As an avid mover and exercise enthusiast, I have picked up a lot of tidbits of information throughout the years. Some tidbits go in one ear and out the other, while others I hold on to. The tidbit I am about to share is a principle which I will always hold onto–as I firmly believe in it.
Your warm-up matters in any type of training.
With endurance training it not only matters, but it differs from anything else.
Endurance training means one thing– more time. Literally. Endurance athletes do long distance runs, longer swims, and 40-50 mile bike rides casually, for example. Most endurance workouts are aerobic exercises for bouts of no less than 45 minutes. In this training, the warm-up is very different than the way you warm up in other types of exercise. I will explain how it differs and why that matters to you.
Please make note, I am not counting cross-training exercise regimes endurance athletes use, but I am considering the standard endurance athlete’s training session— at least 60 minutes of running, swimming, rowing or cycling etc.
I used to do endurance training and even tried to bring more of an endurance focus to the Miami Recreation Center where I first began teaching spinning classes. I asked my boss if we could do a 90 minute ride every Saturday. She compromised with me and let me teach one every other month, and in the alternating month, two 90 minute rides.
I was so stoked.
Get up on Saturday at 7:00 a.m. to teach 50-65 year olds, your occasional grad student, and a few type-A college women for 90 minutes?? AWESOME! #iwasweird
The way in which I planned these rides was very different than a 30-45 minute interval training ride.
In endurance training your warm-up SHOULD take no less than 20 minutes.
Runners can relate I am sure. You never start off sprinting or begin at your fastest pace. It truly takes around 20 minutes to get the blood flowing and settle into that consistent, aerobic pace. Once you ease into that aerobic cardio zone for 20 minutes, the body has adapted and can make small adjustments from there to keep pushing for the next 45 minutes to an hour.
I learned this as a student of spinning. I had an incredible cycling instructor who would remind the class that by the 20 minute mark we should be sweating but it should build up to that sweat. It should not happen right away, in an endurance ride.
In an interval ride, it is standard to try and break the anaerobic threshold between minutes 7-15 once, and recoup, then really hit it hard from there with planned work and rest periods.
However, the point I want to get across is that to be a good endurance athlete and build endurance, (especially for beginners), think about that magic number 20 (20 minutes) and it will get you one step closer to your endurance goals.
Warm up for 20, if you can make it to 20 minutes and you feel strong (not spent) after 20, you can keep on moving and hopefully even finish a bit faster than you started.