Tips For a Perfect Season
by Robb Beams
When it comes to preparing for a new season of riding and racing, there are several tasks that should be completed to ensure that you can perform to your full potential during the new race season. Think about this preparation the same way you do your bike: identifying what parts need to be improved to get the speed & results you desire. Think about it this way, you would not invest in a more powerful motor without making some adjustments to the suspension. When it comes to both a motorcycle and the human body, you must realize that you are only as fast as your weakest link!
1. Allow for full recovery from last season
As the racing season gets progressively longer each year, your body needs a break (both mentally & physically) from a highly structured schedule. For a minimum of four weeks, wake up each day without an alarm and don’t allow you’re riding sessions to be longer than 15 minutes in duration (keeping your intensity levels low – heart rate zone 2 or less).
2. Establish a schedule with a chiropractor and a licensed massage therapist
When you recognize that muscles stay tight when bones are out of alignment and that bones get pulled out of place when muscles are tight, you recognize that these two modalities are synergistic - you shouldn’t have one without the other. A qualified massage therapist will help you identify what muscle(s) are chronically tight which will help direct your stretching efforts to eliminate any future muscle strains and/or tears. An in line spine and a flexible muscle will allow for proper positioning on the bike which will produce faster speed & endurance.
3. Full Blood Panel needs to be drawn and evaluated by a qualified physician
When you have your blood drawn, 99% of the time, they draw and evaluate a partial panel; however, a full panel will provide you better insight regarding your overall health – especially the health of your blood cells. For example, when you ride and race hard, you break down your red blood cells, which are necessary to carry fresh oxygen to the working muscles. If you’re RBC (red blood count) is down, you will feel sluggish and fatigued for long periods of time and not know why – you have a low red blood count. By having your blood drawn every 12 weeks (once a quarter), you can evaluate the effects of your food, hydration and training schedule as it relates to your overall health. Please note the ranges that are established on your blood panel reports are established based on the absence of disease verses a more important range referred to in the human performance world as functional health. Your optimal health and performance ranges are nowhere near what is outlined on your blood results data sheets, hence the need for a qualified physician who understands the nature of your sport and it’s demands on your body.
4. Determine your body composition (Body Fat & Lean Muscle Ratios)
It is not a surprise that the lighter racers get out of the gate and the corners much faster than heavier riders, this is a simple physics and mathematical calculation about strength to weight ratios. The same principle applies when it comes to human performance – the stronger and lighter the body, the easier it is to produce and maintain a fast rate of speed. To accurately measure your body fat/lean muscle ratios is with a combination of tape & caliper measurements. These two forms of measurement are the cheapest & most accurate (second only to submersion which is difficult to find and cost prohibitive) way of seeing how your body composition is changing specific to your food, hydration and workout/performance logs. By evaluating your body measurements and skinfold measurements every six weeks, you get an accurate snapshot of your program and determine if your training efforts are delivering the incremental progression that you outlined in your goal profile (see number 11 below).
To receive a MotoE Body Measurements Spreadsheet, email me directly.
5. Establish some base line performance numbers.
Your season needs to be broken up into four definitive seasons: Pre-Season, Pre-Competitive, Competitive (with several peak performances) and the Off Season. During each of these training cycles, you want to begin each cycle with a series of base line assessments to establish a quantified measurement of your raw speed on the motorcycle, riding specific strength, endurance and lactate tolerance. During each training cycle, the focus of your efforts changes according to your race schedule – you don’t want to be working on your endurance too much when your race schedule requires short, explosive sprint races of 4-6 laps. However, you don’t want to be working on your endurance too late in the season when you have to run 3 x 20 minute races in August either.
To receive a MotoE Assessment (strength, endurance and lactate tolerance both on and off the motorcycle) & Evaluation Spreadsheet, email me directly.
6. Establish your sweat & replenishment rate
It is imperative that you know how much and when you should be drinking to avoid either dehydration (not enough water) or hyponatremia (too much water). Your goal is to stay within 2-3% loss during each workout on and off of the bike. Research has shown, that if you lose more than 3% of your body weight in sweat, the strength of your muscle contractions can diminish by 10-12% robbing you of both speed & endurance.
To receive a MotoE Sweat Rate Calculation Spreadsheet, email me directly.
7. Maintain a Food Log
Your daily food log should have three pieces of information for each day: what time, how much & what you ate. This data will provide you a clear snap shot of the quality and quantity of food you are consuming on a daily basis. Many times the lack of muscular endurance is a result of inadequate amounts of food (i.e. fuel) coming into the body resulting in low blood sugar. Low blood sugar can lead to a lack of mental concentration, weaker muscle contractions and lack of consistent speed on the track.
