Question: I’ve read numerous articles about the importance of warming up. But often, after I warm up for our monthly club time trial, the start is delayed 15 minutes or more.
How soon after warming up should I begin the race to achieve maximum benefit from the warm-up? Clearly, warming up creates a “window” of preparedness, but standing around waiting for my turn causes me to cool down. — Ben C.
Coach Fred Matheny Replies: Ideally, your warm-up would finish about five minutes before the start of a time trial or road race. You’d go to the line sweating, thoroughly loose and ready, but not out of breath.
As everyone who races knows, it hardly ever works out so well. Races often don’t start on time. Even if they do, they call you to the line early and you wait.
One way to minimize the potential for delays is to warm up on a trainer next to your car near the start. Then you can finish just before the event and hear announcements that may change your start time.
As for how long a warm-up’s effects should last, I’ve never seen a definitive study. My own experience says that about 10 minutes is usually the limit, but it depends on how I feel. Sometimes I’m raring to go even without warming up. On other days it seems to take 30 minutes of light spinning before I even want to go harder. That’s usually the case when I’m close to being overtrained.
If you’ve already warmed up and your time trial start is delayed, don’t just sit down and let the warm-up’s benefits vanish. Keep your legs moving by riding around easily until it’s time to go.