A way to tell if you are racing on "cold" legs
How important is mastery of your warm up routine?
If you follow some of the fitness gurus that I follow, they would argue that warming up is useless.
They argue that you would never be able to warm up if you ever were in an urgent scenario.
i.e. If you had to run to catch a plane, run to the hospital for an emergency, or, of course, the guru's favorite example is: got in a street fight...
I always laugh when I read comments like this because you probably only encounter an urgent scenario like this maybe once a decade (and, I imagine that most of us will never get in a street fight)
If your goal is performance, warm up mastery is important.
When I look to see if someone warmed up properly before a race, I look at one of Stryd's metrics: Leg Spring Stiffness.
Leg Spring Stiffness is a measure of how effectively you are recycling energy.
You want to maximize this number as a higher Leg Spring Stiffness means you are receiving a higher amount of free energy from every stride you take.
If you don't or insufficiently warm up before a race, your Leg Spring Stiffness will be low.
A low Leg Spring Stiffness means you will be warming up over the first few miles of the race, gradually activating more of your muscle fibers, and reaching peak Leg Spring Stiffness during the middle of the race instead of the start!
In an ideal race, you want to start out near your peak Leg Spring Stiffness and maintain that value as well as you can until the end of the race.
A proper warm up ensures that you start at that peak Leg Spring Stiffness instead of having to work into that value.
Leg Spring Stiffness is the perfect way to tell if you are racing on "cold" legs and then adjust your warm up routine.
How can you ensure that you are warmed up properly?
I like to practice my warm up routine and then do a short, practice race effort during a training session.
Then, I look at the Stryd data after the activity to see if the warm up was sufficient to reach a peak Leg Spring Stiffness value from the start of the race effort.
This lets me dial in my warm up routine ahead of time so that I know what will prepare me for peak performance on race day.
If you want to start running with Stryd and using the data to master your warm up, you can get that at the link below: