When it comes to preparing for a new season of training and racing, there are several tricks to performing at your full potential. When it comes to the human body, you must realize that you are only as fast as your weakest link! Let’s take a look at a few tricks that you can implement today:
Test Your Fitness Regularly
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 sport specific speed, 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 efforts.
Know Your Sweat 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. 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.
To receive a copy of MotoE’s Sweat Rate Calculation Spreadsheet, email me directly. This simple resource will ensure that you are not drinking too much or too little which will help you train and race to your full potential.
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. To receive a copy of MotoE’s Food/Energy Spreadsheet, email me directly. This simple resource will ensure that you are getting the right amount and type of foods to sustain your duration and intensity levels.
Reduce Your Body Fat
It is not a surprise that lighter racers have a lower overall core body temperature than heavier athletes; this is a result of body fat to lean muscle ratios. The same principle applies to speed & endurance – 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, utilize 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 cost prohibitive) way of seeing how your body composition is changing specific to your food, hydration and workout/performance logs (relevant to volume & intensity).
By evaluating your body measurements and skin fold measurements every six weeks, you will get an accurate snapshot of your program and determine if your training efforts are delivering the incremental progression that you outlined in your goal profile. To receive a copy of our MotoE’s Body Measurements Spreadsheet, please email me directly.
Establish a Warm-up Routine
Nearly every new athlete 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 this hydrogen, your circulatory system increases its efficiency and rids itself (actually reabsorbs) of this burning sensation. In order to improve both your opening 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.
Visit a Chiropractor and 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) that are chronically tight which will help direct your stretching efforts to eliminate any future muscle strains and/or tears. An in-line spine and flexible muscles will allow for proper biomechanics which will produce faster speeds & improved endurance. Please email me directly for more information about what to look for regarding a qualified massage therapist and chiropractor.
Get Some Blood Work
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 – especially the health of your blood cells. For example, when you train 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 why – 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 your overall health. Please note the ranges that are established on your blood panel reports are established 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 nowhere 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 its demands on your body.
At MotoE, we have a staff of physicians that can read and evaluate your full blood panel results and make recommendations to improve your health and ultimately performance. Please email me directly for more information about this service.
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 (in any way) – 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 signs of injury are pretty obvious: 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. At MotoE, we have numerous cross reference tools to keep our riders from getting burned out, overly fatigued which helps them avoid injury or illness. It is imperative that you pay close attention to your body’s external signs: elevated morning heart rate, a normal workout effort is harder than normal, suppressed appetite, low motivation and excessive muscle soreness are examples that are easy to identify.
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, flexibility, 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 endurance is getting better 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 MotoE’s Goal & Objective Spreadsheet, email me directly.
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!
Thank you for taking the time to read! If you have any current frustrations that you would like some help breaking down, please don’t hesitate to drop me and my team an email. We would enjoy answering your questions and getting you on the path to success immediately.
Yours in health and sport,
Owner-Founder of MotoE’s Complete Racing Solutions