Every racer wants to be fast, right? But, it doesn't always translate onto the track.
How often do you finish big race and feel like you only gave it another "training" effort?
Riders often turn up to a race meet or a training session feeling fatigued. This necessarily isn't their fault. It's the lack of structure around their training. This article is going to focus on training smart and training fast to help you become faster as a rider.
Training is often based around school, work or other commitments. It's easy to turn up to training feeling tired, hungry or dehydrated; sometimes, all of the above. These three factors, however, play a critical part in determining how much you will get out of the training session. If you start a session feeling like this, there's a high chance your not going to give 100%.
During training, you need to give maximal effort and treat it as much like a race day as possible. You need to give 110%. Lift weights as if it's your last rep. Sprint as if your getting chased by a pack of lions. Fuel your body as if you are a Formula 1 race car. The more effort you give during training, the more you will get out of the session. Therefore, your performance will be that much better come race day. Make sure you come to your training session prepared. This means getting a good sleep the night before and having a snack or a meal an hour before hitting the track/gym. More importantly, be excited/motivated for the session! You should also prepare for after the training session. Have some food ready, allow enough time to stretch and foam roll, and make sure there's an opportunity to debrief yourself. You should have a plan of action for every training session.
For gym based training, you should have set exercises specific to your goals in a written program. You should set your goals based on your previous sessions. Your program in the gym should vary depending on where you are in your season and what your strengths and weaknesses are. This is crucial as it makes you build strength and speed when needed which means you'll be faster come race day.
Cardio sessions should have specific exercises/routes pre-planned including the duration. Cardio can range in intensity depending on weather there is a focus on building stamina or using it for recovery. There is steady state cardio which is when you repeat an exercise continuously, such as, going for an hour long road ride. There is also HITT (high intensity interval training) which involves maximum efforts followed by a small break, then repeating multiple times. This is good for BMX as it allows the riders to choose specific cardio plans to replicate a race day.
Track sessions should allow for warm up, cool down, and time for specific training. Riders will often turn up to the track to hang with friends and play around. This is great, however, you need to set goals for the sessions. Pick a skill or area that you are going to focus on. Video yourself so you can analyze your technique and compare different lines or gate positions. For example, if you turn up to a gate practice make sure you have 30 - 50 hard fast gates. Allow rest in between each gate so that you can give 100% on each and everyone. Regular feed back and video examples will help you improve and give you the ability to see your weaknesses.
Rest and recovery:
So, you've done all the proper training leading up to race day and yet, you still feel fatigued before the race even begins. If you're wondering why this is, you should look back on what you've done AFTER training during the weeks leading up to the race.
Recovery is often overlooked. Something as simple as remembering to stretch post training and racing is a perfect example. There's different ways to recover and everybody responds differently. Common types include ice baths, myofascial release, yoga, active recovery and stretching.
Hot/cold ice baths: This involves putting your body in a bath filled with ice followed by a warm plunge pool and repeating 3-5 times. The idea is that you shock the body's system into resetting while helping with muscle inflammation.
Myofascial release: This is one of the most popular forms of recovery at the moment. This covers massage and foam rolling. By putting pressure on certain muscles, it releases knots in the muscles. This helps to relax the muscles which releases tension and creates better blood flow.
Active recovery: This is great as it allows the body and the mind to recover. You are actively moving to create blood flow around the body which helps clean out toxins. It's low intensity and can be as simple as a bike ride, a walk, or activities in the pool. It allows you to look at what went good or bad and why. During active recovery, it's important to keep your blood pressure in the aerobic zone (60-80% max heart rate).
Stretching: When you intentionally flex or stretch a muscle or tendon to improve the elasticity. This helps with the muscle's blood flow and range of motion which overall helps with muscle control.
Overall, training and recovery is one of the most crucial parts of this sport. These factors need to be planned and personalized towards your individual race calendar and your strengths and weaknesses. Take time to seek advice and learn to train smart!
Facebook: Andrew Hickey Coaching
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