Takes too long to get in the groove!

I’m 50 and have been riding distance for over 30 years.

Consistently, for my lifetime, I can’t get into a strong groove until about 8 or ten miles in. Not 3, not 5 or 6 but 8 or more. Regardless of diet, sleep, hydration or stretching.

Any tips on how to get the groove faster?

It’s a mental thing. Don’t look at distance or time and just “get into it” when RPE feels appropriate. Also, allow your first interval/hard effort be part of your warmup (5-10% less than planned). I usually feel like garbage to begin but my legs eventually come around.

Furthermore, there’s nothing wrong with needing a longer warmup. However, I think you’re using this 8 mile thing as a mental crutch though.

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I too am older and it takes time/miles to get in the groove. I incorporate a short hard effort in my pre- warmup. On the trainer I do this before the start of a workout. It allows for my body to wake up to the fact it’s going to have to work.


That’s great info thanks. What’s RPE? The mile thing is just the observation too.
I will try to attack the 5% you mention. Thanks.

Great point and makes sense. I’ll have to address that.

Rated Perceived Exertion (RPE) Scale. Rate of perceived exertion (RPE) is used to measure how hard your body works during physical activity .

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I’m another one who has learned that a long and low warmup is better for me than the ramped warmup you often see in workouts. Like mentioned above, I just ride until I feel like I’m ready to do the work. It makes for a much more enjoyable experience than trying to light it up on the first 10 minutes.

If I finish the first interval (or 2) and still don’t feel it, I shut it down and just do an easy ride. I used to try to push through and keep the intensity up, but that just led to burn out.


Ok that makes sense too. My reference for this topic was yesterday’s 20 mile XC race.
Should I have warmed up thirty minutes longer? Probably. It sounds like I need to manage for burnout with that approach.

Unfortunately, this is one of those “it depends” things. Different people respond to different warmup methods. You just have to experiment and see what works best for you.

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Ya good point. I should have figured it out by now.

Warmups are interesting and I also wonder how much is mental vs. physical. Sure, there are some clear physical things like opening up the circulatory system and warming up muscles and joints, but I’m not sure how much it matters. I can be running late to join a hard Zwift ride and jump on the bike with seconds to spare and immediately put out over 300w for the first few minutes (because that’s what was required to stay with the group). Same thing goes for the start line of races where I wasn’t able to warm up. But, if I do a “proper” warmup, that same 300w+ effort after 10-15 minutes might actually feel harder. It’s just a different dynamic when it’s an arbitrary interval number vs. just having to do the watts that are required to race or stay with a group. Not sure what the science says here, but I question how valuable/required warmups really are in the context of a normal training day. I’m an old dude with a diesel engine, a self selected warmup for me would be about 3 hours before my legs are itching to hit some intensity.


Don’t be too hard on yourself. Some people never seem to get it, and it can change with stress, sleep, weather conditions, etc…

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I perform better after 30-40 minutes. One thing that helps is doing 3x1-min high cadence drills around 5 minutes after starting. The first one is tempo, the other two are over threshold. Let ‘er rip and really work that cadence. Then start intervals about 15-20 minutes into the ride, depending on traffic.

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I think it’s important to realize it doesn’t make you weird or weak to prefer a longer warm-up. Most of the plans that you see online are made with the time crunched cyclist in mind. They’re trying to get you into the meat of the work as fast as they can so that you can be done as fast as you can, so you can get on to the rest of your day. However, if your body prefers a long warm-up, and you have the time, there’s absolutely no reason not to do it as far as I can tell. In fact, I’d say it’s to your advantage in the long run, as long as the extra volume isn’t getting in the way of the intensity that you need for your hard workouts.


True. I’m just thinking I’m missing a step somewhere that’s why I jumped on this dialogue. It appears I should warm up better.

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Well said as I’m definitely the time crunched guy with two jobs and such.
Does anyone have a suggestion for those training rollers I see the kids on before each race? They must do something as they’re all fast who use them.

Great idea. Thanks.

I used some Kreitlers a long time ago. I don’t think they do anything physiologically much different than a dumb or smart trainer. Obviously there is a small element of balance to get used to but, that takes very little time. I think they use them for convenience more than anything.

edit to add: you have to have a “smooth” stroke with rollers as well. So, if your stroke sucks they will let you know. OK besides those two things I don’t see much advantage other than convenience.

As far as getting in the groove…when I’m fatigued it takes a while longer. If pretty fresh I can tempo quite easily from the driveway. Does this happen all the time (fresh or tired)?



Yes it’s consistent fresh or tired for 30 years plus it’s the same when I ran/run.

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