By now you’ve probably seen a few stages of the Tour de France already and have seen some of shots of the riders warming up on trainers before the start of a stage. Ever wonder why they’re on those trainers before going out and riding for 4-5 hours? It’s not so the paparazzi can get their photos.
They’re on those trainers getting their bodies warmed up and ready to ride before the stage starts. If they don’t do this before the stage starts they won’t be ready for the physical stress of the stage and will likely perform poorly on the stage and risk potential injury.
The same goes for those of us who are just struggling to get our daily mileage in. If we don’t warm up properly we won’t be able to reap the benefits of our training.
Up until a few weeks ago I really didn’t warm up at all. I would hop on the bike and start out at 15-17 mph even though my target speed for my century is 15 mph. Starting out fast like that made me suffer later in the ride because I had not adequately warmed up and expended too much energy early.
Since then I have become religious in doing a 30 minute warm up before actually starting my training ride. That 30 minutes equates to six miles for me and seems to work good. I had no plan for how I would do my warm up other than easy spinning with a gradual increase in my speed over those first 6 miles until I was at 15 mph at mile 6. It seems to work for me and actually follows the stair-step format for the general warm up in the article I talk about below.
The article is a Cyclist Guide to Warm-Up: General to Specific and it has some pretty good info on why you need to do a warm-up and what you should do as a beginner, intermediate or advanced cyclist. A pretty interesting read.
So, do you warm up? If so, how, and if not, why?