TR 'warmup' portion of workouts are killing me

So I’m about to enter week 9 of my TR plan. As I do each workout I’m finding that I absolutely despise the ‘warmup’ portion of every workout. I’ve tried extending the length in TR which doesn’t really work for me. Recently I’ve been doing 10-20min Z1/2 warmups on a Peloton before moving to my bike on a trainer. This works slightly better, but on days with sweetspot specifically… I’m crashing mid-workout and struggling to get through these. Often I find myself blowing up trying to maintain the power target, spinning 100ish rpm in 10/11th gear 3mins into a workout… I’m doing a low volume plan with 3 structured workouts a week and doing unstructured outdoor rides 2-3 other days. What is going on? Or what is the methodology behind the warmup protocols?

Some background: I’m a 45yr old masters/expert rider and not a newbie by any means. I’m a High School NICA coach and basically ride 6 days (10-15hrs) every week… which I’ve been doing for a long time. I’ve got hydration and nutrition figured out. During unstructured trail rides it has always taken me 20-30mins to ‘warmup’. On XCO race days I had previously built a structured 30min warmup that was actually similar to Pahrah, both of which work well… on race day. I just can’t see myself doing a full race warmup before every workout in my plan for the day.

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Are you blowing up during the warm-up or during the work interval? If the latter your ftp is set too high…

Edit: missed you do 2-3 outdoor rides too, you have to keep these very low intensity (z1-z2) or else you will blow up

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I too have an issue with short warm ups. My solution is to slowly spin up to 100 over 10 minutes. Hop off the trainer, turn on the fan, pee or whatever for a min or 2 then I’m good to go with starting the workout. This does add some time but I have to “catch my second wind” as my grandfather would say.

How easy or hard are your unstructured days? How long?

What do your sweet spot workouts look like? For example a 1 hour workout 3x12-min sweet spot (Geiger) that is 3 sets of 12 minute sweet spot with 3-min recoveries.

Do you do the hardest structured workout after a day off?

If you’re struggling to get the warm up portion done and the intervals themselves. You’re likely over cooking yourself on intensity, volume or both and need some more rest to dig yourself out of the hole. I’ve done this before when I didn’t build a big enough base and then kept killing myself with the ‘more is more’ mentality and just kept trying to do more interval workouts.

If you’re ok with the warm up but can’t do the intervals your FTP is too high. If you did a ramp test, try doing a 20 minute test to see if you can get the same FTP. I’ve used this to diagnose issues with FTP values. Or you can just manually reduce the intensity of intervals after 5 minutes if you’re not going to make it drop the intensity and keep playing with it every few minutes until you find that the interval is where you’d expect the RPE to be for that workout type.

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@abeckstead77 I also need around 20 minutes to warm up. I often extend the first part of the warm up and manually increase power from 50-70 or 75% in 5% increments every three minutes. I then hit the threshold / VO2 section of the TR warmup, recovery, and am ready to begin.

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either you’re overcooking yourself on the days off of TR, or your FTP is too high.

I’d just lower my FTP 5%, and go from there.

low volume usually means there are 3 TOUGH workouts, and days off should be exactly that…days off, especially if you are 45 years old. (sorry, but its true. I’m 52, so I’ve learned this the hard way)

I’ve got over 1000 TR sessions under my belt, and can safely say, I’d rather underestimate my FTP, than overestimate it.

@abeckstead77 if you start pedaling at a given work rate and you can’t hold that work rate for even 5 minutes, you know what that’s called…VO2max. So that is my first thought.

But if you feel like your VO2 kinetics have that large of a swing…try doing the LSCT Warmup workout before you next sweet spot workout. That will give you an additional ~15 minutes of work to warm up. More importantly, it will give you a few metrics of interest to track. Pay attention to your heart rate response during that warmup over the next few weeks. See if you can notice any correlation between how you feel in your sweetspot workout and how your heart rate recovers in the LSCT. If your HR recovery is faster, do you struggle more in your sweetspot workout? If your HR peak is lower do you struggle more in your sweetspot workout?

