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Vet Class Moto Training

by Coach Seiji

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With healthier living and training sites like Virtual Trainer (at least I'd like to think so), riders are competing at older and older ages. And they still bang bars like they are 18!

Training for a vet class rider is actually much more complicated than training for an elite rider: career and family take most of your time and energy leaving little left over for training and recovery. Planning and efficiently executing training is a must for the vet rider striving to remain competitive. The smart vet rider focuses his time, energy and effort into the areas that will create the most positive changes to his or her overall motocross racing ability; for most riders this area is usually motocross specific skills and fitness that can only be achieved with actual motocross riding.

Since vet class riders will gain the most by actually riding motocross, plans to allow for as much actual riding is a must. Vet class riders tend to only ride on weekends but many of them spend a large amount of time during the week involved in training activities such as going to the gym for strength training. The time spent at the gym, possibly multiple times per week, could be better spent actually riding. Executing an actual ride session is much more complicated than just going to the gym or going cycling but the payoff for getting another practice into the week is realistically much greater than doing any other training activity. It may by nearly impossible for a rider with a career and family to figure out how to add a riding session into the week but every effort should be made to ride as much as energy supplies allow. Something as simple and quick as doing drills after work would pay bigger dividends to most vet riders than another session in the gym or doing more cardiovascular training.

Once at the track the vet rider must use the valuable on track time as efficiently as possible. Ideally training weeks are organized where the highest energy demands occur early in the week and decrease as the week progresses. Since most vet class riders do not have the luxury of having enough riding days during the week to execute such plans effectively, he or she must divide the energy they have for a single ride day into attacking their personal weaknesses in an order that makes the most sense as far as how the body reacts to expending energy.

The best way to systematically address riding weaknesses (or limiters) is to divide your overall riding ability into specific categories and address the limiter in each. An “average” vet rider’s categories might look something like this:

  1. Riding specific fitness (usually local muscular endurance which is the capacity for muscles being used to maintain less than maximal contractions over a long period of time)
  2. Riding specific skills
  3. Mental issues.

Within these categories you will more than likely have a very specific limiter that you know is holding back your overall motocross performance. The most effective way to use your valuable practice time is to have a training objective that addresses each one of your known limiters and create practice goals. You will then create a plan for the practice session that organizes your efforts in order of decreasing energy demands.

Here is an example of a structured track day for Joe Vet whose self proclaimed limiters in the above categories look like this:

  • Riding specific fitness: every muscle shoulders to hands give out and begin to morph into uncontrollable alien limbs at the 15-minute mark of a race moto.
  • Riding specific skills: starts! Joe Vet gets lackluster starts and continues to lose positions during the first lap; has to play catch up the rest of the moto.
  • Mental issues: when followed, Joe Vet rides defensively which causes nervousness which leads to the alien limb syndrome in his arms within a lap.

Training time is a valuable commodity for Joe Vet and riding time is even more rare so effective use of the practice time is a must. Joe can make it to the local Wednesday night practice but only has about 2 hours to ride. He wants to train smarter so he creates these goals at the office while he is supposed to be working on a presentation:

  • Riding specific fitness goal: Ride two x 17 minute motos at race pace.
  • Riding specific skills goal: practice starts; work on first lap riding in traffic.
  • Mental: focus on maintaining loose and relaxed riding under pressure.

When he gets to the track after work, he realizes that the practices are organized into big bikes and little bikes in 20-minute sessions and it is fairly crowded. While waiting in line to pay up, he creates his specific practice plan to attack the goals he created while at work in the order of decreasing energy demands:

  1. Warm up then ride 2 x 17 minute motos at race pace. When fatigue creeps in, focus on maintaining a loose and relaxed riding style and breathing normally.
  2. Do 8 practice starts (he has to use the outside edge of the longest straight to do this) and ride one sprint lap as hard as he can go but using lines that are not part of the main race line to simulate having to pass or defend positions during the first lap of a vet race. Again, work on breathing normally and remaining mentally calm.

Joe Vet takes 20-minutes to get unloaded and geared up. His two lap warm up and first moto eats up the first 20-minute practice session. In between his practice sessions he mentally reiterates his goals for the day. He goes out for his second moto and comes in before the practice session is over. One more rest period while the little bikes are out and then he does his starts and one lap sprints. He gets undressed and loads up within his available two hours!

