Every time summer rolls around, I get a lot of questions about warming up in the heat. People are riding, racing and training in the heat and find their performance suffering. Even though it's hot, you can't skip your warm up, because much of your performance depends on priming your body properly. These tips will help you optimize your performance during a warm weather warm up.
The importance of warming up
Warming up is a key to a high-quality performance. Your body needs time to activate it's “aerobic machinery” before competing. Until you really get the enzymes and pathways going, you'll be running on more anaerobic systems. This means you'll burn matches faster and have less energy available when it counts. By warming up, your body is prepped to produce energy through the electron transport system. It starts oxidizing fats, giving you (nearly) limitless aerobic energy. I'm sure you know from experience that a poor warmup will leave you feeling tired and weak during the beginning of your ride.
So warming up is really important, but what kind of warming up should you do? In “The Pre-Race Warmup” I said the length of time you warm up is dependent upon the activity you're warming up for. The longer the activity, the shorter the warm-up, and visa versa. What I didn't talk about in that article were the factors that temperature and weather play in your warm up.
Check out the tips after the break to stay cool while warming up: