From the Coaches: Pre/Post Workout Routines

From the Coaches: Tips and Best Practice for Pre/Post Workout Routines:

We often hear people say they are nervous or worried about an upcoming ride, more so for events or fitness tests but it can also happen for a regular ride on your training plan. We all have sessions we look forward to more than others, and a 4DP result to identify your rider type can give you certain premonitions too.

But how often do you get to the end of a workout and think:

“I’m done with exercising, I never want to do that again!”

(Okay now I come to think of it… Violator, Full Frontal, Nine Hammers…the list goes on!). Joking aside though the rush of endorphins and satisfaction of completing a ride to achieve your honour, glory and victory is one of the best feelings you can get! And the truth of it is, we do all our workouts to feel better about ourselves and gain something positive.

So coming back to before a ride, there can often be more apprehension and nervousness than is really necessary about the task at hand. Sometimes that is justified but more often not as you need to remember that you are in control of the intensity:

You set your 4DP numbers by pushing YOUR body to achieve the best it could,

You entered that event because you wanted to achieve something great!

Here are some tips to help you get ready for each and every time you get on the bike or go for a workout:

  1. Plan ahead! Being in the know about what you have scheduled for the upcoming day (and even week) will help you make time in your day/week for your rides
  2. Make sure you are sufficiently fuelled & hydrated. You want to give yourself the best possible chance of doing well and looking after your body
  3. Be prepared and organised. Know what you are doing and have your equipment charged and ready
  4. Take time to warm up and get your body ready for exercise. Maybe you have some pre-workout rituals or race day rituals.
  5. Go in with a positive attitude but be realistic. If you haven’t had the best day and are feeling tired, stressed or anything else, there is no shame in reducing the intensity of the workout by 10-20% if it means you are going to complete the ride and feel better for it.
  6. Give it your best and see it through

Last week Mac talked about what to do when you miss a workout and the impact of “Stress -> Rest -> Adaptation -> Repeat” on your body. Going through your pre-workout routine will help you determine exactly how much stress you can handle for this particular workout. Doing any form of exercise is going to put stress on your body and move you that little bit further along in your fitness journey to achieve greater heights the next time an event or fitness test comes around.

On the flipside, after a workout, always make sure you take some time to:

  • Spin out and cool down so you can flush out that lactic acid and deoxygenated blood from your body
  • Let your HR return to a normal level which also helps with the recovery process
  • Take some time to reflect on the workout and what you would do differently next time
  • Spend a few minutes stretching to bring your muscles back to normal length
  • Rest, refuel and get excited about your next ride

There you have it, the next time you have a tough workout scheduled in your training plan, I want to hear a big WAHOO from you and lots of excitement to see just how much you have improved since your last 4DP numbers.

Which workout (Sufferfest or outdoor ride) is your nemesis?

What are your pre/post workout rituals to help you crush it?

What would you do more of if you had the time?

PS: If you are struggling with your training and need an extra nudge, check out our customised plans where a coach will spend 30mins talking to you about your goals and training and from there create a customised plan to help you move in the right direction!


4DP - because despite all the advice I’ll give, I’m in this for getting stronger and every three months seeing the number go down can be super depressing.
Nine Hammers because I’ve never managed it

** What are your pre/post workout rituals to help you crush it?
4DP - usually follows the full prep week so that yoga and mental side is all lined up, on the morning I’ll do a prep ride these days (GCN Ready Steady Go), frabbwhat I think might be rocket fuel if some sort (caffeine/amino type pre workout shake thing) and then go for it
NH - don’t always do all of the above but sometimes

** What would you do more of if you had the time?
A more focussed programme that was managed and ‘led’ by a coach. That’s pro territory though and pro money, hence never done it.



Great post and it follows @Coach.Mac.C post seamlessly!

Thanks again! Great post!


Thank you, @Coach.Rupert.H.

Another great article from you coaches. And I have to say, I really enjoy your writing style. Somehow I always feel like you are talking right to me. :slight_smile:

I am very satisfied with my pre workout routine. I get up early before the family, hydrate and take around 15 minutes to just sit and check in with my body. Afterwards I „get pumped“ up with a few good songs and light stretching before I jump on my bike and start the workout.

My post workout routine, though, it needs a lot of tweaking. I will take some of your flipside suggestions by heart.


Which workout (Sufferfest or outdoor ride) is your nemesis?
Hell Hath No Fury

What are your pre/post workout rituals to help you crush it?
Pre: delete the workout from the calendar/App/anywhere it might appear
Post: there is no post

What would you do more of if you had the time?
Invent a time machine, travel back to 2013 (or whenever it was) and persuade Sir DMcQ the younger to create an awesome workout called “The Omnium” instead of that other miserable one he had in mind. And then maybe go back to the Cretaceous period and warn Fluffy about the big rock that the ancestors of the laser goats are about to throw at her…

Joking aside: Hell Hath No Fury is my nemesis (although it’s not my only one). Not sure the rest was actually a joke :smile:


Great post again. I’m loving the replies so far too. Interesting to read and it’s good to see that we all get anxious or worried about some workouts.

Which workout (Sufferfest or outdoor ride) is your nemesis?
Nine Hammers, A Very Dark Place, Full Frontal. I wouldn’t say I have a nemesis outdoor, but I can get worried about a climb if I’m really trying to nail a time on it.

What are your pre/post workout rituals to help you crush it?
Pre: Prepare water bottles and kit ahead of time. Make sure the bike is all working properly. I like to run though my training calendar daily so I know what’s coming up, which lets me mentally prepare for the tough workouts in a week.
Post: Make sure I cool down and refuel before looking over the numbers.

