we try to plan our week with both difficult and easy days to make sure we can get as much as possible out of our difficult workouts, and focus on low heart rate sessions on easy days for proper recovery. The recovery days can include starts, technique drills and things of that nature.

When planning your motos, try to add 1-2 laps for each day or week you ride your motos depending on how quickly you can adapt to the added workload. Be sure that you are able to add laps at a rate that still allows you to be able to match your sprint lap each lap. With this approach you will gradually build towards your goal and will not attempt to “survive” your motos. If you cannot sustain the level of intensity you need, it is okay to stay at the same lap count for a few more days before moving up if necessary. Planning your motos properly will help you learn two things: how to sprint an entire moto and how to deal with the mental aspect of racing in the summer heat.

About the Author - Brandon Haas is the owner and head trainer at the ClubMX training facility, located in Chesterfield, South Carolina. He has held a pro license and raced as a professional since 2005 and continues to race in his free time. Along the way, Brandon found his true passion of training up and coming riders and has been steadily building his roster of racers who are among some of the fastest in the nation. His roots began in Minnesota where he operated his first training facility while still racing professionally full time. After meeting Zach Osborne and discussing their common interest in building a training facility in 2009, Brandon moved to South Carolina and created ClubMX. His passion for finding ways to improve his racers’ training programs is what makes him one of the top trainers in the nation. 843-623-3409

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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