Essential Rider Fitness Series: Stamina
The Definition of stamina is “the ability to sustain prolonged physical or mental effort.” When most motorcycle riders think about this, they think only about the physical side of it; but both the physical and mental aspects of endurance are important while on the track.
Why Stamina is Important
Stamina goes hand-in-hand with endurance. I’m sure you’ve heard the saying, “Endurance wins races” before, right? It’s true. Endurance wins races.
Picture this. You get a great start out of the gate. You’re hugging corners, passing other riders, and doing everything right. You’re in the lead. Only a couple more laps to go. Then, you run out of gas. Not your bike, but your body.
All of a sudden you aren’t hugging the turns anymore. You’re swinging wide. You’re slowing down. Your reaction time is delayed. Your body is shutting down on you. It’s had enough abuse. It wasn’t ready for this race. It throws in the towel, both mentally and physically.
That’s why training is important – so you avoid situations like the one above.
The Benefits of Having More Stamina While Racing
Avoid physical fatigue. As your muscles give out, so does your reaction time. Your mind may say lean left two-tenths of a second before your body reacts. Even that small of a difference can make a huge difference during a race.
Increase endurance. Like I stated earlier, stamina and endurance go hand-in-hand. If you have increased stamina, you will naturally be able to maintain peak performance for longer during a race.
Avoid mental fatigue. Mental fatigue slows down reaction time, just like physical fatigue. Except mental fatigue deals with your mind.
Avoid negative thoughts. As mental fatigue takes hold, negative thought patterns can find their way into your conscious. Negative thoughts lead to low morale and poor decisions.
How to Increase Endurance
Cardio. The most obvious method, right? We all know cardio increases endurance. But, not everyone knows which type of cardio works best – aerobic or anaerobic. The answer is both. And the best way to train both at the same time is via high-intensity interval training, or HIIT.
Strength training. While not quite as effective as cardio, strength training still plays a pretty significant role in increasing endurance. You can even combine HIIT with strength training for a super-intense stamina-building workout.
Stay hydrated. Dehydration will kill stamina quicker than a bug zapper in a butterfly farm, and nothing in your rider fitness program will help. You have to stay hydrated before, during, and after the race.
Sustaining Mental Performance
Sleep more. This is a two-for-one deal. More sleep not only increases your mental stamina, it also helps increase your physical stamina. Getting enough sleep (7-9 hours) improves reaction time and decision making.
Plan the race. Visualization can decrease stress, which in turn increases mental longevity. Visualization for motocross riders usually takes the form of rehearsing the race in their minds over and over again, where they make all of the right moves and achieve victory in the end. Rehearsing leads to confidence, leads to less stress, leads to more stamina.
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