What would you do more of if you had the time?
I think like @Martin I would consider a personalised training plan, but currently have no major events or goals lined up on which to focus. I’m hoping this will change over/after the winter and I may reconsider then (not that I’m pro or even vaguely close :joy:)


Which workout (Sufferfest or outdoor ride) is your nemesis?
The Shovel - The third time was the first time I actually felt I had mastered it. But then my 4DP numbers went up. Now I’m back to praying I can finish and trying to talk myself through it.

What are your pre/post workout rituals to help you crush it?
Including the mental strength plan has helped all my training, immensely. I have to get decent sleep, wake up earlier, and have some snacks before so I don’t completely bonk. Being fueled helps keep from physically bonking, but more importantly, provides more mental energy which may actually be the more important of the two.

What would you do more of if you had the time?
Work out later in the day (or at least get more sleep). That would also help me be more awake and be able to fuel better before the hard interval workouts. I’d also be able to ride longer to build a better base and ride outside more often. I’d possibly consider a personalized training plan to better work with my running and swimming, but since I have no races until at least next May - and currently have no access to a pool - that’s not a current priority.


ISLTA is my nemesis, I rode it last week and cracked about 40 mins in, I was dialling down the intensity down to about 80%, I still could not pedal so I climbed off the bike with an hour to go. This week did it again, started at 95 %and held it for most of the ride, cadence dropped to 30 settings dropped to 90% but I recovered and completed the full ride. throughout I was ignoring the video and visualising big red letters saying I did it, I did it, which I would have posted had I had the energy to go online , but the visualisation was a big help
What would I do more of? sleep I waste recovery time doing trivial stuff when a nap may serve me better


Number 4 is super important for me as I get deeper into my builds. I usually do the GCN warm up or igniter before everything.


Thanks everyone who has shared their thoughts so far, it is so interesting to hear about everyone’s personal struggles.

We are all different and yet we all have in common that we keep coming back for more…
Stay Strong and embrace that suffering!


This is an interesting topic. As Coach Rupert says, we are all different, so it’s interesting to read just how different people’s replies are.

  • Which workout (Sufferfest or outdoor ride) is your nemesis?

Generally, base sessions. I get bored. Even if I’m on the road, but at least there’s always the chance to throw a diversion in to change the scenery/take in a hill. On the trainer I struggle. I’m sure it’s not the done thing to admit to using other platforms (no, not THAT one…) but one of them that has real-life videos has helped me get some time on the bike in a manner different to a more structure session.

More specifically, Team Scream. It’s a superb session, but holy *&$% does it give you a kicking. My favourite sessions are probably HHNF, Defender, Thin Air, so you’d think that maybe TS wouldn’t be sooo different, but for some reason it’s the one I just know will hurt. I love it though.

From a previous life as a competitive swimmer I’ve spent many hours doing high rep. short intervals and I think I’m psychologically set for those sort of things. So that kind of session never seems to hold any fear for me. I know it’ll hurt but I know I’ve been there before. Getting into the longer-rep things like HHNF has been a more recent thing for me but I’m enjoying it. Mentally I’ve tried approaching Team Scream like it’s an interval sessions, with each pull being the next rep, but it’s difficult but it’s not like you’ve got any recovery between them. The best approach seems to be to hang on for dear life and know, just know, that it’ll come to an end.

Interestingly I don’t really see FF as a nemesis. I’m quite competitive, even with myself, so the idea of testing myself (and hopefully seeing improvement) is something I quite like. I also love the 20min-test video. Seeing Sagan smash the tour of Flanders is a great motivator. At the end of the 4DP test though I’m not quite as fresh as he was at the end. No one-handed wheelies from me, even on a stationary trainer.

  • What are your pre/post workout rituals to help you crush it?

I’m pretty good at flicking the mental switch and getting in the zone, so I have very few pre-workout rituals. Like anything I find the key is to look forward to something rather than fear it or think of as a chore (even The Chores…). You’ll never get the most out of something that you’ve already told yourself you don’t want to do. If I’m having a rough day I just try and look at the seesion as some positive time to myself away from the rest of life. And if the day is going well then I tell myself that today is the day to absolutely smash it. Bring on Team Scream, I’ll take it down this time (note: that never happens, despite best efforts).

Post-workout, I almost always have a hot chocolate made with chocolate protein powder, to the point where it is certainly a ritual. I definitely feel the benefits of some protein after fard sessions (maybe it’s psychological. There is lots of research about when protein is/isn’t effective post workout and I don’t pretend to be matching their recommendations, but my muscles just don’t feel as ruined and I’m fresher for the next day’s session). And making it into a hot chocolate just makes it feel a bit decadent. My youngest, (and chocoholic) son also loves stealing a bit and that’s become a ritual in itself, which I love.
And a hot shower. 5 more minutes to wash the pain away before the normal day carries on. I don’t think you can underestimate the psychological benefits of a really hot, unrushed shower, never mind anything physical.

  • What would you do more of if you had the time?

More base, despite the associated boredom, see above…
I’ve been trying to stick to a training plan but work/family/life have made it difficult recently, so I’m following best I can. More time would let me do that more rigourously. The added covid-disruption to the triahtlon season has blown the whole year apart too, so more normality would be just as good as more time.

[end of waffle]



Ok so after all that above I think I’ve found my nemesis. I did G.O.A.T. last night for the second time switching to a smart trainer and first time round I dont think I paid attention to the target RPMs. That was tough. When I did look up from the stem to check how mnay reps were left, I relaised I was only on the 2nd of 8.

Hitting > 400 watts at 50rpm didn’t make my hip flexors happy. Nor were the hammies this morning. Even ‘He Who Never Sits’ was firmly in the saddle for most of that video, which made me feel a little better.

Quite looking forward to the next time though!


Nice, those are some big targets on an FTP workout!
Keep on going…Grinding Out At Threshold :goat:


400w for the target for GOAT? You monster!