Sean Hurley's '5 Common Training Mistakes' has me thinking about sprint training at TR

Sean’s post linked below…

Mistake #1 is no sprint training which I have certainly been guilty of! But (as I posted in the comments of this blog post) does TR share some of the guilt here?

Even in the Crit Specialty program, are there really any sprint workouts? What does everybody think…are 4 or 5 180%-of-FTP 20second efforts a week enough to ‘train your sprint’ or do riders really need to get outside and do a Burgomaster or Almquist type sprint workout every week to stimulate sufficient adaptation?

I have no idea. What is the minimum sprint training load? Dunno.

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Classic.

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In case anybody is curious…

Burgomaster (Gibala’s lab)

Almquist

I have no clue, but I did listen to a podcast from CTS (TrainRight podcast) where the Adam (host) did an interview with one of his athletes who’s a Cat 1 (sprinter) and they raised his sprint power not by doing sprint work, but by focusing on raising FTP.

4. You Do Too Much Intensity (With Not Enough Recovery)

How ironic…

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Here is one of my favorite articles on the topic:

Actual content and recommendations, oh my.

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I don’t practise sprints on the trainer but I do 3 or 4 efforts at the end of my endurance rides. Whilst I’m not completing ‘sets’ as per the CTS article, I am weirdly doing a combination of the sprint drills suggested.

The first sprint I do is from an almost dead stop, up hill, after a sharp left hander into which it’s almost impossible to carry speed. The hill transitions to flat and I catch my breath for 20 or so seconds. Then the road drops down slightly and I give it full gas in my biggest gear. Once the road levels out and I’m feeling resistance, I cut it off and catch my breath again. Then it’s another left hander onto my street. I can carry speed into this turn. Once I’ve made sure the road is clear, I chuck the bike into the turn, pop out of the saddle and try to turn my gearing over until I shoot past my house.

Whilst completely lacking in any form of structure, this approach has severed me well.

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What part of you did it sever?

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This is something I was thinking about literally seconds ago before opening the forum.

TR does not give you anywhere near enough sprint workouts, and only occasionally assigns them in Train Now: Attacking or in specialty plans even though it should really be a part of every stage and type of training (only triathletes don’t sprint at the end of a race!). Even if it’s four five or ten-second sprints added on to another scheduled session. Or just a prompt on the calendar to “go outside and do five 15-second sprints.”

I question the point of even having a Sprint level as it stands.

Doing high-level Anaerobic workouts should bump up your Sprint level a little, and high-level VO2 max should bump up your Anaerobic level a bit. Well, really all of the levels should affect the adjacent levels a little bit.

I find myself doing workouts that are basically all easier than they should be and then receiving a token bump to my level. This is exacerbated by the fact that your levels get reset even if your ramp test results go down (the levels should stay where they were, if not go up a little).

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I feel that doing my sprints like this offers me several takeaways.

Muscle activation being one. Can I get a big-ish gear up to speed quickly? Can I repeat that effort? If I’m trying to cover a break, there’s a good chance I’m going to have to.

The sensation of putting in several hard digs after sustained endurance work being another. Unless you’re surrounded by incredibly talented team mates or your pack riding skills are so dialled that you’ve conserved energy for the majority of the race, you’re not going to be sprinting fresh. How does that feel?

I get a chance to experiment with my sprint technique. I have a solid grasp on what good sprint technique should be but I’d never claim that my technique is good. I experiment with my gear selection, hand position, dominant foot placement.

So in conclusion I’m working on both the physical and mental components. Getting my body in a position to be able to sprint whilst mentally accepting the sensations that accompany the effort.

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Probably a little bit. If I’m not doing any sprint work even form sprints will probably help! :smiley: But when I’m reading the literature on SIT those intervals are all out. I’m not convinced doing two to four 20s ~500W efforts is the best way to train sprints.

And I think past TR podcasts would sort of back me up there.

So I was kind of getting a major case of cognitive dissonance while I read Sean’s post. Ha!