I’m new to trainerroad this year and I’m using it to train up for racing next year. It will be my second year racing and the first where I’m using structured training leading in.
I’m racing primarily track at my city’s velodrome. When I was picking my discipline in TR I chose criterium because that seemed like the closest format match (plus I’m going to try a couple of crits next year as well).
When looking over my training calendar I noticed that there were no sprint specific workouts. I don’t think I am a sprinter necessarily (I’m one season of racing in, so I don’t think I’m anything specifically ), but I like doing it and I won a bunch of races last year from having a bigger snap and higher power than the rest of the field.
I’d like to swap in or fit in some sprint specific training, but I’m not sure exactly where to do it. I’m on a low volume plan right now with my race season starting in April.
- Are there specific spots to look to fit in sprint workouts?
- Should I add them to the calendar or swap them in for existing workouts?
- If I should swap them in, what kinds of workouts should I swap out?
- Last year I would end every training ride with a hard sprint or two, would that make sense to do on TR workouts or would that mess up my training?
See the TR article at the end. Not particularly related to track, this is the philosophy I’ve used that has worked for me (MTB and gravel). Hopefully this starts a broader discussion for others to comment.
I can’t remember where I grabbed this advice from, but I have it in my training notes as a guideline. To win sprints you need to have good legs at the end of the race. You need to have great endurance, be in good shape and in the correct pack position near end point of the race (distance out depending on course layout). You have to be physically strong obviously, but the racer in best position with the best legs is probably going to win regardless of whether he has the best raw watts. If you have a good base, good general fitness and can get to the end without being smoked, you’ve set yourself up for the sprint.
In the general training phase (Base but particularly Build) you can do some sprint practice, but not too much. About 2-3 jumps once a week on one of your rides as you feel like it, the rest would be your normal training program.
3 weeks out from the targeted race swap two of your training rides (assuming you have a full schedule) for specific sprint drills. Depending on what your taper looks like, mix these sprint workouts in where it makes sense. Have 2 days where you are just doing short speed work. 10-12 jumps/sprints each of those 2 days during those 3 weeks. Have a good recovery gap between each effort. That should be enough to sharpen your sprint for race day.
Welcome to the TR community!
The link to our training article + the other tips @MI-XC posted here are great stuff to get into.
If you want to add in some sprint training to your current plan, searching for what you’d like to do using the TR Workout Library and using the filters to narrow things down would be a good starting point.
If you’re thinking of throwing in a few sprints over the course of a low-intensity ride to focus on form and execution, then you probably don’t need to worry too much about overdoing it on the sprints. Ending your training rides with a hard sprint or two wouldn’t hurt your overall plan either.
If the sessions you’re looking to do are demanding (such as a sprint-specific workout where you might be going all out for short bursts many times over the course of your workout), we’d recommend swapping them out for one of your pre-scheduled workouts. Ideally, you might do this as you get closer to your goal race and are tapering things down so as not to sacrifice fitness gains you could make elsewhere on the power curve – as @MI-XC already said, the freshest racer at the end of a race is often the one who wins. You’ll achieve that freshness through how you ride during the race itself and also through how high you’re able to take your fitness with training.
As for which sessions to replace, we’d advise thinking of which workouts would be most beneficial to you in building the fitness you’ll need for your A race down the line. For example, if your race has a decisive 5-minute climb on the course, you’ll want to prioritize your VO2 Max workouts over something such as Threshold or Sweet Spot – especially as you get closer to your goal event.
All that said, if you’re in the Northern Hemisphere heading into Fall/Winter, you probably don’t need to worry about maxing out your sprint right now. Instead, focus on your aerobic base and throw in a few sprints during your regular training and you’ll be on the right track. Hitting the gym during this time would probably help as well.
Hope this helps! Feel free to let me know if you have any other questions.
Thanks for the feedback and great information @MI-XC and @ZackeryWeimer. I appreciate you taking the time to write it out.
Yeah, I’m not too worried about working in sprint stuff this early in the off season, but it’s nice to have this information early so I can think about how to apply it as I get closer to next season.
I’ll be consuming the article, looking through the workout library, building my cardio engine, and thinking about what you two said
And yeah I’m already lifting (I have way more years lifting than I do track racing) so I’ll be good on that front too
I’m of the opinion you should always be incorporating sprint work into at least 1 endurance ride a week. Years ago I read the following, and it has been true for me:
“Way back when I was racing, Noel Dejonckheere – a Belgian sprinter and winner of four stages of the Vuelta in the 1970s – gave me some advice that stuck with me. He said that even for all-rounders and domestiques like me, practicing sprints once a week during an endurance ride would get me half a wheel in a sprint. Some of the benefit was from increased explosive power, but those sprints also improved my reaction time for accelerations in the peloton to bridge small gaps and go with attacks. When you practice sprinting you’re practicing accelerations, and that has applications far beyond the final surge to the finish line.”
There are no downsides to doing that, in my experience over a long timeframe.
Sometimes I’ll toss in some controlled (lower yet high power) accelerations during the warmup, and then at the end focus on some shorter 10-30 second repeated accelerations/sprints.