12 Tips for Optimum Speed & Endurance
As the 2013 riding & racing season is just around the corner, there are a few things you can do to maximize your potential for success. Think about this preparation the same way you do your bike: identifying what parts need to be improved to get both the speed & results you desire. 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 break your riding sessions to 15 minutes at a time with a minimum of 10 minute rest before starting the next session. While riding, wear a heart rate monitor and keep your intensity low; heart rate zone 2 or less. If you don’t know what your specific heart rate zones are, please email me and I will send you our heart rate zone calculator and testing protocols.
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. Please email me if you would like to receive a list of motocross specific stretches along with an instructional video on how to isolate and stretch correctly.
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 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 that it is because 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 the health of your blood. Please note the ranges that are established on your blood panel reports are 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 no where 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. Please email me if you need help finding a physician who understands how to read your blood panel results as it relates to optimum health and performance.
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 expensive) way to assess how your body composition is changing specific to your food, hydration and workout logs. By evaluating your body measurements and skinfold measurements every six weeks, you will develop an accurate snapshot of your program and determine if your training efforts are delivering the incremental improvements that you outlined in your goal profile (see number 12 below).
To receive a MotoE Body Measurements Spreadsheet & evaluation guide to determine your body composition, please email me directly.
5. Establish 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. If you would like to test your muscular strength, endurance & lactate tolerance, please email me and I will send you some testing protocols and how to interpret these results to improve your speed & endurance on the track.
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. Unlike dehydration, which results in severe cramping and other external symptoms, over hydrating is extremely dangerous because it can lead to death. Early signs of overhydrating are loss of balance, slurred speech, symptoms similar to being inebriated. Both conditions are detrimental to your performance, but devastating to your health. To help you calculate your sweat & replenishment rate, please email me and request the MotoE Sweat Rate Calculator.
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. To help you evaluate your food intake and it’s effects on your performance, please email me and request the MotoE Food & Performance spreadsheet. It will help you develop your race day nutritional strategy for optimum speed and endurance.
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. By documenting how much fluid you consume throughout the day will help shed light on how well you are re-hydrating and replenishing after riding and cross training.
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 as outlined in your heart rate data after your workout. 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. If you need a spreadsheet to help you maintain all of this data while training at the track or in the gym, please email me directly and request the MotoE Performance Evaluation spreadsheet.
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 it’s 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 to improve your opening lap speed, 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 evaluate your residual fatigue associated with riding and cross training, please email me and request the MotoE Body Analysis Spreadsheet.
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)
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!lexibility, 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 copy of the MotoE Goal & Objective Spreadsheet, email me directly.
Coach Robb has been working with riders & racers for the last 25 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 Vurbmoto.com, Racer X, FLMX, FTR Magazine and is a regular contributor to RacerX online, RacerXVT, Vurbmoto 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, Broc Tickle, Darryn Durham; Factory, Factory Honda’s Ashley Fiolek, Thor’s Jordan Bailey, Factory JGR/Yamaha’s Jon Jon Ames, Factory KTM Off Road Charlie Mullins & Yamaha’s Roman Brown. Instructional videos with Coach Robb can be found on the Coach Robb’s Youtube Channel addressing rider’s questions about speed, endurance, strength nutrition, biomechanics, and stretching and soft tissue maintenance. Please visit CompleteRacingSolutions.com to subscribe to his newsletter and learn more about various resources for riders. You can follow him on Twitter: @MotoCoachRobb and on Facebook: Coach Robb.