I don’t know what you’ll see but it will be interesting to find out.

Something is seriously wrong if you are blowing up 3 minutes into a sweet spot interval. Sweet spot, especially the first interval, should feel fairly easy.

So, as others have said, you are over cooked and need a rest week, your FTP is over estimated, or the calibration of your power meter is faulty. Or, all of the above.

Is the power meter well calibrated? Did you test on the same power meter?


My FTP from a 1hr test (with 20min test interval) was 300. Got the same from Wahoo’s Full Frontal FTP test. TR ramp test came in at 275. I averaged the two initially and started my training. Got my 10 workouts in and enabled AI FTP detection, that came up with 285 and what it’s currently set at. Wahoo Systm Full Frontal test told me I had a VO2 weakness and my strength was ability to maintain threshold.

I’m using the same bike, power meter and trainer the other tests were done on. I actually recalibrated my power meter and restarted a SS workout the other day. Still felt blah and I just abandoned the workout and went for real ride for the time and was fine.

3 hours of structured work doesn’t seem like it should be too much for me. I came into this already riding 10-15 hours a week and doing 4-6 hour endurance rides once a week the 6 months prior. On my trail rides I feel plenty strong and don’t spend little time in the upper power zones.

I really feel like the problem lies in the warmup combined with SS. 50%-72%-96% bam do an interval. I don’t understand… on the threshold and even VO2 workouts I’m able to hit targets with similar warmup and I believe they’re shorter. I’m going to take a week off workouts and chill. Think I’ll try the warmup routine mentioned earlier and see what happens.

Hmm, just an idea of a feature here…

What if you could choose from 3 different warm up “ramps”, and also set how long your warmup needs to be, in settings?

Then you could set 5, 10, 15, 20min as warmup period, and also which type of warmup you wish to have, and that it applies it to all rides :slight_smile:

But that only works if their sessions are “modular” and not delivered from the database as a complete ride that the “player” just applies.

On the other hand, might be able to mimic a custom warmup by sending “user commands” to do a custom warmup routine.

That’s just weird. Could it perhaps be a mental thing? Thinking SS is going to be easy, then it’s a bit harder then expected and you feel like you have to work way harder then you thought you had to?

I believe i also need a warm-up that’s a bit longer then average and i regularly feel like the workout is too hard during the first set but i’m fine during the rest of the workout. I’ve also never blown up during a first sweet spot interval.

I have trouble with the ramps in the warm ups. I need to do some short 30-45 second intervals with rest after to feel properly warmed up. I agree there should be different styles of warm ups available…I created my own “quick warm up”, its public so it should be in the library.

I usually add 5-10 minutes to the warm up before it ramps up. I need that time to get the legs ready. Then if the warm up sucks, the workout won’t go great. Sometimes I try the first interval and if I feel okay, I continue. Most of the time it means I need a rest day/ride or easy endurance to bounce back.

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A few of the workout texts have, to paraphrase “don’t worry if this feels too hard, the warm up is supposed to be hard”. I kinda live by that for all workouts, and wait until after the first interval to decide whether to pull the pin or not.

I’m definitely in the camp that can sometimes underestimate how hard sweet spot can be as well though.


@abeckstead77 who was the guy that did the paper used to guide UK track warmup? I can’t find the paper but if you give it a read pay attention to the outliers. There really are some athletes (world class athletes) that have O2 kinetics which are quite slow unless properly warmed up. And as I have stated on this forum before, I’m a big believer that if your fitness is pretty good your steady state efficiency will peak at around the 40 minute mark. Heart rate will level off and drop a little at that point.

You could just be an oulier & you’ll have to find your own way a little bit. Screw around with different warmup protocols. See if you can find some thing better.

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I’ve found those types of warm ups hard. I almost always find my legs feel sluggish in the warm up, but generally good in the main part of the session. If I can give my legs a kick, and then a couple of minutes to get themselves together, I’ll ride better than if I’ve just had a crescendo from cold. It doesn’t need a longer warm up, but does at least need a small separation between warm up and main efforts.

Would it be worth trying something like that before you launch your actual session?