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[The Debrief] Do you have an on-track routine?
What constitutes an on-track routine and how to build your own.
I just finished two days at Thunderhill raceway in Northern California, teaching at a Carters@TheTrack Novice School. It’s a great environment, with two groups of 15-20 students, alternating 45 minutes of classroom theory, then 45 minutes on track, working on the topic we just discussed with instructors keyed into what students are working on. During one of the post session debriefs on the second day, the question was asked, “When riding for myself at a trackday, how do I prioritize the fundamentals and how to I structure my sessions?”
It’s a great question and speaks exactly to the principles underpinning the Order of the Sport. What should I be working on? When can I move to the next thing? How do I know I did it right? Having a clear-cut process and phased progression for improvement also helps with our natural tendency to want to work on everything all at once. To be clear: you are not going to get everything right every corner, every lap. That is true for all riders and drivers, whether novice or pro. I can count on one hand how many “perfect” corners I have achieved! But consistent improvement comes from working on one thing at time, with 100% focus, in order to build the correct technical habits into your subconscious and your muscle memory. Only then, once basic proficiency is established, do we move on to the next item.
This is where building your on-track routine comes in. First, what is a routine and why do we need one? A routine is a sequence of tasks or actions that are built and prioritized according to what it is important at a certain time. Almost all of us have some sort of routine(s) during our day — when we get up in the morning, structuring our workday, before going to bed, etc. We do the things that are important to us at certain points in time and we don’t do the things that aren’t. The cool thing about a routine is that we automatically default to it when it’s appropriate, and we know immediately when something takes us out of it.
An on-track routine serves the same purpose and is a cornerstone for improvement. I cover the topic in-depth in Podcast #69 - Why you need an on-track routine and how to build it. This episode explains how to know what is and what isn’t important in your riding routine, what elements it should include, and in what order. A part two will be coming in the near future (subscribers, leave me any comments or questions that you’d like me to address).