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Driver Fitness

 
Old 02-20-2007, 02:41 PM
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Waco Kid
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Default Driver Fitness

Does anyone maintain a regular fitness program to help with driver fatigue?

I started exercising about 3 months ago just to lose weight; I figured it was the cheapest way to take 15-20lbs out of the car but now I'm beginning to think about the racing season in relation to my fitness level (in particular the enduro events).

I have two questions:
1. From a fitness level, what does a 1.5hr enduro equate to, a 3mi run, 5 or 10mi jog??
2. What kind of fitness do you maintain. Is it as simple as going to the gym 3-4x a week?

Thanks,
Brad
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Old 02-20-2007, 02:47 PM
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mitch236
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Physical fitness is very important in racing. To be a top flight racer requires mental and physical stamina. The stronger you are physically (aerobic), the less stress you put on your body and that leaves more resorces for mental use. Endurance racing is even more stressful and the racer that stays sharp at the end has an advantage.

I can't equate an enduro to running. I try to get to the gym about 5 times a week but that has waned since I've finished my home theater...
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Old 02-20-2007, 02:55 PM
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Larry Herman
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I feel that driving is akin to powerwalking. It requires long term endurance, at an elevated heart rate, probably in the 45 to 55% range. I have finished enduros aching and exhausted, but never winded. It does not require the huge steady cardio that running demands. I work out and am getting back into bicycling, which I used to do 3~4 times a week. That kind of long term endurance made driving a breeze.
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Old 02-20-2007, 02:59 PM
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I agree with Larry. I am in horrible cardio shape but fairly strong. I probably cant run 2 miles without stopping for air but can finish an enduro tired but otherwise OK.

Of course the better shape you are in the less likely you are to suffer red mist toward the end of the enduro or sprint.
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Old 02-20-2007, 03:11 PM
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I used to run a lot. About 2 years ago, I started doing some powerwalking in the heat of the day to prepare for enduro racing, and it really helped. Now I do some of both, as well as some limited lifting for upper body strength.
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Old 02-20-2007, 03:13 PM
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I think upper body strength plays a bigger role for me than cardio. I've done lots of running. From 5K to 20 mile races. The weather, pace you chose to run, your training and the course layout, played a big role in determining how you felt at the end of the race. Someday I'll get a heart beat monitor and use it to compare my heart rate for racing and running.

I don't use a cool suit. Never had the need for one. Granted, I'm pretty soaked when I take off my suit, but much like running, that's a badge of courage and not shame. Just like running, drinking that cold bottle of water after the race is sooooooooooooooooo good.
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Old 02-20-2007, 03:23 PM
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I have run a cool shirt ever since I nearly passed out after exiting my car at driver change at the Glen in 2005. Unseasonably warm weather (mid 90's temp + mid 80%'s humidity). My co-drover/team principal was droving first stint in a GS car, so the plan was for him to pit at a well timed FCY, then have me pit next lap so he could get in and finish the race in ST. My first time at the Glen, and I was having a surprisingly stellar race, having moved from the mid 20's qualifying position to 8th. FCY came out at about the 90 minute mark (3 hour race), John pitted. Then they radioed me that he was exhausted, and would need another ~10 minutes to hydrate before getting into my seat. FCY went away, back to racing. I was beginning to feel the effects of heat exhaustion, and was starting to make mistakes, so I backed off the pace a little bit & just held position instead of charging. Finally another FCY (what a surprise in GAC....not), and by the time I exited the car, I had been racing for 2 continuous hours. I literally collapsed on the ground just after climbing over the pit wall, and the EMT's had to give me an IV to hydrate me fast.

Sadly, John took a piece of the debris caused by that last FCY in the radiator core after if was kicked up by another car, and had to park the car in T3 due to overheating.

It was 2 days later that I bought my cool shirt.
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Old 02-20-2007, 03:27 PM
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I am in decent shape but nothing great. I bike 3-4 days per week in season, elliptical and weights in the winter. I agree with the above and would ad that fitness also helps you deal with heat better. After a 1.5 hour enduro I am sweaty but not winded. I also make sure that I am hydrated to start the weekend and keep it up during. I wore my heart rate monitor at a race weekend once. My max heart rate is around 180. During the sprint race my average was around 130 and it spiked around 150, which was probably during the start. Keep up the good work, it will only help.
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Old 02-20-2007, 03:29 PM
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I have never used a cool suit but thats because I am so cool already.

Honestly I do keep a thermos with about 1/2 gal of water and a long tube with a bite valve. I usually drink most of this during the enduro.

One time in the Glen 2006 enduro, the bite valve came out in between T1 and T2, so I just spit this out and kept the tube in my mouth. The thermos is mounted at the bottom of the roll cage on by the back of the passenger door.

Needless to say when I took T2 at full tilt the water was forced up the tube, filled my mouth, and squirted out my nose - just as I am foot to the floor up the esses. That was about the most expensive pint of water I ever had!
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Old 02-20-2007, 04:09 PM
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Waco,

It is a definite plus to be in shape when subjecting yourself to an endurance race. The biggest key is remain hydrated all weekend long. You'll know that you are if you are peeing constantly. Cant miss that one!

Also, what you eat on race day is important. Avoid high amounts of sugar and fat. Eat things like bananas, apples, PB&J, and power bars. They don't "weigh" you down, as they are easy to digest and that helps keeps the blood flow where its needed the most.

Doing "something" 4-5 days a week only helps. As for me, I do 6 hour triathlons and only run mid-pack in my new to me Cup Car. I guess that disproves the theory that just beacuse your fit, your fast. Hopefully that will change this year!
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Old 02-20-2007, 04:12 PM
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A couple of months ago either Vintage or Classic Motorports had an article or two that focused on driver fitness. I'll see if I still have the copies laying around. Did anyone else catch them?
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Old 02-20-2007, 05:19 PM
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I started back to running 20miles a week +/- with cross training. The only addition is a balance ball. Yes that damn thing your wife makes you look silly trying. The ball helps out the lower back and arms when doing pushups on it. It also goes along way to improving "driving seat balance". Try balancing on one using bent knees looking straight forward. Better yet hook up your PS3 and drive a track while watching the tv and balancing. ( I will try this tonight, hospital is only 4 miles away).
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Old 02-20-2007, 05:22 PM
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It was a shock to me when I started driving how physically demanding it was. I makes me stand in awe of the two driver teams at LeMans from my youth....how did they do it?
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Old 02-20-2007, 05:29 PM
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Personal endurance racing. Austin half-marathon last weekend in two hours flat (a 48 minute personal record).

Like any sport, learn to breath. Sounds stupid, but it's one of the biggest mistakes people make - breathing shallow and/or holding their breath too much.

As for meals, I discovered the best pre-race meal for long runs and races: oatmeal. It's high in carbs and neutral on my stomach. The carbs help restore the glycogen your muscles use for fuel.
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Old 02-20-2007, 05:45 PM
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Originally Posted by cooleyjb
A couple of months ago either Vintage or Classic Motorports had an article or two that focused on driver fitness. I'll see if I still have the copies laying around. Did anyone else catch them?
Yes, there was a two part series in Vintage Motorsports. I may still have them around.
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