How Do You Warm Up Before a Race?

Posted on July 8, 2011


So? How do you warm up? Jog in place?  Eat a powerbar? Drink a smoothie?  Think about the race?


I just had a parent talk to me about this.  He said his son didn’t know how or what to do to warm up before a swim.  Well sometime coaches get too busy to bring in the younger swimmers or take the time to teach the newbies in the group how to warm up.  What about new master swimmers?  New triathletes?  Same thing.  Being new to a sport brings up certain, often unanswered, questions.

If you train very heavy in whatever sport you do, you probably need a good warmup.  You know when you feel good in the middle of your workout?  Well, how long did it take you to feel that way? I bet it took some time to get your entire body prepared to go 100% with efficiency and without injury. 

Middle Distance to Distance

What we normally do in swimming for a general middle to distance swimmer is a mild 200 – 300 easy with light kicking, and then we get into pace 50s, maybe 6-8 or so, then easy hypoxic and swim down.  How close to the actual event?  I normally preach right before the event; I try to simulate just like practice.  It normally works extremely well. 


So you ask, what about a sprinter (50 or 100 person)?  Same general easy warmup, then we get into some builds and 12 1/2 sprints, basically overspeed of the arms and legs.  Then hypoxic, then swim down, again, just before.  Although I sometimes give some leeway there based on the person.  Believe me, just like the crazy distance athletes, the sprinters are a ridiculous breed out of somewhere in the deep the tropical forest of the Amazon.  Have you seen the original sprinters?

Well, what do you think?  This is the ancestor that started all the sprinting.  But anyway we are talking about warming up… 

Triathletes, Masters

You new guys may have joined the crazy training world later in life, but you are still unbelievable trainers and athletes.  In some ways your body hasn’t gone through all the rigors of a lifelong training regime.  So you are ready to go! I would basically do about the same type of warm up.  However, you may know your body’s readiness or you may be more comfortable starting slow and breaking into it.  Whatever you do, don’t start at 100%.  (Unless of course you like being injured!)  Work into the event and let it come to you, you’ll know when it’s time.

So good luck, warmup well, your body will thank you later!

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