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Practice Planning for the Vet Rider

Make The Most of Your Practice Time!

Training for a vet class rider is actually much more complicated than training for an elite rider: career and family take most of your time and energy leaving little left over for training and recovery. Planning and efficiently executing training is a must for the vet rider striving to remain competitive. The smart vet rider focuses his time, energy and effort into the areas that will create the most positive changes to his or her overall motocross racing ability; for most riders this area is usually motocross specific skills and fitness that can only be achieved with actual motocross riding.

Since vet class riders will gain the most by actually riding motocross, plans to allow for as much actual riding is a must. Vet class riders tend to only ride on weekends but many of them spend a large amount of time during the week involved in training activities such as going to the gym for strength training. The time spent at the gym, possibly multiple times per week, could be better spent actually riding. Executing an actual ride session is much more complicated than just going to the gym or going cycling but the payoff for getting another practice into the week is realistically much greater than doing any other training activity. It may by nearly impossible for a rider with a career and family to figure out how to add a riding session into the week but every effort should be made to ride as much as energy supplies allow. Something as simple and quick as doing drills after work would pay bigger dividends to most vet riders than another session in the gym or doing more cardiovascular training.

Once at the track the vet rider must use the valuable on track time as efficiently as possible. Ideally training weeks are organized where the highest energy demands occur early in the week and decrease as the week progresses. Since most vet class rider do not have the luxury of having enough riding days during the week to execute such plans effectively, he or she must divide the energy they have for a single ride day into attacking their personal weaknesses in an order that makes the most sense as far as how the body reacts to expending energy.

The best way to systematically address riding weaknesses (or limiters) is to divide your overall riding ability into specific categories and address the limiter in each. An “average” vet rider’s categories might look something like this: 1) Riding specific fitness (usually local muscular endurance which is the capacity for muscles being used to maintain less than maximal contractions over a long period of time); 2) Riding specific skills and 3) mental issues. Within these categories you will more than likely have a very specific limiter that you know is holding back your overall motocross performance. The most effective way to use your valuable practice time is to have a training objective that addresses each one of your known limiters and create practice goals. You will then create a plan for the practice session that organizes your efforts in order of decreasing energy demands.

Here is an example of a structured track day for Joe Vet whose self proclaimed limiters in the above categories look like this:
  1. Riding specific fitness: every muscle shoulders to hands give out and begin to morph into uncontrollable alien limbs at the 15 minute mark of a race moto.
  2. Riding specific skills: starts! Joe Vet gets lackluster starts and continues to lose positions during the first lap; has to play catch up the rest of the moto.
  3. Mental issues: when followed, Joe Vet rides defensively which causes nervousness which leads to the alien limb syndrome in his arms within a lap.

Training time is a valuable commodity for Joe Vet and riding time is even more rare so effective use of the practice time is a must. Joe can make it to the local Wednesday night practice but only has about 2 hours to ride. He wants to train smarter so he creates these goals at the office while he is supposed to be working on a presentation:
  1. Riding specific fitness goal: Ride two x 17 minute motos at race pace.
  2. Riding specific skills goal: practice starts; work on first lap riding in traffic.
  3. Mental: focus on maintaining loose and relaxed riding under pressure.

When he gets to the track after work, he realizes that the practices are organized into big bikes and little bikes in 20 minute sessions and it is fairly crowded. While waiting in line to pay up, he creates his specific practice plan to attack the goals he created while at work in the order of decreasing energy demands:
  1. Warm up then ride 2 x 17 minute motos at race pace. When fatigue creeps in, focus on maintaining a loose and relaxed riding style and breathing normally.
  2. Do 8 practice starts (he has to use the outside edge of the longest straight to do this) and ride one sprint lap as hard as he can go but using lines that are not part of the main race line to simulate having to pass or defend positions during the first lap of a vet race. Again, work on breathing normally and remaining mentally calm.

Joe Vet takes 20 minutes to get unloaded and geared up. His two lap warm up and first moto eats up the first 20 minute practice session. In between his practice sessions he mentally reiterates his goals for the day. He goes out for his second moto and comes in before the practice session is over. One more rest period while the little bikes are out and then he does his starts and one lap sprints. He gets undressed and loads up within his available two hours!

Trading cross training time for riding time or figuring out the logistics to add more riding time will help the vet rider immensely. Using the system of categorizing components of riding performance, identifying limiters and creating practice goals eliminates “just riding around” and “wasting” this precious riding time. You will be specifically working on the things that will make the most difference in your overall riding ability. You aren’t getting any younger so get faster by training smarter! Do some thinking and some planning to make the most out of every minute you do get to ride and train. Be smarter, be efficient; GET FASTER!

Seiji Ishii is the head coach of provides online coaching and personal training services to motorsports athletes. Coach Seiji has worked with both pros and elite amateurs including: Heath Voss, Ryan Clark, Austin Stroupe, PJ Larsen, Hunter Hewitt and Drew Yenerch. Learn more at or contact Coach Seiji directly at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

This article was originally published on Racer X Illustrated’s Virtual Trainer


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