Motorsport can be a logistical nightmare. While professional drivers have to juggle media and sponsorship commitments on top of their own preparation, amateurs and semi-professional drivers have to do the same, but on top of full or part time employment. This can present an array of scheduling issues.
Where do you find the time to work on your physical and mental development as a driver, while you have all these other factors to consider; paid employment, cleaning and maintenance on the racecar and hauler, developing the car, sponsorship relations and everything else that comes with being a successful motorsport athlete? There is only so many hours each day, right? Correct, but let’s look at some methods we can employ so you can still allocate an adequate amount of time, effort and energy into your development as a motorsport athlete.
First of all, why is your physical development important as a motorsport athlete? The foundation of motorsport strength and conditioning is to have the athlete functioning and performing at the top of his or her ability, giving the athlete the best chance of winning the race. Essentially, when an athlete is fatigued, their reaction time and motor skills deteriorate (Pavelka et al, 2020). This could mean missing your marks in the closing stages of the race which could be the difference between winning and losing. Motorsport is a symphony of man and machine, and it takes both to win (or lose) races, so you are doing yourself and your team a disservice if you’re not in the best shape possible to win races.
Successful athletes work hard to gain any and every advantage possible over their fellow competitors, and there are several ways to achieve this. For example, if your car is on minimum weight, but you aren’t, there is weight to be lost to achieve a greater power to weight ratio. Sore arms or hands in the closing stages of the race? Let’s simulate this in the gym and target the areas which need improvement so when it comes to the race, you’re not fighting fatigue to get the car where you want it. Sore neck after the race or struggling with neck pain during high-speed corners? Let’s look at some neck and structural balance development. Now these are very brief examples, and the approach is different for each athlete and his or her needs, but you get the idea!
Now we have established the importance of the physical development of motorsport athletes, which is all well and good, but how do you find time to train with everything else going on? Well, here is our top-two tips and tricks for you to employ into your daily routine!
- Preparation is key – know what you need to do!
First and foremost is adequate preparation. Develop a plan and don’t leave anything to chance. If you don’t have a monitored, structured and personalized workout routine, get one. The busier you are, the more important this is. Now how do you fit this into your schedule? If you work a 9-5 and have car maintenance to do after work, set that alarm early and hit the gym before work! Morning sessions not feasible? Try shooting away on your lunch break to have a workout during the day, this brings us to our next point – efficiency!
- Be efficient with your time and energy!
There is little point spending 3 hours at the gym, when the same desired result could be achieved in 45 minutes. It is essential that when you’re in the gym that your recovery between sets, exercise choice, rep range and program structure is optimized to suit you and your lifestyle. Another way of being efficient with your time can be multi-tasking and changing up everyday activities. Need to burn some more calories? Take the stairs or walk to work. Woke up too late to train? Hit a quick 20-minute home workout to make up for it! Catching up with a friend or sponsor for a coffee? Go for a coffee & walk instead. Efficiency in a busy schedule means making things work, so think outside the box and see what works for you and your situation!
Any performance coach can recognize that sometimes fitting in workouts are difficult and require some work from both the athlete and coach to find a schedule and program that works for the athlete’s lifestyle. It is essential that you take a holistic lifestyle approach to wellbeing and performance. Be sure to contact one of our team if you’d like to go over how we can help you work around your busy lifestyle.
Pavelka, R., Třebický, V., Třebická Fialová, J., Zdobinský, A., Coufalová, K., Havlíček, J., & Tufano, J. J. (2020). Acute fatigue affects reaction times and reaction consistency in Mixed Martial Arts fighters. PloS one, 15(1), e0227675. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0227675