Priming the Engine
Most athletic folks would agree that to operate at an optimal level on race day one needs to get their body limber and warm. All too often, the distractions and nerves of race day cause many of us to ditch a proper warm up. Shamefully, I am guilty of this hastiness also. If you want to be free of cramping, stitches, premature fatigue, and stiffness make this your mantra: "A warm muscle is a safe muscle".
A warm up prepares your body for activity by increasing blood flow to the muscles, which delivers oxygen and glycogen for energy. Warm muscles are better able to meet the demands of the event right from the start. No more working your way through the gears and losing valuable time in the process. Loose and lengthened muscles are more able to cope with the strain of the race. The impromptu adjustments from a bump in the road or a fellow racer cutting you off are less likely to cause undue stress and damage to smaller muscles.
Warming up also allows you to sharpen your skills and activate your neuromuscular system so you feel coordinated and engaged. Most athletes have drills or routines that build steam and confidence. An optimal race warm up routine will take the event and the participant into consideration. Typically, 10-15 minutes of varied activity at 60-70% will do the trick. Consult a certified trainer for techniques that will prepare you for a great performance and keep you safe on race day.