How much effort does it take to race?

Posted by Karim Ojjeh

How Much Effort Does It Take to Race?


Racing is a physically exhausting sport. Imagine driving a car at speeds approaching 112 mph for around two hours, while at the same time having to negotiate twisting circuits and finding ways to overtake opponents. This is what a Formula 1 (F1) driver will experience when they race around the streets of Monaco. It might sound thrilling and exciting, but now imagine doing this with your heart beating close to its maximum for the whole race. Research shows that heart rates can average 182 beats per minute over the course of a race while experiencing cardiorespiratory responses and energy costs which are similar to that seen in elite marathon runners and soccer players.

In Formula 1 races, the vehicle can reach a maximum speed of 375 km/h. The highest speed limit of 375 km/h can only be done on the Monza Formula 1 track in Italy. With the renewed systems, the vehicle accelerates to an average of 200 km / h and if we consider that this is continuous, it is a really serious figure for the human body. Braking systems are developed enough to drop from top speed in 1.9 seconds. Falling from 200 km/h in 1.9 seconds also causes great pressure in the human body. This is why in today's Formula 1 races, the pilot loses 2 kilos and loses 1.5 liters of water in each race he participates in. This weight lost in just hours is a very serious figure due to the limit of the human body. If a careful nutrition program is not applied, a serious body trauma will await the person due to rapid weight loss. However, the effect of sports and planned living is also very important.

Quite simply this is not just about driving, this is one of the most physically and mentally demanding sports on the planet.

The intense physical toll racing places upon the body under such high duress makes it pretty difficult to perform at your peak performance long-term. But there are ways to also train the heart to be just as fatigued as racing so that athletes can push themselves to new limits.

How you can implement the same concepts used in elite endurance athletes to your fitness regime?


Similar to how you may exercise your heart during your workout, you can also train your heart to be just as fatigued during an intense sporting event.

Aside from the fact that we have sensory organs that can perceive the world using our eyes and ears, there’s another system in our body that is wired to get very tired — the Salivary Gland. This chain of glands manages the continual production of saliva. During your run, the Gland will start to sense the shortness of breath that is a by-product of your increased exertion. This is another reason that fatigue is actually a good thing for you. If your salivary glands start to get fatigued, they will start releasing more saliva which will have a positive effect on your running performance over time.

Experiment with having an extra drink or two during your workout if you find that you feel fatigued. This way your body’s primary stress response is designed to be used even when your energy stores are low.

If you want a strong immune system, strengthening your bones, lungs, brain, and muscles are all important as you embark on an endurance exercise journey.


We humans have an innate drive to perform at our best. It doesn’t matter if the goal is financial success, emotional fulfillment, or preserving our species. We strive to attain greater levels because of the satisfaction we derive from achieving them. The physical aspect of racing is just one more thing that contributes to increased stress and further injury. A study found that professional racers who decreased training intensity by 50 percent experienced the greatest reductions in VO2 max and protein balance while risking greater muscle damage, a factor commonly associated with an increased risk of injury. While moderate intensity training is crucial for optimal performance, racing at high speeds and in a pressure-packed environment constantly requires the body to adapt and work at its limits.

“Racing is not something to take your joy in — it’s a job. You do it for the passion.” — Sebastian Vettel, 2009

So, how do you prepare for and perform at high-level motorsport events?


One of the best ways to prepare for races is to create a baseline fitness test. The baseline is where you perform two different tasks on your physiotherapy treadmill, both for the purpose of completing them under realistic conditions.

The tasks measure your range of motion in your shoulder girdle as well as improve mobility and stability in your hips and upper back. Multiple professionals will give you an overall fitness score based on these two comparisons. Scores from around 70–80 are ideal for an F1 car but may be lowered during the event due to specific driver performance.

Please join our driver's community so we can enjoy our passion as a group. You can always find great exercising tips for racing in our blogs.


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