BY LIZ HINLEY
PHOTO BY ED MORAN
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Imagine driving to your local boathouse or gym, walking up to an erg, and then hammering a 500-meter sprint right off the bat. Although I can’t not tell you exactly how that would go, I can safely say it will not be a great experience.
Physically, your muscles would be cold and stiff restricting movement and blood supply. The nerves firing for those working muscles would get a big shock and either remain shut off or get hit with a big jolt.
Mentally, your mind will be elsewhere instead of being focused and really honing in on the piece.
The simple fix for preventing all that unpleasantness? A solid warm-up.
When structuring an optimal warm-up series, focus on creating a routine that involves getting the muscles warm and the blood moving, stimulating the neuromuscular system so that the muscles fire as they should, and preparing the mind for what’s coming up next.
For those that have a usual warm-up series, you may use these suggestions as a way to mix up what you routinely do and benefit from the change of pace.
Here are some examples of activities for each category mentioned:
Going from cold to warm: Neuromuscular firing: Mental prep: Light run
Lunge with torso twist
Walking single leg RDL
Walking side lunges
Race walkthrough visualization
Over-rate to settle at target stroke rate
Review piece sequences (e.g. the start)
Listen to your hype up/settle down soundtracks
Intervals at target pace