Background: I’ve never really worked on my sprint. Just a couple spots I tend to hit hard on my commutes and the occasional town sign on group rides. Unusing this “training” method, sprint reliably hit ~850 for five seconds. Max power at around 900. Not great, but pretty darn good for masters woman.
I was crashed out at Gila just before the finishing sprint. Clavicle surgery. 6 weeks mostly off bike. But CTL and FTP have now been back to where they were pre-crash for about 6 weeks. Have resumed same “training” re sprints as before.
But I now can rarely hit over 800 watts max, 5 seconds are sitting in the mid to low 700s. It’s just gone no matter what I try (hard start, rolling start, fast spin, hills, etc) What can I try to get it back?
I just finished a crit I went into fresh where I lost thr bunch sprint by half a bike length. I topped out at 730 watts. I am frustrated.
Unlike endurance (which lasts for ages once you’ve built it up), sprinting goes fast if you dont practice it. Practice is the way to get it back. Lol, as a 48 yo male my max sprint recorded (might have been more pre power meter) is 899w for 1sec and through lack of practice I’ve lost it too the most I’ve done this season is 742 (12.5w/kg based on my weight that morning, add kit and its probably only 10.7w/kg),
6 weeks might not still be quite long enough to have you arriving at a bunch sprint as ‘fresh’ as you used to.
Are you able to get some decent numbers in training when you don’t have a race in your legs before the sprint?
I wonder if you’re not quite able to use as much upper body force as before yet with it being a clavicle break. Not that you’re relying on it, but strong/trained lats and back seem to support my sprint well.
Lastly, if my power is down, I’ll rely more on the jump and then higher RPMs.
Since you’re already a good sprinter, I’m not sure this is helpful. Sorry, it sounds frustrating to be dealing with this.
Apples to apples I’m consistently about 50-70 watts down. I do wonder if it is upper body related. Will keep practicing and trying to be patient. Being more consistent with weight lifting couldn’t hurt, I would think?
You’re sprint at the end of a crit is never going to be as good as it would be before fatiguing yourself for however many minutes of racing. And sprinting still has a large aerobic component to it. So if your FTP or endurance (TTE) are down from normal, your sprint at the end of a race will suffer.
As already stated, the top end power is the first thing you lose but also the fastest to train back. So get some quality high intensity work in for a few weeks and you’ll improve. Just don’t neglect that aerobic engine either.
These are things I’ve heard before, which is why I’m frustrated. My sprint at the end of the race when compared to my prior sprint at the end of races is 50-70 watts low (high 800s winning the sprint on the third day of a stage race last March… 730 watts this morning after a 30 minute crit I actually tapered for. 850 at the hospital sign every Saturday last year, and mid-700s now). My FTP came back way before my top end despite working on both.
I wonder if something is out of sync after the time off, and it hasn’t quite come back together again yet.
You know the feeling of a well executed sprint verses an ugly sprint. I had an ugly one this morning. I thought we were carrying more speed and I clicked two gears up and jumped… bad choice. I quickly did one down and I was still over-geared for my level of fatigue. I barely won and it really felt like I was stomping instead of revving. Yuck, but it happens.
Maybe try some track standing starts if you trust your cleats (and don’t mind replacing BOAs), try high-high RPM spin-ups; whatever might help make/reinforce good mind-body connections in terms of sequence. Obviously, both examples are prone to injury, so, whatever works. I like spin-ups because I don’t go high power by choice but they really get my muscles firing in a good sequence. Then, it’s a matter of pairing that to full force, out of the saddle and a low position, but they really help me out.
Have you evaluated where you are now just by this one race or have you recently tried sprinting while fresh? Here I mean fresh as in early in your ride.
Just because your FTP was “back”, doesn’t mean your TTE (endurance) was back. You were probably more depleted at the end of the race than normal. You said you’ve only been back to the same CTL for about 6 weeks. It’s unlikely that you got the same FTP and TTE so fast, especially as a masters athlete. And if you really did get that fitness back, you might have been doing too ouch fatiguing work to really develop your VO2Max effectively. .
The sprint trains faster than FTP, but it does take explicit focus on it. You want your VO2Max and sprint intervals to be done as hard as possible. Don’t do them based on %FTP, do them based on RPE.
Other factors worth considering aren’t cardio fitness related:
Sprinting well requires good neuromuscular coordination. You need those muscles to fire at just the right time and you need to recruit big muscle units. Being out of practice might be part of the problem.
A good sprint also requires forming a circle of strength with your arms, shoulders and bars. You broke your clavicle. Maybe you are letting your body noodle around the front end?
Related to the above is using narrower bars (if you changed bar width). Narrower bars make it hard to form the circle of power.
Maybe it’s muscular strength rather than cardio. Sprinters need to do gym work to create that explosive capability.
Form is definitely off more often than I’d like. Some days are better than others. Hopefully the muscle memory just needs more focused work and I don’t have a psychological block. I’ll keep working at it, and definitely get back to weight training!
My quick takeaway is that you admittedly never really trained your sprint before, and haven’t focused on it since returning.
I would spend some time doing a structured plan focused on improving your sprint. It will suck…training the high end always does. . But I think you’ll see good improvements relatively quickly if you do.