Openers & Priming Workouts, Prior to Race Day


I used this approach last week a couple of times and thought it did a good job for the two weekend races I did.


This is 45 minutes.


I have a race this Saturday at 18.00. Never raced this late on a Saturday before so looking to experiment as I will have the whole day before free. What would you guys recommend? A primer workout in the morning of or the evening before? Interested to hear your approaches

General recommendation is to do the opener 24 hours prior to the main race. Helps get a bit of timing within the context of planned effort on the day. Also allows sufficient time to recover and refuel (often start right after finishing to take advantage of glycogen reload window).

Curious as to why the half and full distance triathlon speciality plans include openers (Truuli -1 for both), but the sprint and Olympic distance plans just have easy aerobic workouts for the day before the event? If anything I would think that sprint/Oly races would benefit more from openers the day prior, since they are shorter and higher intensity.

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I have been toying with various ideas of openers (having taken ideas from pro cyclists and triathletes and ideas from sports science) to try and find something that suits me. Things to consider are the timing, duration, and intensity of the event etc

So what do people do for say a 10m or 25m TT, or a crit or a longer road race.

Last week I went on a 2 hour mtb ride/20 miles/2300K of climbing about 24 hours prior. Kept it mostly z2/z3 with some hard efforts here and there. Raced well in the crit next day. Legs were firing.
Probably do the same today.

I had a 10 mile TT race on Saturday evening. In the morning I went out to get the legs firing but without picking up any fatigue. I used the TT bike and went to do about 40 mins on a flat course. The interval was 10-12 minutes with a 6s sprint at the top of each minute, all while in position. Some sprints I stayed in the same gear and span my legs up to a high cadence, and some I clicked up a gear and pushed hard.

I got my Pb for 10m which I hadn’t broken for 3 years


For last weeks road race I did Truuli (30 min version) followed by Taku on Saturday morning then raced on the Sunday.

I did ride to the start line which was 12 miles at Z2 with three very short sprints thrown in. Felt fresh and ready to go.

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1 hr easy ride with a few 5 minutes intervals at ftp to open the legs up for the next day. Probably pretty similar to Jonathans pick as sometimes I like to ramp it up a bit towards the end of the interval.

As a side note, I have missed the opportunity to do a leg opener the day prior to an A race and I felt terrible in the event. Not sure if it was entirely due to missing a session but I do think it impacted me.

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Just the thread I needed, thanks for sharing @mcneese.chad

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When I think about openers, I think about a workout that is done the day before a race to prep the body for the level of intensity required during the race. However, my training load is quite high (15-20hrs/wk) and so I would prefer a 2hr workout for openers. All the workouts posted here 1-1.5 hrs. Hence, i’m just thinking about prepending a 1hr opener with and hour of endurance. I will admit though that I am a little lost with openers.

Openers are very subjective. Doing one at all is not necessary for all riders. And the specific one used (intensity and length) may well vary from rider to rider. It takes some experimentation and evaluation of the results to learn what works best for our needs.

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Have an event this Saturday - cycling portion of 70.3. This’ll be my first big event. Current training I’ve been doing roughly 4-5 hours a week, around 300 tss average. Having never done a workout the day before and event, should I do the 30 minute version of truuli since I didn’t know how I’ll react? FWIW, I’m no stranger to working out, and have a rather strong base in running and Olympic lifting.

I originally planned to do all exceptionally light load today and Wednesday then rest till event day.

I’m curious to what have others experienced regarding this process. Plusses, minuses, etc.

It depends how you feel. A lot of people feel a bit stale and lethargic without a workout, the idea is to flush that out. Maybe you know from running if you can just go straight into a longer race, or if you’d do better having done a little jog around the day before?

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Yeah this concept of openers/etc (and everything cycling) is completely new to me. My running training was always based on HR zones. Training on power just seems so much more structured and different. There are times where my legs feel like complete trash but that’s usually correlated to the fact that I had heavy deadlifts or squats the day before. This must be where the ‘notes’ section of the workouts in TR become helpful. Gotta find those trends. I’m really curious to see if there is anyone out there who have felt that this may have backfired on them for raceday performance.

To be honest if you’re fit enough to race a long TT on Sunday, you should be able to handle half an hour easy with efforts the day before. Maybe just do 15 minutes and see how you feel. If you feel like you’re only getting more tired, or you’re creating too much stress, just stop.

Alternatively, go with the ‘don’t experiment on race day’ mantra and don’t do an opener. Maybe that’s better left for your next hard training ride.

Copy that. Thanks for input. I’ll line up Truuli -2 for Friday with that mentality. It’ll be good to learn a little bit about how my body reacts. I know the ‘stale’ feeling however, I’m usually so jacked on adrenaline from the event I don’t even notice. =P

However, that’d be neat to see how adrenaline plays a factor in all this.

I had my eye on a 10mile PB at a TT last Saturday, and had geared my training towards it, even managing to convince She Who Must Be Obeyed to let me out for a few days of training on a Family Holiday to Lanzarote.

Unfortunately, the bib shorts I took with me literally ripped me in half, and meant I couldn’t even think about getting on the bike for a good 10days prior to the event.

On the Saturday morning I set tip the TT Bike on the Turbo, loaded Truuli-2, and did the 2x FTP Efforts to see if I could hold a position, and also to give my legs a bit of a wake up.

Bearing in mind, I hadn’t ‘trained’ for at least 10 days prior, and had spent 7 of those days sat on a sun bed drinking beer, to only be 30s down on my time from last year was pretty decent I reckon :laughing:

Openers, as above, are very subjective. Sometimes they’ll work, sometimes, they won’t.

So follow up, this worked well for me. I only did the 30 minute effort and when I stepped to the line the following morning there was no heavy legs feeling or omg mental despair. I like it. I personally don’t know if anything greater would’ve helped but hey, it’s an experience :grin: definitely worth a try for those considering it.