Fit to Race with coach Tyler is presented by : Maasto Fitness
Together, Coach Tyler and Carly hold dozens wins in motorsports and triathlon, multiple degrees and a master’s in Exercise Science, and have both been coaching athletes for nearly 10 years. Together we’ve combined our passion for motocross with our knowledge and expertise in fitness, anatomy and physiology to craft the perfect roadmap for riders to build fitness and endurance to move up in their class.
If you’re ready, we’ve got the roadmap for you!
Cover photo by Diffy Smooth Photography
Training And Racing Heart Rate
There is nothing like racing a dirt bike. No other sport requires such a high level of fitness while controlling a motorized machine over all types of terrain at high speeds. On top of this already physically demanding relationship between humans and machines, decisions must be made at a rate faster than those who have never experienced the feeling can relate. No matter what type of racing you do, from races lasting minutes to those racing hours - the physical and mental sides are huge.
I am going to focus on the physical side and discuss how important heart rate training is for racing. Having been an endurance coach for a decade now, working with all types of endurance racers remotely (dirt bikers, runners, triathletes, and mountain bikers to be more specific) I have always seen a huge correlation between the endurance and skill it takes to race a dirt bike and race a mountain bike. Both of these sports require working with a machine and maintaining a high heart rate for a successful day.
So how does one successfully and safely maintain a high heart rate for any distance of racing?
By training the body!
There are other factors when considering heart race such as hydration, nutrition, and rest, yet we ultimately can’t ask our body to do what it has never done before and expect success. This is where the training of a mountain biker enters the dirt bike world. For mountain bikers to give themselves the best-prepared body for race day they spend much of their time training in specific intensity zones on their bike. The training metric that crosses over the best to dirt bike racing is heart rate zones. These zones are specific to every racer and through some basic (yet tough) threshold testing, training zones are established for training off the dirt bike. Once training zones are implemented into a training plan a racer's fitness will accelerate at a level that random training could never reach.
Percent Of Threshold HR:
How It Feels:
Can speak full sentences with ease.
Can speak a full sentence.
Can speak a couple of words.
Can speak a word.
Properly preparing the body with cardiovascular work off the dirt bike will help the body deal with the aerobic and anaerobic stressors of racing and training on the dirt bike. The fitter the racer, the further they can push their limits racing. With higher fitness levels also come shorter recovery times as the body can bounce back quicker from the demands of racing. About 80% of the time training with heart rate zones is spent in Z1 and Z2. This may sound counterproductive to the high heart rate that racing requires, yet these two lower zones develop the body's mitochondria. You can think of mitochondria like the crank and rod in the bottom end of your machine. The mitochondria build the foundation that greater stressors can be applied (such as the force of a high compression top end in your motor). The final 20% of time training should be split up between Z3-5, with the duration in each zone specific for the best physiological adaptations.
Take a look at the comparison of heart rate data from a 3hr Hare Scramble racer and a 2hr Mountain Bike race - they both have an average heart rate of over 170 beats per minute - very similar! Dirt bike racing requires a high level of fitness no matter your age, type of racing, or ability. Training off the dirt bike will have you racing faster and safer on race day.
-Coach Tyler Guggemos
Exercise Scientist and Coach at Maasto Fitness