5 Ways to Train in the Rain
Storms are sweeping the nation, and riders are left looking through the window scratching their heads wondering how they can prepare for their next race. The racing season is in full swing, and there is no time for the serious racer to take the time off while sitting by the fire drinking cocoa.
1). Study Race Footage
This is one commonly overlooked aspect in BMX racing. In other sports, “studying film” is an important part of the process. There are many ways to study film in BMX Racing, and it is probably best to spend a little bit of time with all of them. The first footage to study is your own. By watching your habits in the turns, over jumps, and out of the gate, you will notice some things to work on once the tracks do dry-up. It is, however, difficult to know what is good and bad, without comparing yourself to your competitors.
Thus, step two. By watching your competitors closely, you will notice what they’re doing, and may allow you to incorporate those things into your riding. Why stop at your competition however? Take a look at pro racing, and study it closely. Don’t just watch the race, choose a rider and watch their every move. Notice where they are pedaling, pumping, pulling and pushing. YouTube is a great place to watch races, but BMX-VIDEOS.COM also has a great archive of European BMX racing (link below).
2). Head to the Gym
When it comes to gym work, what’s needed is very dependent on the riders’ needs and age. But one thing that’s certain, getting a workout in is much better for your racing than watching the entire Harry Potter saga waiting for tracks to dry. Last week, Shawn DiPrete took us to the gym, showing us five great exercises. Be sure to watch his video in the links below.
3). Exercise Indoors
If you don’t have a gym membership, there are plenty of great BMX-related exercises that can be done indoors. Squats and plyometrics are great to build some power in the legs, but upper body and core are also important for BMX Racing. A nice combination of jump-squats, pushups, and situps / planks make for a great BMX-specific workout right in your living room, and meet the “no excuses” threshold.
4). Indoor Bike Riding
Riding an indoor track would be great, but most do not have this luxury. A good majority of racers do however have access to a spin bike, rollers, or a trainer. It’s important to remember what you are training for when riding the stationary bike of your choice. BMX is a short sprint, and riding rollers at a slow pace for two hours likely will do little to improve your overall crank-spinning game. Below, TeamThoff athlete, Daniel Franks, gives a perfect example of a relatively short, high intensity sprint. Franks sprinted for about five seconds at all-out effort. This high-cadence sprint is much closer to what you’d see on the track, making it a great rainy day activity.
5) Train in the Rain
Why not!? Obviously, there are limitations to riding tracks in the rain, but asphalt stays perfectly solid. Put on your full face helmet, gloves, and a rain coat and get sprinting! Pro tip: If you’re able to do sprints in front of your house, keep the garage open with a propane heater and camp out in the dry garage during your two to five minute break between sprints. Also, if there’s lightning, skip this one til it’s safe.
I’m going to be honest and tell you that Saturday, I had sprints on my training schedule, but it was raining pretty hard. I really wanted to skip sprints and just do the prescribed gym work, but I decided to check the weather and tough it out. By looking at an hourly forecast, I found a slight break in the clouds at 3PM, and planned my day around that. As you can tell by the picture, it was cold, windy, and I wasn’t too stoked to be pumped. But after completing the sprint session, I felt a small sense of accomplishment. For some reason, sprinting in poor conditions gives me a Rocky Balboa feeling of dedication. Plus the guilt of skipping training can lead to self doubt which is never ideal leading into a race. AND, there are times when we have to race in the rain…so it’s wise to get used to it in our training.
Bonus: Rocky Knows How to Train
If you haven’t decided to do some sort of training during the rainy season, please watch this video of every Rocky Balboa training scene.
- Bryce Betts (With some brainstorming help from Donny Robinson – Thanks!)