Sprinting is a rare thing in cycling – a skill we can actually practice. Ignoring tactics, positioning and panache – actually learning how to sprint is vital for every racing cyclist, and even non-racers. This episode breaks down the skill of cycling, including how to read your power meter to analyse your sprint.
[buzzsprout episode=’153375′ player=’true’]
Riders either believe they aren’t a sprinter for physiological reasons, but having a sprint, or at least understanding the principles behind a good sprint is needed for almost every rider. Breaking away, bridging gaps, chasing attacks any time you need to accelerate quickly you’re going to call on the skill of sprinting.
To help with this I got Jonathan Fraley of Cerious Speed Training and Development on the show to give us the breakdown of how to practice and develop your sprint.
Listen in to find the answers to these questions and more:
What lead you to create Form of Sprinting?
Can anyone learn how to sprint?
How have you used the ideas you developed for your own riding?
Technique wise how is sprinting on the track different to sprinting on the road and mountain bike?
The book – The Talent Code by Daniel Coyle talks about this idea of Deep Practice as a practical means for transferring skills. Or simply put – taking your sprinting technique and transferring it into training until it becomes your default technique for sprinting.
He applied 3 rules to this process apply here, and using this framework I want to get a little deeper into your technique.
The first of the 3 Rules of Deep Practice are:
Chunking – slow down, break it down into components. Absorb the whole thing until you can imagine yourself doing it.
You’ve broken down the process of sprinting into 5 steps. Can you give us an overview of the steps.
1: The pedal stroke: The breakdown of the most powerful way to pedal. Most people are loosing efficiency and power with a flat-footed technique. Instantly increase performance with a few simple changes. After this skill is subconscious you can be much more powerful over distance too!
2: Hand position: Simple teaching on how your hand position may be affecting your interface with the bike. This can drop you power and make you slow!
3: The Torque phase: The most important part of interfacing the bike to make
5-second power. Very few understand how important this form is for increasing your power. Up to 100 watts increase in 5-second when done properly. Even more after the skill is mastered!
4: The Run phase: This technique is only used by the most elite of sprinters. This is the extension of your power into high cadence and max speed. This is only taught or innately learned by the fastest sprinters around but it can be applied by anyone. It will make you instantly faster!
5: Seated Power: Today riders can push big gears with tons of torque. No way you’re going to make big power sitting on the front of the saddle. Push a bigger gear faster and longer than you thought possible. This form will keep you more aero and much more efficient over time too!
This is only the start of of the process, actually learning these steps has to begin somewhere. How do ingrain this into the riders you coach?
Step 1: Visualization: Imagining the each step, and thinking about the sensation on each part of the body before getting on a bike.
Step 2: Transferring that onto the bike while it’s an indoor trainer.
Step 3: Deliberate practice on the road, building speed and force over time. Which moves us into Coyle’s second rule:
Repeat it – spend time repeating only when you are at the edge of your abilities. The amount of this type of deep practice that can sustained is 3 – 5 hours.
What are some of your favourite drills?
Learn to feel it
How can a rider measure their sprinting improvement, is it just about producing higher numbers?
Final words of wisdom about sprinting?
- Martin Kohler
- Nutrient Timing, Timing is Everything.
- Low cadence interval training at moderate intensity does not improve cycling performance in highly trained veteran cyclists.
- John Fraley’s Form of Sprinting
- Fogless Lenses
Photo Credit: Good Sport Promotion on Flickr