Riding everywhere is a great way to build endurance but, when it comes to squeezing out more speed, there’s no substitute for sprint-specific training. In today’s episode, Olympic Track Cyclist Giddeon Massie will talk us through his sprint training strategy at the track. Let’s get spinny!
Accelerating from the saddle develops power and helps you really drive your legs when the pace picks up on the track. While you roll around the track, pick out your starting point ahead of you, get into your aero position, get small, and use the bars to pull the bike back into your legs as you power them through the pedals. You're looking for a smooth, quick, ramp-up of power. As you improve, you'll find your top speed increasing and the time it takes to get you there decreasing.
10-15 Minute Rest
Just like in your regular workout, taking a rest between sets is the key to development. If you go again right away, before your muscles have had a chance to recover, you'll be developing endurance, but not strength and power. You can keep doing slow laps or pull off for a bit to stretch and stay limber, just give your legs 10-15 minutes before moving on so you can get the most out of your next set of accelerations.
Standing accelerations follow the same principles, but will help develop different muscles and get your body used to those out-of-the-saddle mashes for the finish line. Just like before, start with a slow roll around the track and pick your starting point. When you hit it, get off the saddle and out over the bars. You want your head down and elbows bent to keep you out of the wind and, again, use your whole body to pull the bike back into your legs as you power through your stroke. A smooth, speedy acceleration is what you're going for, so when the pace cranks up during the race, you don't get left behind.
Don't skip your cooldown! Seriously. When you're training and really pushing yourself, lactic acid builds up in your muscles and that's the stuff that makes you sore the next day. 15-30 minutes of cooldown riding at an easy pace will help clear out your muscles so that when you wake up tomorrow you're ready to go again. Doing a monster workout doesn't do you any good if it makes you too tired to train for the rest of the week. Remember your cooldown and you'll be able to stick to your training schedule all through the season.