Warm Up for Time Trials and Criteriums

News & Results

02/23/2004| 0 comments
by Ivana Bisaro

Warm Up for Time Trials and Criteriums

The desire to be optimally prepared, but not tired out by a long warm up, is often a source of confusion for athletes.

performing a lengthy SteadyState effort as in the above warm up routine.


In criterium racing more emphasis should be placed on the 2-minute high-power, high-cadence intervals and less emphasis on the longer SteadyState efforts. You can manipulate the above routine to suit a criterium warm up by decreasing the SS effort to four minutes and adding two 30-second maximum cadence intervals, separated by two-minute recovery periods, after your two-minute high-power, high-cadence intervals.   Keep in mind that you want to finish your criterium warm up with enough time to get a decent starting position on the line. Your body will maintain the benefits of a structured warm up for at least 10-15 minutes after your warm up is complete, so don?t stress too much if there is a wait on the line.


Certain conditions may require a decrease in the total warm up time.   Hot weather conditions can cause a detrimental increase in core body temperature which may decrease performances in a time trial or a criterium. If you are warming up for a time trial and you experience these conditions, decrease by half the durations of your endurance, Tempo, and high power intervals. If you are doing a criterium warm up, then decrease your endurnace, Tempo, SS and high power interval times by half.   Another consideration is to do your warm up on a trainer in an air conditioned building, or if this is not an option, don?t use your trainer for a warm up and instead perform it on your bike so you have the cooling effect of airflow over your body.

Another consideration when doing a time trial and criterium warm-up is to make sure you practice it in your training before doing it at a race. By doing it ahead of time in training, you can work out all the details before the big race day.


A well-planned structured warm up improves race day performance by physiologically and psychologically preparing your body for the coming high intensity effort required of racing. The warm up serves as the body?s transition from rest to maximal effort. It is important to consider the energy systems utilized in racing to determine the best possible warm up for that event. By practicing your warm up ahead of time in training you can work out all the details and possible issues before the big race day arrives so when you are on the trainer warming up according to plan you can know you have done everything in your power to put in your best possible race of the day.  

Ivana Bisaro is a coach for
Carmichael Training Systems. For more information on CTS and ways they can help you reach your goals, please visit http://www.trainright.com/.


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