A“warm up” is an easy/medium effort exercise session that helps to prepare your body and mind for a competition or race, or even a hard training session.
During a warm up your heart and lungs start working and blood gets pumped around your body. Your blood takes oxygen to your muscles and the temperature of your muscles and tendons increases. All of this this makes your body ready for action. A warm up is also a good time for you to get your mind ready for the race ahead.
After you have organised all your equipment in transition it’s time to think about starting to warm up. There will be a start time or a meeting time for your race so work back from that. For example, your race may start at 9am and you may have to gather at the meeting point at 8.45am. Give yourself a around 20 minutes for your warm up – so, in this case you would start your warm up at around 8.20am. This gives you a spare 5 minutes to put on your wetsuit and grab your swimming goggles.
Some warm up ideas for your triathlon
We all know that a triathlon starts with the swim and ideally it would be great to get into the water but sometimes this is not possible. Don’t worry, you can warm up your body in other ways.
In 30s second blocks:
· Jump up and down on the spot then jump from side to side and then from back to front. Finally criss-cross your legs.
· Now move to doing a small jumps forwards landing on the left foot and then on your right foot.
· Now do some coordination drills – make your right hand touch your left knee and vice versa and then your right hand touch your left foot and vice versa.
By now you may be feeling a little silly, but that’s OK as you are going to be the best prepared athlete in the competition! This next thing is even sillier…. start from your ankles and gently slap your hands all the way up your legs and body and arms. Do this a few times and then finish off by shaking out your legs and arms.
Now your muscles are warmed up and more importantly you’ve woken up your brain by making it talk to your muscles. You can now go for a short 5-10min jog. When you get back, find a quiet spot about 50m in length and run along it at your race pace. Do this about 4 times. Now you are ready to go!
If you do get the chance to get into the water try to go for a 5 min swim and do 5 short sprints to get your swimming stroke fired up and ready. If you are not able to get into the water don’t worry. One thing that can be really helpful is to stand by the water’s edge and to splash yourself so that your body gets to know what temperature to expect.
One more thing that is good to do is to find a quiet spot and have a think about your race. Imagine your self at important points in the race like turning around the swim buoy or being in transition. If you go through these parts of the race in your head first they will become more automatic when you are in competition mode.
Good luck and have a great race!
Catriona Morrison is a British triathlete and duathlete. She runs everactiv, a sportswear brand for girls. They'll be showcasing their products at The MoveGB Sport and Fitness Show, so watch out for them over the triathlon weekend!