Fit To Race
As competitors, you will already appreciate the importance of physical conditioning on your driving. However, do you know how to improve your own physical performance? In this resource you will be provided with Motorsport UK’s Top Tips and principles to get you ‘Racing Fit’.
WHY DO DRIVERS NEED TO BE FIT?
A common misconception is that drivers ‘just sit behind the wheel’. However, as we know, top drivers have a very high heart rate during competition. They need levels of aerobic fitness just like runners, cyclists and triathletes.
They must also consider:
- Mental fatigue (concentration)
- Heat tolerance
- Physical endurance (Cardiovascular stresses)
- Fast reaction and response times
WHAT MAKES UP DRIVER FITNESS?
The five S’s:
Stamina is said to be the ability of the body to resist fatigue whilst performing repetitive high-level intensity work. In motor racing this means that drivers can perform at a higher level for longer, make fewer mistakes and have more consistent results
This is the ability of your muscles to generate force against resistance. Good overall strength can help prevent or protect against injury. Strength is very important in racing & rallying particularly in the trunk and upper body
Speed is about the quick movement of our body, including reaction time and accuracy of movement. In motor sport it is about quick responses, fast feet and rapid hands, excellent hand to eye coordination
This component is about flexibility and range of motion in your joints. Suppleness is important in the lower back and hamstrings. It allows the driver to be comfortable and secure in the driving position
A positive, confident mental approach can help you perform to your very best, however if the mind is not prepared, you can perform poorly. Training your brain helps you get the best from your body
STEPS TO IMPROVE MOTORSPORT FITNESS
Firstly, analyse your training – for example, think about how many training sessions you do per week, the length of your sessions and what sports you enjoy. You should also consider any illness or injury problems that may affect your training.
The general recommendation is to train three to five times per week with one full day recovery from all activity. Note: over-training can be damaging rather than helpful.
Think about activities you could take part in:
- Rugby, football and hockey – All the S’s
- Swimming: Stamina, whole body, breathing control
- Cross Country running: Stamina
- Cycling: Stamina and strength. Mountain biking is good for reactions and uses upper and lower body
- Circuit Training: Strength, stamina and suppleness
- Climbing: Grip strength and suppleness
- Rowing: Stamina and strength
- Racquet Sports: Speed with short response times
- Gymnastics – Suppleness and strength,
- Yoga: for suppleness and concentration
TOP TIPS FOR MOTORSPORT FITNESS
- Appreciate the impact that fitness has on performance
- Top drivers are extremely fit, but consider the level you are competing at – what’s right for you?
- Understand the requirements and build fitness gradually
- Fitness training should be fun and challenging
- It can be a by-product of a healthy & active lifestyle
- Remember the importance of rest and recovery
- Be aware of the dangers of over-training
- Plan your weekly training schedule keeping in mind a balance of the five S’s
What are you going to do? Start getting Race Fit today!