Race Fitness – Part 2
It seems that my last post here about getting ‘race fit’ attracted a fair bit of attention.
I feel a bit bad about this, as I glossed over the specifics of what I’m doing, so anyone reading that blog won’t actually get anything of much use from it!
I did mention that running is my primary exercise. Ask any boxer what the best training is for fitness, and they’ll tell you it’s all about road work.
It’s the fastest way to lose weight, tone up, and massively improve your aerobic fitness.
I run on the treadmill, as I don’t want to terrify old Grannies on the streets as I lollop past in a wheezing splutter of sweat and stitches – or spew my guts up as I fall past the 1 mile mark in public before collapsing in a charity shop doorway.
Set a target that’s realistic to YOU! Ignore what anyone else is doing – if you want to walk for 5 mins then jog in 2 min blasts, then you do that! Likewise if your aim is to burn 200 calories, do 2km, or to just spend 20 mins on the treadmill. Just remember that you do need to keep pushing yourself further and faster to get the best results.
Breathing is often the first thing people neglect. However fit you are, however strong your muscles, if you’re not BREATHING you’re going to fade fast inside the car.
Most people will hold their breath in a stressful situation, so this is something very important to racing. I might stencil ‘REMEMBER TO BREATH!’ in the cockpit somewhere!
I basically use all the gym equipment after I’ve had my run – the bike, cross trainer (again awesome for your aerobic fitness), rower, then do 2 or 3 sets on the weights machines.
Putting on muscle will increase your weight. It will also protect you when you’re tumbling end-over-end smashing into the chassis, so don’t look at it as a totally bad thing to build!
Strengthening the core body muscles is a good idea. I’m doing squats, abdominal crunches, and neck exercises outside the gym.
My neck gets a lot of stick from riding a sports bike, so isn’t too bad for strength. When I used to play American Football I used to do the ‘wrestlers bridge’. You need to be very careful building up your neck muscles, and be warned now that this one is pretty extreme, and won’t work for all of you!
Basically, you lay on your back with legs bent. Keeping the back of your head on the floor, push the rest of your body upwards so your back arches, and then roll from back to front of your head.
Isometric exercises seem to fit well with motor racing. Because you’re working one muscle against another, this will strengthen your muscles for efficiency, rather than just for show. Personally, I also do stretches for flexibility – I’m not sure of the outright value of this for racing cars, but the more range of motion your muscles have, the less likely they are to pull or tear.
I need to pick up my free weights at home (not in the gym, staring at myself in the mirror, because I find that weird!) as I’ve noticed my arms have wasted a bit, and arm strength will be essential to wrestle the car around.
I’m no expert on all this, and even if you think my somewhat half-assed approach to a routine is too much for you, DO SOMETHING!
I’m planning on introducing short sessions to my routine by setting alarms on my phone, and doing a few crunches, squats, push-ups etc. If you do just 10 push-ups a week then you’re 10 push-ups ahead of someone who doesn’t!
You need to motivate yourself to get started – then the rest will come.
And what better motivation than living every child’s dream to be a racing driver!