Random Comments 3: Warming Up


Another topic in the Allen/Cheung book is proper warmup. The warmup before your event should raise your body temperature for a variety of benefits including elevating the viscosity and flexibility of your muscles and joints to simply preparing our bodys for the removal of heat that will occur during the upcoming exercise. The warmup will also activate our nervous system in preparation for the event, increase blood flow and get our minds ready. But, how much warmup is enough and how much is too much? Here are some things to take into account. Temperature: On a really hot day too much time warming up can be detrimental. If you're already losing bodyweight by sweating you may start the race already unable to produce your best power. Then again, on a cold day, not enough warmup may leave you feeling tight at the start. There is also the problem of having too much or not enough clothing on the cold days. With either extreme some experimentation and lots of experience come into play. For our early season time trials, like this past March when the starting temperature was 32-35 degrees, there wasn't enough I could do to get warm. I rode about an hour and felt fine until we stopped to get in line. I put on a jacket since the cold air was reacting in an unpleasant way with my now hot skin. I couldn't race with the jacket without risking overheating in the chest area. Of course, hands and feet were freezing. Finding that balance in cold weather is tough. On really hot days like the state time trial when the temperatures were above 100 and road temps at 112 the warm up was minimal, like 15-20 minutes. There wasn't any issue in getting our muscles ready. If anything, it was the mind warmup that suffered. Heading out in that heat wasn't any fun. On a typical Tuesday evening at the local time trial I'll ride 10 miles at endurance to tempo pace, maybe some steady state. About 10 minutes before I'll go off I'll do 3-5 45-60 second all out efforts. I usually find a flat section of road and try to ramp it up to 34-35 mph, take 60 seconds off and repeat. I used to do much more at steady state and tt pace but have backed off that over the last couple of years with no effect on my results. If anything, I'm a little faster. Length of the event: I've read that track riders will warmup for an hour or two for very short events like the kilo's. Not sure if thats true but I did warmup for about 45-50 minutes for the 5k Ohio Senior Game race and found that the few minutes standing in line (probably 5-7 minutes) really took away some of the benefits of the warmup. For something that short I wanted to ideally roll right up to the line and go. If you're only going to be on the course for 6-7 minutes standing around for the same amount of time of more beforehand isn't helping. There is no building into the event; you basically go off at 95% and take it to 98-100%. For longer events like 40k's, I'll ride for 30-45 minutes with the same intervals noted above. Standing in line isn't as much a concern since I'll be on the course for 55 minutes give or take. There is time to build up speed and then settle in. Here are some of the conclusions from the book: moderate warmups are usually as beneficial as a very intense warmup for short events like the sprints/kilo, the primary benefit is increase in muscle temperature for imtermediate to longer events, the primary benefit is raising oxygen uptake

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