It’s 2012 and your New Year’s Resolution is to get fit for motorcycle racing or track day riding. This is it. This is the year you lose 10lbs so you can fit into those old racing leathers or beat your buddy’s laptimes. Well if you’re reading this blog you’ve come to the right place!
As part of the new Inside Motorcycles website, a few of us contributors will be blogging on a regular basis. Over the years, I’ve had a number of people approach me about training for motorcycle racing. So, I figured a weekly blog would be a great place to start! Each Tuesday, I will endeavor to talk to you about training tips and guidelines, as well as some basic training plans to increase strength and endurance and drop a few pesky pounds. This week, I’ll begin with some basic things you should consider before getting started, but first, a little background about me.
Gym vs At-Home: While a gym membership is ideal, particularly for the strength component, you can still get pretty creative with some at-home workouts. If you’re like me and the nearest gym is 30km away, building a small gym in your basement or a corner of your home is always an option. My home gym is a little more sophisticated than most, but really all you need are an exercise ball and/ or bosu ball and some dumb bells and you’re good to go!
Get Outside! For endurance training, running and cycling are popular cardio activities among professional motorcycle road racers. When they’re not on their motorcycles, guys like Ben Spies, Nicky Hayden and even Jordan Szoke can be found on their bicycles or going for a jog. While running may be more anatomically consistent with motorcycle racing as more similar muscles are used, riding a bicycle is also a lot easier on your joints—and for some of us suffering past injuries, keeping the joints happy is key!
If running or sitting on a stationary bicycle all winter aren’t your thing, as Canadians we have the fortune of being able to cross-country ski or snowshoe for the winter months as well (depending on where you live of course— if you’re in Calgary experiencing the current heat wave this winter, then go ride your bike!) I recently picked up some Atlas Running Snowshoes and I absolutely love them. It’s a great workout and a nice way to escape the streets and run on the snow-covered trails in the winter months.
Base layer: closest to your skin. This should be tight fitting and serves to wick moisture away from your body. Base layers are generally made of polypropylene, polyester, thinsulate or wool. Cotton should be avoided. Personally, I like using Performance Under Gear for my base layers. It does a great job of wicking away moisture, fits great, and lasts forever. You can also wear it as a base layer under your race gear during summer months.
Mid-layer: the layer overtop of the base layer. The mid-layer can fit more losely than the base layer and serves to carry moisture away from the base layer, allowing you to stay dry and warm. A good mid-layer can be made of fleece, polyester, wool or new synthetic materials. Polartec makes some great fleece mid-layers.
Outer layer: the final layer that protects your body from wind and rain, and allows moisture to escape. A good outer layer is often a lightweight shell made from Gore-Tex or another wind or water-resistant material. Good technical shells will also have pitted zips to allow moisture to escape.
Extremities: wool or synthetic socks, mitts or lobster-claw type gloves, and a toque are also recommended to keep your extremities warm. If the temperatures are well below zero, ski goggles and a balaclava are recommended to protect your face from frostbite…it is Canada, afterall!
You’re also going to want to fuel your body with 5-6 meals a day (as opposed to 2-3 large meals) so your body can metabolize the nutrients faster and recover from workouts quickly and efficiently. Your meals should consist of a balance of protein and carbohydrate, which you can gain from a wide variety of plant (if you’re vegetarian) and animal and fresh food sources. I’ll try to discuss both approaches (meat versus vegetarian) in future blog posts. Keep the processed foods to a minimum or avoid them altogether— it may sound like hard work, but no pain equals no gain, right! Time to get moving!