It might seem a little early in the year to start thinking about your warm-up for the race season, at least for those of us who live where snow is frequent and 50 degrees F is cause for a celebration. However, now is the perfect time to start dialing in your warm-up so that you are fully prepared on race day. By practicing your warm-up before you need it, you will accomplish several things. First, you will be able to see how your body responds and adjust to the specifics of the warm-up (timing, calorie intake, fluid intake, intensity). Second, knowing exactly what your warm-up is ahead of the race will allow you to plan your race day appropriately. Lastly, the more practiced you are at your warm-up, the more positively you will be able to handle situations when pre-race events are not going exactly as planned.
In order to properly practice your warm-up, follow these simple points:
Schedule the amount of time needed for your warm-up. Add 10 minutes on to your hardest workouts and use your new and improved warm-up for that difficult workout. This will allow you to judge how your warm-up prepares you for a race type effort.
When practicing the warm-up, be sure to use the same equipment that you plan to use on race day in the same combination. For example, practice setting up your time trial bike on an Omnium or road race bike on Overdrive Rollers, track bike on Cadence Rollers. Also, be sure to practice the full set up of your warm-up equipment several times.
On top of practicing the physical execution of the warm-up, you will want to practice your hydration and nutrition plan for your race warm-up.
Now that you are working on the physical execution, hydration and nutrition of your warm-up, the next piece of the puzzle to add is to practice the mental aspects of your warm-up, visualization, focusing, and relaxation.
Lastly, be sure to take detailed notes on your warm-up trial practices in order to calculate what warm-up strategies result in the best performances.
Race days are coming fast; make sure that you are fully prepared to give it your best when you pin that number on!
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