Q: Do you have any tips to help prepare or warm up for an intense training session?
Brandon Marsh answers:
A: Warming up is important before ANY training session. You’re probably thinking that you don’t have time to warm up and cool down. But starting on cold muscles could hurt you (literally) in the long run. Because warming up is a form of exercise, you can view it as an extension of your workout. Do yourself a favor and implement my three “Es” of an effective warm up, especially before an intense training day. I promise these are quick and “eeeasy.”
Energize with coffee or a pre-workout supplement. I have a cup of coffee before all my workouts. It helps to wake my brain and jump-start my muscles. My go-to coffee is The Organic Co.’s Java Love for its rich, bold taste. For a milder brew, Equal Exchange Organic Breakfast Blend is a smooth choice. If you aren’t an avid coffee drinker (Amy isn’t either), a good kick-in-the-pants pre-workout supplement will do the trick. We’re partial to First Endurance PreRace Caps which contain 100 mg of caffeine and amino acid L-taurine. Pre-workout supplements should only be taken before key workouts, as they help stimulate nitric oxide for increased performance.
Exercise your core, especially if it’s early in the morning or your first workout of the day. These handful of exercises will help engage your mid section: pull-ups, push-ups, balancing torso twist, high-knee jogging in place and bicycle crunches. If you have the time, Trigger Point’s SMRT-CORE Level 1 can guide you through a structured core-strengthening routine designed for athletes of all kinds.
Elongate your muscles. After exercising your core, you should be warm enough to stretch. (Never stretch cold, stiff muscles to avoid pulling or straining.) You will benefit most by incorporating a mix of dynamic and static stretches that are sport-specific. Example: before a run, do 20 standing butt kicks or walking lunges (dynamic) followed by a bent-over hamstring stretch that you hold for 30 seconds to a minute (static). This will help increase your range of motion and get your hamstrings ready to push it.
Amy Marsh is a four-time Ironman champion, two-time IronDistance champion, and was named the 2010 USAT Long Distance Triathlete of the Year. Brandon Marsh has been competing in triathlons since 1988, and can be counted on to be a top-10 contender in every event he enters. Got a question about swim-bike-run or sports nutrition for Team Marsh? Email them at firstname.lastname@example.org. ‘Like’ them on Facebook or follow on Twitter: Brandon @BrandonMarshTX and Amy @AmyCMarsh.