Athletes often compete in cold environments and may face delays due to weather or race logistics between performance of a warm-up and the start of the race. This study sought to determine, 1) whether a delay after warm-up affects subsequent time trial (TT) performance and, 2) if exposure to a cold environment has an additive effect. We hypothesized that after a warm-up, 30-minutes of rest in a cold environment would negatively affect subsequent rowing and running performance. In a temperate (Temp; 24[degrees]C) or cold (Cold; 5[degrees]C) environment, 5 rowers (33+/-10 yrs; 83+/-12 kg) and 5 runners (23+/-2 yrs; 65+/-8kg) performed a 15-min standardized warm-up followed by a 5 or 30 min rest and then performed a 2 km rowing or 2.4 km running TT. The 5-min rest following warm-up in the temperate environment (5Temp) served as the control trial to which the other experimental trials (5Cold; 30Temp; 30Cold) were compared. Heart rate (HR), lactate, esophageal (Tes) and skin (Tsk) temperatures were measured throughout. Post-rest and post-TT, Tes and Tsk were lowest in the 30Cold trials. The greatest decrement in TT performance vs. 5Temp occurred in 30Cold (-4.0%; difference of 20 sec). This difference is considered to have practical importance as it was greater than the reported day-to-day variation for events of this type. We conclude that longer elapsed time following warm-up, combined with cold air exposure, results in potentially important reductions in exercise performance. Athletes should consider the appropriate timing of warm-up. In addition, performance may be preserved by maintaining skin and core temperature following a warm-up, via clothing or other means.
Copyright (C) 2014 by the National Strength & Conditioning Association.