Slow to warm up

Hey y’all trainerroadies!

I have a question which I hope some of you can help with.

I am - and have always been - very slow to warm up. Doing my TR workouts I often find the last intervals to be the easiest by far! Sometimes I even struggle to get through the first intervals and then fly through the last ones…

It has been this way as long as I can remember - also when doing other sports like tennis, running, soccer etc. And it doesn’t seem to change when I am in moderate, good or very good shape.

I’ve also experienced it on training camps (cycling and tennis) where I feel tired and sluggish the first couple of days and then feel really great the last days (when the other ones are starting to get really tired…)

I am young and healthy (just got my blood work done).

Have any of you similar experiences and perhaps even some tips?

Happy holidays!

All the best, Nynne


Similar here, I usually need 20 minutes to warmup. Sometimes I need 40-60 minutes.

You have two choices:

  • treat the TR workout as gospel and do it exactly
  • take your time and give yourself a proper warmup before doing the intervals

praise yourself lucky, it’s not a good foresight having to do increasingly hard intervals

do you also race? how do you deal with it then?

touche! :smiley:

Wow! You’re an enigma! :rofl:

In all seriousness though. I will get that to a degree as well. For me, I find the early ints a bit harder than the ones mid session. By the time I get to the final ones though, i’ll start to struggle a bit again.

For me personally, i typically follow @WindWarrior’s advice above and changeup the warmup intensity and/or duration, depending on how I’m performing the session (ERG vs SIM).

In ERG, i’ll typically add 5-10 minutes, depending on the original duration of the warmup. In SIM, i’ll generally simply ramp up the warmup watts vs holding a steady power.

That usually gets me close to where I need to be so those first ints don’t feel like such a slog!

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I definitely warm up better after an hour. Been noticing it more and more this past year.

But I also practice not warming up. :grinning:

When I say practice, I mean be disorganised and end up doing a Zwift race with about 6 minutes notice :rofl:

I can ride through it and as you say- it means you are often getting into your stride at the end which is no bad thing.

I may go back to warming up on the turbo for 40-60 mins when I get around to real racing this season though.

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Ride to the race, or if its Wed Worlds, ride to the ride start. I’m masters 45+/55+ pack fodder, and after proving that to myself a few times gave up on paying for races. Around here we can ride to Tue Worlds, Wed Worlds, and Thur Worlds.

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Extend the warm up is the simple answer. Create your own custom warm up workout, if you want and assuming you know what works for you. My hard workouts always go better with a longer warm up.


I’m very similar and have been for as long as I’ve been doing endurance sport. For threshold/sweet spot, I just accept the fact that that my first interval is going to feel kind of terrible and may even be a few percent below my target, but just use that as the main warmup with around 10 minutes of easy riding and some soft sprints before the first interval. For vo2, I again do around 10 minutes of easy spinning and soft sprints but go into a 2 minute effort at 120% ftp before the first work interval (my top end is strong relative to my threshold so the %ftp may need to be adjusted), but often still feel not completely warmed up for another few minutes of vo2 work.

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While I don’t personally take particularly long to warm up, I have some experience:

  • The harder and shorter the effort, the longer the warm up. For example, 800m runners may warm up for a full hour to be ready when the gun goes.
  • It’s a good practice to ”touch the system” you are training during warm up. So if you are doing VO2max-efforts, some 30s efforts at or slightly above your target power during warm up is recommended.
  • If you are experiencing some muscle-related issues / tightness at the beginning, some off-the-bike warm up methods might be useful. ie. mobility drills, dynamic stretches, specific activation drills etc.
  • It might also be mental - just thinkin about hard efforts in the morning makes me tired :smiley:
  • Requiring long warmup (or rather, longer than usual) usually correlates with fatigue. Ie. the more fatigued you are, the longer it takes to feel ready to smash the workout. It might be a good idea to pay some attention to how you are feeling during the warm up.

Just some thoughts

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I’m similar, and found it more pronounced when I used to run. I could probably hit the pace on the first few efforts, but the RPE was higher than some of those later on. I just accepted this for training, but for racing made sure I had time to warm up well beforehand. My best 5 & 10km runs probably had about 5k of warm up at mixed pace, and for my mile pb I had done a warm up several times the length and time of the event!

I also think there is a parallel issue of time of day to train. I found a 1min difference over 5km between 9am and 7pm races - I think in both cases it needs a sustained period of activity before my body feels ready.

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or stress. I workout in the afternoon and sometimes carry work stress into the workout. Last week I stopped the bike after 33 minutes as I couldn’t let go of some crap from work and could even see it in my HR-to-power. Got off the bike, took a pic for the ‘where did you ride outside’ thread, shook out the mental cobwebs, and put my game face on. A little extra warmup, a mental reboot, HR-to-power returned to normal, and then crushed the workout.


^ Yes! Very good addition.

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I’ve always preferred a 20-30 minute warm up with a stair case type effort in there to prepare for intervals or a race. Much longer than what many of my teammates do, but I also find it important for US racing as things can get spicy right from the gun; there’s no riding into that!

I’d just warm up more! Don’t overthink it



I get this as soon as I am tired or stressed, and in any case will nearly always alter the prescribed workouts to allow a 20 minute warm up for a harder session. I also get the stress-HR thing referred to by @WindWarrior above. I do struggle a bit with anxiety FWIW, and in fact, my z2 HR is a very good indicator of my current mental state at any given time; 200w (~.7 IF) can be anything from 130-150bpm (max 186) depending on how I’m feeling on that front.

Incidentally, both of my best outside 20 minute power performances have come after (very) easy, short-mid length (60-90 min) rides with friends who are less regular/trained cyclists. I find I’m nicely warmed up, usually relaxed, and ready to work hard.


same here, I am at my strongest after an hour of zone2 + a couple microbursts

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