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Why do I need to warm up before a triathlon?

Warm-ups 1) increase circulating oxygen in the body, 2) remind the neuromuscular system to fire efficiently to specified demands and 3) increases blood flow which later will help bring more oxygenated blood to working muscles and eliminate lactic acid accumulation. The shorter the race, the longer the warm-up, and vise versa. The general guidelines of warm-ups include a 30-40 minute session including all three disciplines over the course of the warm-up. Here’s the plan: Head to transition, claim your spot with your towel and gear, and then take your bike out for a spin- be sure to have your helmet on and clipped at all times per USAT rules. Go for a 20-30 minute ride with 5-10x30-60 sec race paced efforts or slightly higher. This will activate each energy system and get your muscles working in those pre-dawn hours. Head back to transition, re-rack your bike and pull on your run shoes. A 10-15 minute run with 4-6x30-60 sec race paced efforts, and 4x15 sec strides will open up those legs for a faster run off the bike. Head back to transition, arrange your equipment as you’ve practiced it for speedy transitions and make your way down to the water with goggles in hand, ready to race. If race directors allow, go ahead and hop in for a 5-10 minute swim with 5-7x30 sec surges. If the swim area is not open prior to race start, bring dry-land swim bands with you to warm up on shore. Attach the bands to a tree or picnic table and simulate the swim motion with your bands for 5x1 minute cycles on 30 seconds rest. Finally top off fluid and glycogen stores with 10 ounces of sport drink, 20 minutes prior to your swim start.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.