Georgis Markogiannis has an almost daily training programme, under the guidance of specialized coach Nikitas Rizopoulos.

It is very demanding to drive an F4 car to the limit: both in terms of strength and endurance. The 16-year-old Greek athlete, Georgis Markogiannis, who competes in the Italian F4 championship, racing for CRAM Motorsport, trains as often as he can, in order to cope with the very high demands of competitive driving. Let’s see what happens in a training session.

What did you do today?
Coach Nikitas Rizopoulos: Today we worked out aerobics more, with emphasis on the shoulders. Every workout session, necessarily includes abs. The workouts are in the same pattern so he is familiarized with the exercises. We emphasize on training the neck muscles so that we do not have difficulties during the race.

Georgis Markogiannis

Which training part is more demanding?
George Markogiannis: The shoulders exercises are the ones that hurt more during the training program, so after a point it becomes quite tedious and painful.

At the race, do you find it difficult to hold your head up, during breaking or turning?
GM: No, I have no problem. Surely, afterwards there is fatigue in the neck muscles.
NR: The weight of the helmet increases the difficulty. It is also complicated to find training time, combining school, studying and extra lessons. In 60-90 minutes of training, we try to include in the program as many muscle groups as possible. Obviously, George is in a difficult age with many tasks going on. We must enforce neck muscles so they can cope with helmet’s weight.

Is it difficult to increase strength without increasing muscle mass?
NR: It is quite difficult but now we work with quite high heartbeat during our training, emphasizing on endurance in his strength. We work with endurance in order to maintain a competitive level throughout the race.

How important is the aerobic exercise?
GM: It is very important and helps the performance stability, especially in a race that lasts 17-20 laps. It is critical not to worry about your physical condition. Your mind should focus on racing.

Does fatigue towards the end of the race lead to mistakes?
GM: It slows me down, but I train hard so that I do not have such fluctuations during the race. It is important to have consistent performance.

How can you ensure that he will not get tired at the end of the race?
NR: We make our training program more intense. We maximize heartbeat for a long period of training. If we do 90 minutes of training, we try for 60 minutes to be at maximum rate. Training for singleseater racing is extreme. Obviously, it is not for everybody. What we do - for me it is outrageous - very few athletes would be able to withstand, so much pressure for such a long time.
GM: During the race, I try to breathe in straight lines and in places where there is not so much pressure. It is important to breathe properly so that I can regain my strength and not waste my energy.

What can be improved regarding your muscular system?
GM: Certainly, stamina has always room for improvement. I do not think I lag behind in a specific area, but I will continue to work as hard as possible.