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Spring Training

by Editor


This article on getting back to training after a long winter's break is from the Training Peaks website. If you are not familiar with the site, I highly recommend you start browsing its vast library of articles. It may be a website that caters to the endurance crowd, but there is a lot of info that transfers to the motocross athlete. I've added my comments in BOLD below and this is one such article. - Virtual Trainer

This article is reprinted from
By Lindsay Hyman

Spring is around the corner and many athletes will finally get back to riding and running outside. With that comes a bump in motivation, but it can also lead to injuries. You get excited about your workouts, being outside again and you feel like a superhero. Then one day your knee is a little sore after a ride. You push through it for the next few days and now it’s hurting when you walk as well as when you ride. Finally someone notices you wince as you go down the stairs. “I’m fine,” you say, but in reality you’re suffering from an overuse injury.

What causes overuse injuries?

Overuse injuries are often caused by mechanical fatigue when tendons, ligaments, muscles and other soft tissues become excessively fatigued without adequate recovery. Frequently, endurance athletes experience overuse injuries such as IT-Band syndrome and patella or Achilles tendonitis due to abruptly increasing training volume or intensity with poor biomechanics and insufficient rest. Typically, it is not one training session that brings on an overuse injury; they typically result from repetitive trauma to tendons, bones and joints.

So, how can you take advantage of your early-season enthusiasm but still avoid an overuse injury? Follow these 5 guidelines:

1. Increase training load gradually

A general rule of thumb in endurance sport is to not increase training load more than 10% week over week and I tend to be conservative and recommend 8% to be on the safe side. For example, if you are riding a total of 6-hours this week a 10% increase would equal about 30 minutes, which means the following week training should be capped around 6.5-hours. By logging your training in TrainingPeaks® you can also track your training progression through Performance Management Chart (PMC). The Chronic Training Load (CTL) takes into consideration both volume and intensity of your training to measure the increased chronic stress of training over a period of time. - [This rule of thumb not only applies to off the bike training but also applies to riding your motorcycle. If you have been off the bike all winter, don't expect to go to your local track this weekend and put in 4 hours of riding. Start off with a reasonable volume and add to that each weekend. - VT]

2. Pay attention to mechanics

Improper technique is also a major factor in tendonitis types of injuries, especially in endurance sports that feature highly repetitive motions. If a cyclist has a poor bike fit and they ride for 1-hour at 85rpm, they are pedaling 5,100 revolutions with a cycling position that is potentially aggravating tendons in the ankle, knee, or hip! If you’re attentive and address the problem quickly you can often prevent it from becoming a chronic injury. - [This is particularly important for the motocross athlete who most likely has horrible bike or running mechanics. Since we are not endurance sport experts we tend to think we can get away with poor mechanics.- VT]

3. Include sufficient rest

Your body is amazing at adapting to training stress and even adapting to changes in your biomechanics. But adaptation takes time and recovery. Ideally, athletes should include at least 1 day of complete rest for every 7 to 10 days of training. - [If you follow the Virtual Trainer website you know my opinion here. Rest is exactly half of the training equation. It is ALWAYS better to be undertrained than even slightly overtrained- VT]

4. Identify good pain versus bad pain

Good pain is a result of overload from a training program that features progression. If you’re adapting well to the training, soreness or pain will be absent the next day and you’ll have the energy for a high-quality workout. Pain that remains present and relatively constant throughout a workout, even if it lessens a bit after a good warmup, is an indication that you’re pushing beyond your body’s ability to recover.

5. Warm up properly

A proper warm up may last 10-20 minutes depending on the length and intensity of your training session. A more intense training session may require a slightly longer warm-up period. The jury is still out on whether stretching – dynamic or static – reduces the likelihood of tendonitis, but you can’t go wrong by increasing blood flow to working muscles through a warm-up routine. - [A good warm-up also applies at the track. Do not rely on "the first few laps" as an adequate warm-up. This is the protocol I use on all my riders. - VT]

Treating an existing injury

If you suspect you might have an overuse injury, the first step in early treatment should be proper diagnosis. [Whether you experience an injury at the track, in the gym, or out on the trails, please make sure you read this article from the guy who coined the term RICE.

Bottom line....

"If you are injured, stop exercising immediately. If the pain is severe, if you are unable to move or if you are confused or lose even momentary consciousness, you should be checked to see if you require emergency medical attention. Open wounds should be cleaned and checked. If possible, elevate the injured part to use gravity to help minimize swelling. A person experienced in treating sports injuries should determine that no bones are broken and that movement will not increase damage. If the injury is limited to muscles or other soft tissue, a doctor, trainer or coach may apply a compression bandage. Since applying ice to an injury has been shown to reduce pain, it is acceptable to cool an injured part for short periods soon after the injury occurs. You could apply the ice for up to 10 minutes, remove it for 20 minutes, and repeat the 10 minute application once or twice. There is no reason to apply ice more than six hours after you have injured yourself"- VT]

If you’re an endurance athlete with training or competition goals that are important to you, visit a physical therapist if you’re experiencing symptoms of an overuse injury. There may be treatments and specific exercises you can do to accelerate your recovery. When you’re ready to get back to training work with a certified coach or biomechanics expert to assess your cycling position, running form and/or swimming technique to ensure you are incorporating appropriate technique. Of course in the future you will want to utilize the 5 guidelines above to avoid an overuse injury in the first place. Remember, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

A very import step upon returning to active training is to make sure you are re-conditioning your body to operate with proper biomechanics. This may mean taking a step back in the intensity of your training so you can focus on technique for a while, and then begin increasing training load by a conservative 5-8% per week for the first 2-3 weeks back to training.

Remove the Guesswork

At Virtual Trainer, we believe there is a right way to train for motocross. It starts with having a clear goal, finding expert instruction (on and off the bike), performing structured training and receiving immediate feedback throughout the process. Coach Seiji (Andrew Short's longtime trainer) has teamed up with Virtual Trainer to offer our audience an exclusive motocross community geared towards improving your performance on and off the track. The community offers motocross specific training plans designed by one of the best – to help you achieve your best performance. This is literally a one-of-a-kind training and conditioning experience for you, the motocross athlete.

About the Author - Lindsay Hyman has a Masters of Science in Exercise Physiology, is a Pro Level coach with Carmichael Training Systems, and is a USA Triathlon Level 2 certified coach. She has been coaching for 11 years and works with athletes looking to finish their first Ironman to athletes who have won at the World Championships in Kona. Lindsay's passion for triathlon began at the age of 7 at a local Ironkids race and she still competes in ultra-endurance events today. Her coaching philosophy is to provide indispensable tools, education, and experience to develop an athlete’s potential within sport and in life. For information on personal coaching, training camps, and Endurance Bucket List events, visit

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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  1. Gravatar
    Mark s March 14, 2016 at 5:04 pm

    I would like to add something to the mechanics part of the article as it is very important but also the effort that goes into it. Sure when Dungey comes off the track and look like he hasn't broken a sweat and most of it is because he is in great shape but also if you watch him he also seems to use as little effort as possible.

    What I mean is if you could test the pressure he is using to squeeze the bike maybe he is using 10 lbs of pressure but maybe he used to use 25 lbs of pressure and of course it takes less effort to apply 10 lbs of pressure to the bike on and off for the entire race then 25 lbs of pressure and of course that means you won't be as tired using less pressure because you are using less effort.

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