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Prepare to Perform at a Criterium Event

Criteriums are becoming super popular amongst all cyclists - they're the hybrid event that sees track and road riders converge over the 20, 30, 40 minutes plus final few laps. 

If you're a sprinter, you're likely to hang midfield and wait for your big break in the final few hundred meters. If you're endurance, you're likely to hit out early and hope for an everlasting breakaway. Physiology aside, preparation in the lead up to your event is paramount to your performance on the day.

In this blog, we want to count three days out from your event. For the purpose of this exercise, lets put your fitness aside and assume you're fit, healthy and ready for your event. 

3 days out... 

3 days out from your event, go for a ride, complete some indoor ergo work, or visit the track for a session. The training you do three days out is unlikely to have any major fitness benefits to your result in 3 days time, but that's okay, because what you're aiming to do is to prepare your body to perform. At your training session, ensure you have a set or two where you focus on neural engagement and high speed pedalling. To achieve this you might want to incorporate a few spin outs on the rollers, or downhill sprints on small gears. Before completing this, make sure your body is warmed up. A typical sessions may look like this: 

Road Ride: 

  • 10km warm up (increase cadence to 90-100rpm and build a light sweat)
  • 5k-15k moderate pace (60-75% of Heart Rate Maximum) - the duration here will depend on your training week and any other goals you have ahead, the priority of the criterium etc.
  • 2 x 200m downhill spins on small gears (take 5 mins easy between each, rolling recovery) 
  • 10k easy - bring heart rate back to 50% of Heart Rate Maximum and roll home

2 days out...

2 days out from the event it's important to ensure you are hydrated, and you're maintaining a healthy eating plan to ensure you are enabling recovery and preparing your body to perform. Stay away from alcohol and foods with high saturated fats (deep fried foods which you shouldn't really be eating anyway). Alcohol will act as a diuretic causing dehydration, hindering your body's ability to recover and replenish, and increase the risk of further dehydration symptoms such as a headache, or general tiredness. 

Today, take it easy on the exercise - plan an easy session such as a light ride or roller session followed by a static stretching routine and roll out on the foam roller. A typical session may look like this:


  • Warm up 10 mins - increase cadence up to 95pm 
  • Maintain 95-105rpm for 10mins
  • Warm down 5mins - decrease cadence to 85rpm and slow heart rate
  • Stretching routine - 15 mins

1 Day Out...

A day out from the event, or the day before - whichever way you want to look at it is all about race prepraration. To start witih, make sure all your equipment is packed and ready to go, your bike is in tip-top condition and you don't require any maintenance work. This is really important... we've seen a lot of riders turn up to criteriums, the gun goes off, and crunch - there goes their chain.... make sure your bike is in MINT condition :-) 

Pack water bottles, electrolytes and spare tubes - particularly if you're riding to the criterium and home again afterwards. The last thing you want to happen is a blown tyre before the race even starts... 

Training-wise, today, keep it light but ensure you aren't getting to sluggish. We'd recommend a short road ride with a few light small gear sprints, a small stint in your race gear, then an easy warm down. 

A typical session may look like this:

Road Ride:

  • 10-15 minute warm up - up to 100rpm 
  • 2 x flat road sprints on small gears (approx. 200 meters in length)
  • 10 minutes easy ride - 90-100rpm 
  • 1 x 200m moderate effort in race gear 
  • 10-15 minutes warm down (small gears, cadence >85rpm)

Race Day...

Good luck on race day, make sure you ensure a good warm up prior to your race (don't get on the start line cold).. 

If you're looking for a warm up routine, we'd recommend the following:

If riding from home:

  • Ride to the event (small gears, cadence >95rpm)
  • 1 x flat road sprint on small gear (2-300 meters)
  • Rolling recovery: 5-10 minutes 
  • 1 x flat road sprint on race gear (200 meters)
  • Allow 10-15 minutes rest before the event starts

If driving to the event, and warming up at the event:

  • 10-15 minutes warm up (95-100rpm)
  • 1 x flat road sprint on small gear (2-300 meters)
  • Recover 5-10 minutes rolling 
  • 1 x flat road race gear sprint (200 meters)
  • Allow 10-15 minutes rest before the event starts

If you have any questions or comments please leave them in the comments box below!