Trading cross training time for riding time or figuring out the logistics to add more riding time will help the vet rider immensely. Using the system of categorizing components of riding performance, identifying limiters and creating practice goals eliminates “just riding around” and “wasting” this precious riding time. You will be specifically working on the things that will make the most difference in your overall riding ability. You aren’t getting any younger so get faster by training smarter! Do some thinking and some planning to make the most out of every minute you do get to ride and train. Be smarter, be efficient; GET FASTER!

About the Author: Seiji Ishii is the head coach of www.coachseiji.com. Coachseiji.com provides online coaching and personal training services to motorsports athletes. Coach Seiji has worked with both pros and elite amateurs including: Heath Voss, Ryan Clark, Austin Stroupe, PJ Larsen, Hunter Hewitt, Drew Yenerich, Rusty Potter, Jason Anderson, and Andrew Short. Learn more at coachseiji.com or contact Coach Seiji 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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Discussion

  1. Gravatar
    czmark December 22, 2011 at 6:40 pm

    Great article! I am a vet rider @55 and all my time in the gym don't mean sqwat on the track. Nothing replaces riding but riding. Good write up!

  2. Gravatar
    Mark December 22, 2011 at 8:34 pm

    I am a 42 year old Vet B rider which is 30 plus and also race the 40 plus class , alot of seat time is definitely the best course of action. I also feel you have to do as much cardio and core training as possible during the week. You also have to keep a healthy weight. I get at least one practice in a week sometimes two then race on weekends the races are sceduled. It all adds up, you have to fit things in to do this sport competitively as you get older. Personally its rewarding to be faster and be able to ride faster longer than alot of guys and some kids even.

  3. Gravatar
    bromada December 22, 2011 at 9:37 pm

    Balancing family, work, riding, very part time racing, wrenching is truly a challenge let alone finding time to take my 14 year old son riding that works around his school, football, basketball, snowboarding, homework schedule. It is insane. And then to try to fit in gym time, more insanity. But I love it!

    As a 51 year old vet rider who does get to ride 2-3x's a week I am stoked to read that riding smart and consistently is supported by the one's in the know!

  4. Gravatar
    Kirk Layfield August 01, 2013 at 9:54 am

    Interesting take on Vet training, I did a column in FLMX about Vet training just a couple of months ago. FLMX has an online digital version, check it out I believe the column was was in April or May, the Column is titled Training Camp.

  5. Gravatar
    Brian August 01, 2013 at 12:22 pm

    I'm a 40 yr old dude that likes to ride recreationally. Good write up. I also like skinny chicks with big boobs.

  6. Gravatar
    Nick Novice August 01, 2013 at 4:00 pm

    What about the vet rider that has to cart kids around all week and maybe gets one ride in a weekend? I seem to recall an article that addressed off the bike training for old guys. Can anyone tell me if such an article exists? If not, please write one!

  7. Gravatar
    Racer X Virtual Trainer August 01, 2013 at 8:36 pm

    Brian....who doesn't?

    Nick - here is the link. But if you really want to get the most out of your training the premium training plans cannot be beat. For 20 bucks a month, Coach Seiji has written 5 training programs based on the amount of time you have available to train. Check it out in the menu above. It's really a no-brainer to me......and the first month is free.

    http://www.racerxvt.com/article/vetrecreational-rider-training

  8. Gravatar
    Marty Lobito March 06, 2014 at 5:00 pm

    I'm 52 been riding 30 year + race when I was in my teens, just pick it up again pass 2year. I ride a crf 450 2013 and love riding more then ever, A lot slower BUT still love it I live in Arizona so only has 4or5 tracks I ride ( canyon motocross park ) and ACP in buckeye.. Need help in whoop and jump just can't get in the grove again....

  9. Gravatar
    Racer X Virtual Trainer March 07, 2014 at 8:38 am

    Marty - Welcome back. Check out Gary Bailey's post for rider techniques. Maybe he can help.

    http://www.racerxvt.com/category/professor-baileys-trackside-analysis

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