8. Maintain a Hydration Log
Look at these statistics of the average body:
96 pints of water within the body
Brain: 75% water
Blood: 85% water
Muscles: 70% water
Your goal is to consume half of your body weight in ounces on a daily basis (Example: 150 pound individual/2 = 75 ounces). Note, coffee, soda, tea, alcoholic beverages do not count here. Straight, cold filtered water is what you are aiming for.
9. Maintain a Performance Log
Ironically, your food and hydration logs have a direct impact on your performance log. Think about your engine: fuel is what makes the motor run and liquid is what keeps the motor from burning up (i.e., oil or radiator fluid). Here are the key data elements when it comes to evaluating each workout: mental clarity, average and max heart rate numbers, actual pace verses goal pace (i.e. lap times, 500 meter intervals on the Concept 2 Rower or bicycle, etc.) and perceived exertion verses actual percentage of output. By answering these questions and documenting them in a systematic manner will result in more productive workouts (both on and off of the track) and incremental improvements on a weekly basis.
Justin Bogle is the new kid on the block and by the look of his first two races, the kid knows how to prepare!
10. Establish a warm up routine.
Nearly every new rider we have worked with says the same thing “I always feel better at the end of the race than I do at the beginning of the race”. This is because the rider has used the first half of the race to “warm up” - the scientific term is called the Lactic Acid Shuffle. When the body burns stored carbohydrates (i.e. glycogen) it releases a hydrogen atom that acidic in nature – hence the feeling of burning in the muscles. As the body becomes more acclimated to the presence of these hydrogen, your circulatory system increases its efficiency and rids itself (actually reabsorbs) of this burning sensation. So in order to improve both your opening lap speed along with maintaining that speed throughout the race, a warm up that is specific in duration, intensity and time before your actual race is imperative to performing at an optimal level.
To receive a suggested MotoE warm up routine, email me directly and let me know what equipment you have (i.e. Concept 2 Rower, bicycle,etc.).
11. Listen to your body
One of the worst things that you can do to your body is to stop listening to the external signs that your body is either hurt or fatigued. By tracking your morning heart rate, you will be provided specific feedback on how your body is responding to stress (virus, training, hungry, dehydrated, etc.) and whether or not you should workout today (either on or off of the bike) – our rule of thumb is that if your resting heart rate is up by more than 5 beats, you don’t train but rather eat cleanly and go back to bed. The sign’s of injury are pretty obvious as well: the injured area is swollen, hot to the touch, tender to the touch, discolored, and has limited range of motion. These self defense mechanisms are designed to provide you feedback so that you can make adjustments that will turn these conditions around. If you take pain medication, this only masks your body’s natural receptors of pain, which increases your risk of further injury or illness.
To receive a MotoE Body Analysis Spreadsheet, email me directly.
12. Establish goals and training objectives to achieve
To maximize your productivity and ensure that you are achieving your personal racing goals you must establish three sets of goals: 3 months out, 6 months out and 12 months out. The reason for the three sets of goals is associated with how long it takes the body to develop the necessary physiological elements (i.e. strength, endurance, lactate tolerance, flexibility, etc.). The objectives that are established for each goal are based on the results of your baseline assessments – nothing will keep you on the straight line of success like honest evaluation of your assessments. Either your lactate tolerance is getting better on the track or it isn’t – what you choose to do with this information is the difference between a champion and a good racer.
To receive a MotoE Goal & Objective Spreadsheet, email me directly.
Don’t lose sight of the fact that you took on racing for the fun and the challenge. No matter what happens on race day, be thankful that you had the opportunity to go out and race (at whatever level) and that no one can ever take that experience away from you – ever!
About the Author: Coach Robb has been working with riders & racers for the last 24 years and is the founder of the Complete Racing Solutions Performance Program & Nutritionally Green Supplements based in Orlando Florida. He has contributed to publications such as Racer X, FLMX and is a regular contributor to RacerX online, RacerXVT and various racing websites. Robb can also be heard on the monthly radio show DMXS answering listener’s questions about nutrition & fitness. CompleteRacingSolutions.com is a premium resource center for motocross, supercross and GNCC riders of all abilities and ages. The website outlines the training solutions used with great success by Factory Kawasaki/Pro-Circuit’s Adam Cianciarulo, Zack Freeburg, Justin Sterling & Jon Jon Ames; Factory Suzuki’s Jordan Bailey, Factory KTM Off Road Charlie Mullins & Factory Husqvarna’s Morgan Moss. Instructional videos with Coach Robb can be found on Youtube addressing rider’s questions about moto specific speed, endurance, strength nutrition, biomechanics, stretching and soft tissue maintenance. Please visit CompleteRacingSolutions.com to subscribe to his newsletter and learn more about resources such as: personalized performance training programs, eBooks, how to video series and much more!
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.