Driver fitness between races
Hello again, this time from Road America which is the next round in the Grand-Am Rolex Series. Two weeks ago the Mazda SpeedSource crew and I were at Indianapolis when my teammates won in class with our Mazda SKYACTIV-D Clean Diesel Mazda6. As for the No. 00 car which I drive with Tristan Nunez we led during the middle stint of the three-hour race, but a brake rotor issue forced an unscheduled pit stop. Such items happen in the harsh racing environment, but we all regroup as a team and move forward to the next race.
In my personal opinion, Road America is the best track in North America from a driver's perspective. The track is extremely long, includes every type of corner, as well as excellent passing zones that promote great racing. I cannot wait to get started!
This race weekend is also the first of two race weekends that are back-to-back events. Kansas Speedway follows this event next Saturday. Most teams will not go back to their respected shops and the drivers will embark on a road trip between events (maybe a story for the next blog, stay tuned). These next two events are the final two in a string of six races that took place over a 12-week period. The SpeedSource team has done an excellent job preparing and developing our new SKYACTIV-D Clean Diesel program during these quick turnaround events. That is the crews job and our job as drivers is to be physically prepared for the constant travel let alone the on track session. I will use this past week as an example of some "in season" type training.
I returned home from a coaching weekend at Mid-Ohio late Sunday. The plan was two days at home, then back to Los Angeles to fly out on the red eye Tuesday night. My goal for each day I am not in the racecar is to do some form of physical training. Last Monday morning started off with a 3.5-mile run around my neighborhood. Normally, I would follow this up with core or weight workouts but today I was in for something special. I was able to get on a CXC simulator. Simulators are great for drivers as it is a form of mental training. The simulator is a low-mass motion sim with software provided by iRacing and/or RFactor. Driving on the sim helps mental focus and is another tool for a driver between races. This type of Monday does not come often as the simulator was a treat and a big thanks to everyone at CXC! Not too hard of a Monday this time.
Tuesday's have become my favorite exercise day as I have found the benefits of boxing! Working a speed bag or focus mitts is harder than it looks plus you have to learn the counts for the heavy bag. It is more than simply landing a right hook on the target I will tell you that. Boxing makes you think and is great cardio. In my routine we are constantly working some form of target plus the kicking side engages your core; both items drivers need to condition. I first experienced boxing at PitFit in Indianapolis but could not do it on a regular basis. Thanks to my friends at BFit every Tuesday is get your butt kick day and learn to like it!
Sometimes we get to leave on a Thursday for a race event and sometimes we leave on a Wednesday. Such was the case this week. When I am home on Wednesday's this is my heat conditioning day, which I use Bikram Yoga. This is not your typical yoga session. The room is heated to temperatures over 100 degrees with increased humidity. A perfect setting to simulate a front engine GT-style racecar. The session last about an hour. The flexibility benefits and stretching help release bound up muscles from the previous days boxing session.
At the end of the week I am usually back at a racetrack somewhere and using the hotel gym. Running is common and if the hotel has free weights that is incorporated as well. The biggest part once you are at a race venue is to continue the hydration that was started weeks prior. Flying will naturally dehydrate you from what I am told. Food is also something to consider because we all know some track food definitely is not the best for us. I prefer the pasta with red sauce combination or plain chicken breast with a salad and vegetables. I was not a fan of vegetables when I was young, but I would make my mom proud now as the plate is cleared!
In the offseason the routine is drastically increased, which will have to be another topic for a different day!
Make sure to tune in Saturday on Speed TV for our Grand-Am Rolex event at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin. We qualify our SKYACTIV-D Clean Diesel Mazda6 Friday. Make sure to follow along via Twitter @joelmilleracing or my Facebook fan page Joel Miller Racing. Until next time