Improving short duration power



whoawhoa

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Oct 28, 2004
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I've noticed that my strengths are longer duration intensities. My functional threshold power is my highest, but I drop down as the duration shortens. My four or five minute power is still good, my one minute power bad and my sprint power awful. I have been doing lots of vo2max intervals to work four -six minute power so my questions are these:

How important are 1 minute and sprint (10-15 seconds) power in road racing? I don't think I'll ever be a bunch sprinter, so is there any reason to train this ability.

And, secondly, how do I train these areas best?
 

lyotard

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May 3, 2005
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a (somewhat?) less than expert sprint power primer....

often during a bike race you will encounter anaerobic efforts of less than one minute or thereabouts. moreso in a crit than rr, but at times crucial selections are made during these shorter duration higher intensity efforts.
one fact of bike racing is it can induce deep suffering when things heat up. this is not an easy sport, but those around you will be a-hurtn' too.
to accustom yourself to what you are admitedly awful at the following would be prudent.
pratice the jump, this is the initial component of the sprint. start in a big gear from about ~20 and accelerate, standing. the natural position is pushing slightly forward and rocking side to side slightly. this is brutality with style. keep the back wheel on the ground by keeping a rearward attitude on the bike.

then there is the top speed. you must spin a big gear for this. if you are not able to push the big gear than do "form sprints" for now. form sprints will consist of spinning to max speed in the gear of which you are at present capable. this is also done standing, in the classic sense.(but read on for exceptions)

next is duration. this is where you "get on top of it", get seated and continue at max speed upon having accelerated fully. when training this component of the sprint, do not continue past 20 seconds or you begin to slow, whichever comes first. these can and will be extremely intense, two sets will be good the first week to acclimate, once or twice a week. four sets adequate for overload. eight+ sets considered advanced. sprint specialists have been known to subject themselves to 20 sets.

once this effort is done, recover until you are well rested. in this way you will be able to recruit full effort for the next go.
as for heart rate in a sprint training session, due to the rapid upping of effort the hr does not correspond in real time, you must go by exerting max effort over monitoring of hr.
some exceptions and strategy/tactics:

the above workout is good to train the three basic components of the sprint, the jump, the top speed, and the duration. you may be surprised to find you are better than expected with at least one of these. a good sprinter can often get by on proficiency with one or two. great sprinters have all three. the good news is, sprinting is considered a highly trainable aspect of cycling, with rapid results coming from once or twice weekly sessions.

however, in an actual race things do not play out exactly as the above workout will suggest.

some common scenarios:
a long wind up where a speed of 30 or so is held. whoever can endure the pain and continue putting out the power will then be perhaps in the winning break or at the front.

numerous sprints within the final kilometers or laps. you cannot go with all efforts to your max, some times picking and choosing will work.

sometimes it will be necessary to sprint two or three times to remain in contention. the above training will still prepare you for this to an extent.

one increasingly common method to contest the final sprint does vary from the above workout. the difference is, the jump is perfomed seated, with a long sub top speed approach towards the line. the standing, and perhaps final big gear selection is only resorted to just before the line, so top speed increases all the way to the line. the rocking that occurs here is simular to the description of the jump. this rocking also keeps the wolves at bay making it harder to go 'round or alongside.

extreme rocking is also a stylistic statement, simular to an artist or musician who learns the classically accepted norms then goes far outside them.

you just have to develop the ability to read the race and determine how you can fit in with the scenarios as they unfold.

even a racer who will not be a sprint factor will benefit in working the sprint, as it will make one more of an all 'rounder. another arrow in the quiver.

case in point, a team mate of mine was a climbing specialist, but did get crit results, if only once.

now, as for these one minute plus efforts, i must confess i do not train towards the "kilo mode" as much as sprint. but if no one responds you may ask about one minute efforts specificaly in another thread.

keep 'n beat at it, with the inquisitive attitude you exhibit you are sure to have a one up on 'em.




whoawhoa said:
I've noticed that my strengths are longer duration intensities. My functional threshold power is my highest, but I drop down as the duration shortens. My four or five minute power is still good, my one minute power bad and my sprint power awful. I have been doing lots of vo2max intervals to work four -six minute power so my questions are these:

How important are 1 minute and sprint (10-15 seconds) power in road racing? I don't think I'll ever be a bunch sprinter, so is there any reason to train this ability.

And, secondly, how do I train these areas best?