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Race Day Warm Up
07 June 2010
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Very few cyclists warm up properly, some do nothing at all
except ride to the line. Some of the reasons for this are
uncertainty about what to do or concern that they will waste
The 2 elements that need attention in your warm up is your
muscular system and your nervous system - both contribute to your
performance. If you yawn on the line, your nervous system is still
asleep and you didn't warm up effectively.
Race starts are hard in every category, this will never change
and if you are not warmed up then you will burn your chances of a
decent ride in the first 5 minutes and ride much slower than your
ability. It's really easy to test how silly it is not to warm up;
climb on your bike from home and red line your effort from the
first pedal stroke. At a race start, brain chemicals suppress your
awareness of the agony of this to some degree but doing it from
home will make you acutely aware of how negatively this impacts
your riding ability.
So, here is the fix:
- Start low cadence, easy gear, warming up the muscular system
over 10 minutes by working through your gears, picking up leg speed
- 3 - 5 min hard effort (nervous system activation)
- 2 min easy spin
- 3 - 5 min hard effort
- 5 min easy spin (remove lactate from bloodstream)
- Finish warm up 10min - 20min before start.
Now you are ready to race!
Whilst you will see variances on warm up strategy, they should
all follow the same pattern of muscular system warm up followed by
nervous system activation and then easy pedal. Also, they should
all be a reasonable length of time, +/- 25 minutes. You will be
safe with the above.
by Mark Carroll
UCI Level 2 Cycling Coach
Cadence Cycling Performance Centre
214 Heritage Market
Old Main Rd