"You never fail, ... until you stop!"
Some time ago now several BMX racers asked to to give them some guidelines for a planning to prepaire for a new season. Jean-Baptiste Rey, a French rider did sent me some specific questions which I will try to answer in general so anybody can make use of the information.
I will take the European BMX scene in consideration, meaning that the BMX season at National and International level starts around early April and ends somewhere in October of any year. Main events are the European Championships mid July and the Worlds end of July, early August. Most National Championship as well as the European Junior and Elite Championship will be run in a series of event.
All of the information above is essential in order to prepare ones personal Training Planning. Most riders do want to top physical and riding skills (be at their best) at the European Championship and the Worlds. Furthermore a season from April till October is kind of long, which means one must try to find a balance between “work” and “relieve” during the whole period. A difficult task.
Before starting ones 2 till 2½ months General Training Program (check out the suggested training programs in this section) to get in shape for actual competition, it is essential to have your basic fitness up to a good level. Elements for basic fitness means: stamina and strength. To improve you power with an average of about 30 till 40% it will take an at least 2 months training program of at least 3 training session per week. When putting all of this together your overall Training Planning for the new 2003 season might look as follows:
Start serious training program in gym, working on maximum power (use an interval power training program with weight) in December and January. Have yourself coached by the specialists in the gym. Measuring result and writing them down is a must. Your personal coach can give you a program after this test and from there your training will start. To have a good result, at least 3 times per week training in a gym is necessary (each training about 45 till max. 60 minutes). After 4 weeks have another maximum test and compare result with your 1st maximum test. The results must have improved. The same again 4 weeks after the 2nd test. As guideline you can take the training advice in section E. 6
Besides the at least 3 times per week training in the gym, do start some running early January to improve stamina. One or two training sessions per week for about 4 till 5 weeks. For instance on every Monday do some long distance running, depending on your ability run about 4 till 8 km on this Monday. It should be a steady run at a pace one can keep on talking during running and that for the total distance set. The second time one goes running, do use interval training (ITP) at the end of January, early February you can do a Cooper test, just to find out how your stamina has developed and if it is up to a basic good standard for a trained sportsman/woman in BMX.
All of the above should be concluded around early February. Now your main progressive Training and Program will start and will take about 12 weeks. This can be a running or cycling program (ITP) in combination with a gym training on interval base (endurance). For suggestion check back on section E.7 on this site. Take good care of your work and relief ratio: if you train hard and often, one must rest equal as much to be able to recover. Too less rest in your training program (meaning not enough sleep for instance) could mean “overstraining” with a negative result for your body. This section of your personal training will take till about ending March, early April.
Besides preparing your body specifically, if possible (good weather conditions) do start riding your BMX bike on the track at least ones and later in twice a week. Just do train on technique, no pushing yet. Handling the bike, muscle coordination is now the most important part of your bike training. Training starts (fast get away up and till about 20 / 25 meters after you leave the gate) is essential too
now (technique and power). To improve your second peddle stroke, do starts with your non-starting leg as well (pied averse), not one time, but on a 50/50 bases. This will make you fly from the gate.
Racing season starts.
Early April you should be in a very good, hopefully even a top physical condition. Its impossible to keep on training like one did getting prepared for this season. Now it is important to maintain ones physical condition by regularly training during the week on ones BMX bike on the track and at least one time in the gym working with a program with sub-maximum weights on interval bases.
Another training on the bike (can be BMX, road or Mountain bike) on the road or better in the woods on hard soul again on interval base is the best on Thursday. During the season, the main and therefore the most intense training should be on Thursday. Due to a heavy training and afterwards good food like pasta’s will built up energy in your muscles, energy that you will need on the weekend during practice and racing on Saturday and Sunday.
Training program towards the European Championship and Worlds.
Depending on how much time there is between the two events, a “piek” training has to be adjust. Anyway, about 5 weeks before the Europeans/Worlds an intense training program of 4 weeks should be followed, a progressive training. One week prior to the event NO heavy training, try to relax, just practice technique on your BMX bike on the track. Hope all of the above will help you to finally find your own way in getting your body in shape. Nobody is built the same, has the same abilities. So, you have to find out for yourself what fits best. Listen / read your body, talk about what you feel with your personal trainer who probably knows you best and finally select your personal best training program to prepare for a new season.