I’m willing to bet everyone knows the perfect song to get the fired up and ready to race. But while you know how to get mentally fired up, you also need to know how to get physically ready to race. Warming up is an important pre-race routine to get you ready to race and also (maybe more importantly) keep you from getting injured.
A proper warmup should begin with some easy pedaling to help the body loosen up and get the muscles and tendons working properly – this reduces the risk of injury. A proper warmup should also include some efforts at or above race pace so the body knows what’s coming. Lastly, your warmup should get you ready to race without tiring you out.
So, what’s my favorite warmup? Without further ado, here it is:
5min easy pedaling
10min endurance pace
This routine takes 33min and hits all of the basics. There’s a gradual build-up in intensity, there are race paced efforts, and it’s easy enough that it won’t wear you out. Ideally this warmup would take place on the trainer but for those of us suffering on the trainer after another winter storm rolls through, I understand if you’d rather ride on the road.
Now of course, there are some caveats to this routine. For a long road race, a shorter warmup can sometimes be more appropriate. Just remember you still need to ride a bit and include some mini efforts so you’re ready to go if the race starts fast (the day you don’t warmup is the day the race starts fast, it’s a scientific fact…). If you’re racing twice in one day, this is another time you can alter the warmup. Again, you’ll still want to do some spinning before the second race but the body will be more primed to go following the earlier race.
My last comment on warming up is maybe the most important. End your warmup with plenty of time to get to the start of the race. I’ve missed the start of a race, I’ve had teammates miss the start of a race, and I’ve seen folks miss the start of some of the biggest races of the season. In my case, I missed the start of a race because I was out riding around and unable to hear the announcers providing updates on start times. This is why I usually nudge riders to do their warmup on the trainer within earshot of the announcer. It doesn’t matter if you’re ready to race if you miss the race… Thanks for reading!