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How To Warm Up For A Race In Hot & Cold Conditions

Race day, what do you wear on race day? There are two parts to dressing for an event like this. You have to consider the warm-up and the race itself.

Warming up in the cold

When warming up in cold conditions you need to make sure that your muscles get nice and warm, and stay warm until you set off for your race. Depending on the timings, where the race starts and how much help you have can vary how you dress to warm up. If you are racing in a skin suit then most people choose to wear the skinsuit unzipped with a baselayer, winter jacket, leg warmers or full-length zipper tights to ensure the body is not cold. When warming up the aim is to get hot and a little sweaty. So once the warm-up is complete, (this will vary from rider to rider and what your coach has set out for you) change into a fresh dry clean baselayer, take off the winter top and zip up the skinsuit. Leave the leg warmers on and put the winter jacket back on. This will help to keep the heat that you have generated in the muscles for longer. If it is really cold, warming up oil is a good thing to use to try and keep some of the heat in your muscles.

Once on the start line. Take off the winter jacket and leg warmers so you can race light. If it is sub-zero degrees some rider opt to keep arm warmers on during racing, especially in winter racing such as cyclocross. Most riders choose not to race in leg warmers and the mud and water on the leg warmers can sometimes make a rider colder.

Warming up in the heat

Depending on how hot it actually is, varies on the degree of warming up required. Just because it is warm doesn’t mean you don’t need to warm up. You may feel warm but the muscles and blood flow to the muscles need to be used to warm up. Clothing to warm up needs to be lightweight and able to wick away sweat when it is hot. Warm up in one lightweight summer baselayer and once the warm-up is done, change into a dry clean one to start the race. Thin summer socks and fingerless mitts and ventilated helmets will help in keeping you cool on such hot days.

You may need to keep your core body temperature cool whilst warming up the muscles. Using things like a fan or cold towel around the neck may help in keeping your overall body temperature constant. If you are lucky enough to have support then having an umbrella held over you to keep the sun off your head also helps. If you haven’t got this luxury then if you can find a tree to shelter under or find shade somewhere then this will help too.

If you have pit crew support it not uncommon for pit crew to pass water to riders to tip over the head and shoulders to help cool them down during the race.

Make sure you have plenty of fluids at hand too to replenish water loss during hot days.

Should you Stretch during your warm up?

This is a very much debated topic and for cyclists, it is considered that dynamic is better than static stretches.  Static stretches are considered better to do after the exercise with dynamic stretches done before and during the warm-up period. Dynamic stretches involve moving the muscles and joints during the stretch.

  • Oct 03, 2019
  • Category: All Blogs
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