Last week we talked about some basic training goals and equipment you should consider before getting started on your training plan to become a more fit motorcycle racer or track day rider for 2012. Hopefully by now you’ve identified your goals, organized your gear, and you’re ready to get started!
I also mentioned last week the importance of endurance, strength, flexibility and nutrition when it comes to putting together a good training plan. This week, I’m going to focus on the endurance component of training.
They say that 80% of motorcycle racing is “between the ears”. It is a sport that requires a great deal of focus and concentration, and if you lack the aerobic capacity to deal with those G-forces and extreme temperature conditions, you will tire more easily and your mind will start to wander—taking away from that all important focus required to navigate your motorcycle around the racetrack as quickly as possible.
Have you ever noticed that most crashes happen at the end of a day at trackdays? That’s often because riders are tired and worn out from riding all day long, their focus starts to wander, and mistakes are made. You can avoid some of this by being in top aerobic condition.
For a motorcycle racer in Canada, the training periodization may look something like this:
- January- March: General preparation- Basic preparation, base building exercises
- March-April: Specialization- more targeted, specialized exercises, trackdays
- May-September: Competition- this is race season!
- October- December: Transition- winding down at the end of the season, preparing for next year.
While these phases apply to your entire training program (including strength and endurance), for now let’s just focus on the Endurance component, specifically the General Preparation phase.
Not everyone knows their maximum heart rate. There’s a number of ways to obtain this information either by general calculations or a more specialized lactic threshold or V02 Max test. I’ll get into training with heart rate in a later blog post, but for now one of the more general ways to ensure you are training at 60%-70% of your maximum heart rate is to pass the “talk test”. This means that you should be able to workout at a certain pace for a sustained length of time (several hours if needed) and be able to continue to carry on a conversation with someone. If you’re huffing and puffing and can barely get the words out, chances are you’re training in your anaerobic zone, which does nothing to help your build your aerobic foundation.
So, if you’re guilty of going as hard as you possibly can each time you go for a run or jump or your bicycle, always striving to beat last week’s time, then you’re probably training in your anaerobic zone and not helping to build your foundation at all. If you’re doing this, you’re training without a direction or purpose; you’re wasting your time. I like to call these “garbage workouts”. So let’s look at a sample training program for this week, to make the most use of your time.
- Tuesday: 30-45 minutes
- Wednesday: 45-60 minutes
- Thursday: 45-60 minutes
- Friday: 30 minutes
- Saturday: 60-75 minutes
- Sunday: 60-120 minutes
- Monday: Off (Rest Day)
You can adjust the training days according to your own personal schedule, however be sure to include atleast one day a week or rest to allow your body to recover. I like to pick Monday as my rest day, as during the racing season I like to take a day off following a long weekend of travel and racing. In the winter, my rest day also follows my longer workout days—which are Saturday and Sunday, as it is the weekend and usually allows for more time to train.
Again, these are some simple guidelines to follow. Your plan may vary less or more depending on your fitness background. The key is to start to build your aerobic base by participating in an easy, continuous activity for a period of time.
Some common activities that people mistake for aerobic, but that are actually anaerobic in nature (training towards your maximum heart rate) include: hockey, downhill skiing, aerobics, spin classes or any other activity where you are required to do short bursts of action followed by a period of rest at one time. While these are all great activities, they should act as a supplement to your regular aerobic base training.
Alright, so give the above plan a try and I’ll start to build on that again next week, when we start to slowly introduce strength and flexibility to the equation as well.
Feel free to comment if you have any questions or concerns, and in the meantime we’ll see you next week here on the blog!