As busy endurance athletes we generally also have busy work and social life often leading to getting to our training session feeling rushed and agitated and therefore getting straight into work without really getting the body ready for its purpose of the session. Each session we take part in should have an element of warming up but how long and what should we do?? Lets look this as warm ups are a great way to get the body and also the mind ready for the session. Here are the Key factors of why they are important
1 – Raising core temperature to help the soft tissue, circulatory system and central nervous system
2 – Helps the body start to flush or rid any lactate acid build up
3 – It will also help engage our minds to what we have coming up ahead often leading to a better executed session
4 – It allows the muscles to become more supple
5 – It takes time for the HR to rise in a session, often lagging behind it can take 10-20 mins to rise properly, which in turn will enable us to inline the targets of the session coming up ahead
6 – Better oxygen uptake to the muscles
Warm up for an endurance session
In general endurance sessions are lower intensity often going to feel, making sure it easier work or staying in a lower Z2 HR or power. The key to this sessions is letting the HR rise slowly as it can ‘lag behind’. The HR can take 10-20 mins to rise properly, so by going out thinking we are aerobic can often lead us to be working to a higher intensity than we were expecting. So by sticking to lower targets of RPE of HR/Power zones it will enable the body to prepare for the session ahead. You can start with just purely doing a warm up of lighter work in the discipline that your working at in that session, or you can also add in drills or stretches, although having some time at lighter work first off has proven to help these movements.
Warm up for an intensity session
This can be slightly different as your preparing for a different session completely, often a lot more demanding on the body its important to treat it differently. Starting with lower effort for 5-10 mins like in the endurance session. We would then add a Pre session element. In this we add short bursts of intensity, often at the intensity desired in the session coming up. They can be complimented with drills and dynamic stretches if you have time. For example if you were going into a intensity rep run, the pre set could start of as 6 x 30 fast with 30 sec easy between each one.
So even if rushed this can play an important part in your session and overall plan. It will help you feel ready and prepared for the session in hand often leading to a better executed session and also more consistency in training. Watch that first 10-20 mins!
Warm up for races – Are they important too?
Short answer YES
Depending on the race coming up will depend on how the warm up goes. Have you ever been to an event and not completed any warm up, The start gun goes off and about 5-10 mins in your feeling like you hanging on? Heres a few examples for different events
Up to an hour race/event
These are often treated as hard events racing at threshold or sometimes higher if its less than an hour. Due to the nature of the event its pretty demanding. The key aspect of the warm up is to have an easy 10-15 mins in low stress eg HR zone 1-2, followed by some short reps at race day intensity. Eg 10-20 mins easy run, some dynamic stretches into 5-10 x 20 secs at race day effort with 40 secs easy between. Aim to complete it so you can go straight to that start line. Your HR and muscles are ready to go and trust me it will pay off!
Races /Events 1-2 hours long
The nature of these events are to work on pacing a little more. Its proven that we cant race at threshold and therefore we often work to feel or a % of Hr/pace/power. Ideally it would look slightly different to the 60 min races in that you can have a lower intensity start and then slightly longer rep of race efforts, eg 10-15 mins easy running, some dynamic stretches, then 5-10 x 30-60sec at race day effort with 60-90 secs easy between
Races/Events above 3 hours
Theres a bit more thought to go into these races, mainly to hold back to more aerobic work due to the demand on length of the event. Theses events are much more fatiguing do to the length of duration on the body and also on concentration. A Lower level warm up of keeping it more aerobic eg Z1-2 HR/pace/power throughout for up to 5-15 mins, ideally adding some dynamic stretches in the mix