Our previous blog looked at training with intensity in general which can be applied to your simulator training – for example training with the same level of intensity as in a qualifying session. We can also apply this approach to other areas of your training – such as mental and physical too.
Usually in fitness training the word intensity is related to heart rate e.g. high intensity interval training (HIIT) would usually involve sprints or low intensity training would be a light jog or walk.
However, as mentioned in the previous blog, intensity can also refer to the will, commitment and enthusiasm that you put into your training. So, let’s be clear, we are not saying that every. fitness session you do needs to be a HIIT session or a session where you are maxing out your heart rate. This is more likely to lead you to be burned out and higher risk of picking up injuries, instead we should be using progressive overload.
For example, if you are returning to training after a period out, don’t just jump in and expect to be able to the same session you may have done weeks ago – ease yourself back in and gradually build sessions up.
We can still apply intensity to our fitness training (even if heart rate isn’t high) in terms of our approach to each session and the level of focus we are giving to the session and exercises we are performing – so how can we do this effectively:
Goal setting – just like all areas of performance, you should set specific fitness goals – what areas do you want to focus on during pre-season, which aspects will be most important to what you are racing in this year and of course consider which aspects are most important for your performance in car (not just training for fitness sake).
Make sure you know the goal of each individual session beforehand! Not just your long-term goal. Working to that goal will give more intensity to the session. Whether it’s a HIIT session or r a lower heart rate session where the goal is to build the distance, then you still have intensity behind the training. This can even apply to flexibility training, sometimes you see a lot of people quickly stretch and it’s hardly doing anything, just hold for a couple of seconds and they are done. But if you have a goal, where are you struggling with flexibility or mobility? Which muscle groups do you want to improve, then focus on that – be aware of how long you are stretching for and progress this. Research has shown that by focusing on the individual muscle or group of muscles you are training, or even visualising the exercise/movement and then the training is more effective.
Keep a training log – you can use apps like Strava or fitness watches, use your phone, heart rate monitors etc. If you aren’t tracking your distance/time etc then you can just end up going through the motions, the same route, no idea what pace you are doing and this equals no intensity. With strength/resistance/bodyweight training keep a note of the exercises, sets, reps and amount of weight each time you do the exercise. Aimlessly completing the same workout week on week will equal little intensity behind it. Progress exercises week on week and change exercises when appropriate, depending on your goal and thinking about why you are doing the exercise will mean that you are training with intensity.