How can I improve my warm ups?

So March 2024 I had my breakthrough for the season. I rode 843 total miles in March 2024 indoors and outdoors combined. New York State weather is very unpredictable. I have noticed that I tend to warm up late in my workouts. My workout schedule is usually after work. I sometimes work in the afternoons if I know I will come late from work. So my workouts usually start around 10:30 PM to 11:00 PM. It usually takes me around one hour and 30-minute timestamps. However, since I work out late I try to avoid working out past 1 AM. I learned from my experience when I rode 752 miles in November 2023 that if I work out past 1 AM I sleep very late.

Is there anything I can do beforehand that would help me build up and perform better to warm up before one hour and 30 minutes? The times differ from Garmin to Strava so what you see isn’t what took me to get to that miles. I think Strava counts the total time while Garmin is moving time.

I have been cycling since 2020.

what exactly do you notice?

1 Like

The change of pace. I tend to feel more comfortable going at higher speeds without any stopping. I also feel like my body is warmed up and I can keep going.

Referring to training load (volume) by miles is antiquated and not that useful, as terrain and elevation vary. Training load is generally measured by TSS and/or hours.

The only thing you can do to “pre” warm up before you get on the bike is to walk a bit then possibly stretch and/or foam roll. Lastly, your “need” for a long warmup is likely partially mental. Not to say you don’t need a longer than normal warmup, but probably not as long as you think. Gradually increase your workout and don’t be afraid to even lower your first interval and treat that as part of your warmup.

same comment above regarding miles - you are better off thinking in terms of time on the bike. A lot of gains are simply a result of spending time on the bike, not how far you went.

Everyone is different, and I’ve found that doing some intensity and high cadence work within the first 15 minutes is a great way to get the body ready to do some work. I’ve done some experiments on the trainer, and it takes my body about 20 minutes to fully warm up.

I don’t look at the miles when I ride indoors. Since mid-February, I started looking at time now. Two hours has been my workouts lately. I can try pushing it to 3 hours but indoors is just not fun. I don’t have Zwift either. I am saving up to get a Garmin Neo trainer.

Since mid-February, I started looking at time now. I can try pushing it to 3 hours but it gets boring. No Zwift either. Saving for a Garmin Neo. For now, I have my computer and Fluid² Trainer

I consider myself a slow warm-upper as well, but some of it is because I am riding first thing at 5 am.

There is no way I could do those TR workouts that give you 10 minutes of warmup. I need about 20 min.

Nothing exact, but my routine:

  • Spin for the first 5-10 minutes, slowly bringing up power to at least Z2.
  • 2-3 high cadence intervals. These can be 30-60 seconds each with equal rest.
  • 4 minutes where you increase power from Z2 to high tempo. Shoot for a 20-30W increase each minute. I like to do these at a lower cadence to make sure my muscles are firing.
  • A couple minutes more of Z2 and then I am ready for work. If doing Z5 and above, I might add some short 30s reps of that type of power at the end, just so they don’t shock the system.

Takes about 20 minutes and I find I am ready.

1 Like

Similar, warmup from last nights 2 hour endurance ride

Thats the first 23 minutes. I shoot for three 1-minute high cadence warmups at controlled high power. Was a little messy last night due to route. Dark blue line is 30-second power.

The more fatigued I am, the longer it takes me to warm up.

If I go into an interval session well rested, I can do a 15-20 minute warm up that builds up in steps towards my threshold with maybe 30s to a minute in V02 and I’m good to go.

At the same time, I’ve had long endurance rides on tired legs where I felt better 2 hours in than when I started.

So, going in rested and recovered helps, but also, being well fueled going into your workout. Some of my longer ones I might not start fueling until I’m on the bike so it takes a while to get some sugar in the system too.

Working out late in the day would also kill me. Basically can’t do it. Best time for me is late morning, followed by first thing although I hate intervals straight out of bed.

Threshold workout today - you can see the Warmup was about 15 minutes…


The big thing is making sure you find a warm-up routine that works, whether that’s the warm-up prescribed by TR, or something else.

Most TR workouts have some sort of warm-up that attempts to prep you for the main workout. If the workout is 1 min V02 intervals, the warmup usually has 2-3 shorter V02 intervals after 5-10 minute ramp from easy to moderate (or something along those lines).

In the TR app, you can click the “Increase Warmup” button to get more time. Outside, you can always do your own thing before starting the prescribed workout.

Agree with the above, I tend to do intervals first thing in the morning and I prefer a longer warm-up than the default prescribed in most TR workouts. Sometimes I’ll extend the workout warmup using the option described above (also gradually increase the workload) or my preference is to use the LSCT Warmup workout

I’m slow to warm up, but also find that I don’t need to be fully warmed up to start my work/intervals. Anything sweet spot or higher, I know the first interval is going to feel crappy. But I just deal with it if I’m short on time. If I have the time, I’ll sometimes extend the warm up, but that first interval still feels bad to me unless I get significant Kj’s into the legs first (an extra 15 minutes doesn’t really move the needle). So, the intervals basically become part of the warmup.

When doing outside workouts with plenty of time available, I’ll often ride to the spot where I’ll be doing my intervals. That’s usually 1-2 hours of warmup/Z2 and sometimes over 3 hours of easy effort before I’ll start my intervals if I’m doing a long ride. It’s surprising how good/easy the intervals feel after plodding along in Z2 for a good bit.

Anyway, many of us do better with a longer warmup, but it’s really not required if you are short on time. Yes, you should do something to get blood pumping and body loosened up, but you don’t need to warm up for weekly intervals like you are about to line up for the final TT in the TdF.