I find it pretty interesting that athletes and coaches question a warm up when it comes to racing or completing an Ironman distance race.
The usual response is, I wouldn’t want to tire myself out becuase I have a long day ahead or I can use the swim as my warm up. If your body is cold and you have to fight for space in the ironman washing machine at the start your going to feel very lethargic, anxious and use up a ton of much needed (later in the day) energy.
Lets look at what a warm up does. This is basic 101 stuff peoples.
– Boosts heart rate, increases blood flow and oxygen flow and core temperature.
– Done correctly it will switch on your nervous system so you’ll be dialed in both physically and mentally for the race.
– The quicker you want to go or the more intense the race the deeper the warm up needs to be.
– It takes about 10 minutes for the body to release enzymes needed to use fat as a fuel source and we definitely need to be using FAT as a fuel source in endurance racing.
– A warm up will increase your performance. Period.
What should an Ironman race morning look like?
I wake up three plus hours before the start to get in my breakfast. Then depending on how close I am to the race, I’ll either try to get more restful zzz’s or if I have a bit of a trek I’ll start getting ready.
Have a shower – It makes you feel awesome and helps wake you up fully. Then get ready – put on your race kit, timing chip (before you leave your accommodation). I tend to overdress a little to ensure I keep warm (not needed if your in a hot and humid environment like Kona for instance).
I do some quick soft tissue work with my TP Therapy Performance Tools. This kick starts my warm up process by waking up my muscles, lightly kneading out and knots or adhesion’s, opening up the neurological pathways and recreating some lost elasticity. It gets me moving freely through those mobility centric joints (ankles, hips, thoracic spine and shoulders).
I then get to transition EARLY for the simple fact there are less people lining up, you can get in and get out quickly and go about your full preparation and get mentally and soon to be physically prepared.
Once out of T1, I have a quick toilet stop and then head out for a light warm up jog. I’ll typically add in a few easy accelerations towards the end to get the heart rate up a little (nothing fast here). This jog will be around 10 minutes.
After the jog I’ll do some movement preparation exercises which will further my warm up and get my body ready physically and also gives you time to focus mentally on your race and the ability to visualise your day.
Then it’s time for a last toilet pit stop before getting into wetsuit or swim skin. Depending on where you’re going to start and how competitive you’re will determine your swim warm up. For me I am always going to be starting pretty much front line so I am going to get in at least 6′ minutes of swimming but preferably 10′ all up for a swim warm up.
I’ll get in and swim a nice relaxed 100-200m really feeling the water and focusing on breathing, then I’ll do a bunch of strokes where I’ll focus on a good catch and strong and powerful pull alternated with some easy swimming. I’ll do some kicking and then a few deep water starts. All this will get me ready to GO. If I have to get back out of the water, I’ll aim to keep warm by continually moving around.
I would recommend the above warm up unless your starting at the very back. If your starting at the back, get in and do a few minutes worth of swimming to get the blood flowing properly and you mind in the game. Then stay warm.
All in all it’s just about being prepared and that means getting your body’s systems ready for what your about to ask of them and you’ll have a great day out there.