How To Prepare For A Race?
If you think that you’ve trained for the upcoming race by driving a few miles, then you are not doing enough. While going on a drive is essentially what prepare’s your body for the big day, you also have to consider a lot of other things.
Many drivers, even those who are already seasoned, can still find race-day preparation stressful. There’s a lot of hard work put in the routine, and of course, the hope that all these would pay off by winning the race. However, during the big day, you don’t want the stress to dominate your mind and body. You must be calm and relaxed. On top of this, you must be in good shape and ready to give it your all. To guide in your training, here are some tips that you may find valuable.
BEFORE THE RACE
1. Do not stress yourself
Before you start your training, clear up your mind. Set your goals, but do not pressure yourself into achieving what you cannot. Enjoy the company of other racers. Going on races creates such a big community that it’s not hard for you to find people who you can easily have fun with. Spend time with them and schedule time to train together. Having someone to run with can help you improve your speed and enjoy the time. It has been proven that when you train with other people, you become less aware of fatigue. That’s why it’s better if you train with other people.
Do not forget to build a good relationship with your team, too. They will be a big factor during your big day so it’s best if you all know how to work harmoniously.
2. Train on the route where the race will be held
If the race is going to be held someplace near, then you must grab the opportunity to train there. That way, you can measure your exact speed in driving the exact miles. You can also familiarize yourself with the twists and turns of the race track so that you’ll be able to strategize better. During the race day, you will then not worry about making the wrong turn or going to a different corner.
If the race is going to be held somewhere far, then you can at least search for the route through Google map, and familiarize it with it. If the racing organization gives you a map, then you’ll have a more solid basis. Watch videos of previous races held at the same race track and study how other drivers approach each turn.
3. Condition your car
Car racing does not only depend on the driver; the car he’s driving plays an important role in winning or losing a race. That’s why you must be able to go to great lengths in ensuring that it is in good shape. Some important things that you should remember are:
- The first thing that you should do is to check your tire. Make sure that not one of them is flat and that they have will enough left even after the tear and wear of track use.
- The water, oil, and other fluid levels should be topped up. Remember that the force of cornering may cause the fluids to build up on one side of your car’s reservoir which will lead to fluid starvation.
- The brake fluid should be new. Old ones tend to absorb the atmosphere’s water which can lead to boiling when the brakes are heated.
- Take a look at your brake pads, too. Make sure that none of them are on the verge of wearing out and are still fit to be used during the race.
- Lastly, do not forget to check the small bolts and nuts on the car. They must all be perfectly nipped up. Secure roll cages and straps in place so that they will not cause any accidents.
4. Eat foods that your body requires
During your training runs, you must have enough supply of carbohydrates and protein to give you the energy you need. You can try a bagel or toast and pair them with peanut butter. Of course, you must not forget your water or sports drink. Eating energy bars is not a bad idea either. If you’re allergic to peanut butter, you must find some alternative something that will not upset your stomach but still give you the nutrients your body needs.
You must take your breakfast or meal 2-3 hours before the start of the race. Do not eat anything heavy. Half a bagel would be enough. You can also have a fruit or vegetable smoothie or yogurt. Don’t forget to always sip water or energy drink until 30 minutes before the race. This way, you’re giving yourself an allowance for a bathroom break.
5. Don’t do or eat anything new
If you’re only days before the race, then it’s not advisable for you to do anything new. It might do more harm to your body than good. For example, if you suddenly decide to change your race car, then you’ll have to adjust yourself to its components and gear, which takes ample of time. Stick to what you are used to. Follow the same routine and eat the same food. You don’t want to upset your body balance. If you suddenly discovered a more effective training routine, save it for your next race.
6. Prepare your gear and yourself
The night before the race, be sure to get your gears at hand. Pick clothes that’s compatible with the weather forecasted for the race day. You must have these things and other essentials (read the race manual to find out what your should bring):
- racing outfit ( something not too tight or too loose; just enough to make you move properly)
- fire suit ( must fit you well and be able to give the best possible protection in case there’ll be fire)
- helmet (must have an internal lining, good field of vision and ventilation, and face shield material)
- safety harness ( purchase one that has, at least, 16.1 rating from SFI Foundation)
- shoes ( must give you a good pedal feel so you can confidently press the pedal without obstruction)
Most importantly, do not forget to check whether your car is in top condition. Only so many accidents happen due to neglect in this part. If you feel that there’s something wrong with the sports car, then you must have it checked right away.
Aside from preparing your gear, you must prepare yourself, too. Do not overtrain yourself the day before the race. Get enough sleep so you’ll recharge your body and get it in the right condition during the big day.
DURING THE RACE
1. Arrive early
It will be ironic if you aim to win a race and be late during the event. Avoid doing so. In fact, aim to arrive earlier than scheduled so that you can get things, like your car, prepared before the race starts. You can also go and observe your competition. However, it’ll be best if you stay with your team, review your strategy, and get a warm-up.
2. Stay focused
When you’re on the race track, do not distract yourself with other things. Focus on the track and the other drivers. Getting your head on the game might just be what it takes for you to win. Though it’s common to get excited or nervous, especially if it’s your first race, do not let the emotion control you. Ease your body, look for the braking points and racing lines, then build up speed.
3. Communicate with your team
Although you’ll be alone when you’re driving on the race track, you must learn how to communicate with the rest of the team. Report if you find a slight problem with your car. When you are back to the pit, trust them to do their job. Your role as the race driver extends to trusting your team.
4. Drive safely
When you’re set to win and just driving as fast as you can, it may be difficult to even think about your safety. However, this is not something you must shake off. Car racing imposes so many hazards. That’s why you must employ all necessary precautions. Check whether all of your car systems are working. Keep good control of your car. Look at what’s in front of you and make safe turns and corners.
When you pass by a group of race cars in a crash, try to avoid them. If you won’t, you’ll be causing more damage to those already involved. If you are on a crash yourself and you are still conscious, wait for help. However, if you have strength enough to move your body, then get out of the car and away from the race track so that you will lessen the possibility of other drivers bumping unto you.
While all these can help you during your race, no one can help you prepare for the big day more than yourself. If you really want to win the race, then practice is the key. Do not give up and don’t let other things let you down until you get your goal.