The Cyclocross Workout Of The Day for Monday, 12.26.16. “Explosive Taper”
Well, it’s the day after Christmas. Yowza!
Just over a week left in the season for the few folks who are still plugging away through Nationals.
It’s taper time.
Generally I’m not a huge fan of the traditional tapering schemes found in most training programs. Too long, too steep, too much left on the table in the process of aiming for success at one big event.
But there’s definitely something to be said for a small taper as we head into the final event of the year.
What do I mean by that?
Cut your volume down this week.
Go shorter and faster.
All the next week we will be focusing on very short, intense efforts, with an emphasis on making the legs turn fast.
No long efforts, no slogs.
Hit it, quit it, rest, recover.
Recovery is huge.
Don’t come into Nationals tired, come in feeling like you’re ready to explode…
…in a good way, though. That “If I don’t ride my damn bike I’m going to lose my mind” kinda’ way, dig?
The idea is to come into Nationals feeling like the exertion of the event will be a release not an obligation… make sense?
Anyways, today we begin with…
Going Downhill Fast –
So, ok… not like that. Like this…
Start by warming up well, a bit longer than usual – 30 minutes or so.
Find a gradual downhill that lets out on a flat section of road or trail. The ideal setup for this workout is a downhill that’s about a block long that turns into a flat section of road another block or so in length.
Extra bonus points if you can loop back to the start without having to turn around – that would be perfect.
You’re going to do 3-5 sets of 5 sprints, full gas. Here’s how the sprints go:
Roll down the gradual descent in a comfortable gear. You want to hit the bottom of the hill going fast, but not yet in a sprint.
As soon as you hit the flat section at the bottom of the hill, get out of the saddle and give it full gas.
Sit back down as you get up to full speed, and try to go even faster.
Go until you are spun out.
Spun out means that your legs can’t go any faster, your form goes completely to hell, or you start bobbing up and down on the saddle a lot.
Ideally, a little bit of all of those things.
Remember, we’re working on leg speed today, so really focus on turning your legs over. The goal isn’t to make the bike go fast, the goal is to make your legs go fast.
There’s a difference, eh? Try to keep it in mind, ok?
That’s one rep. You’re doing sets of 5.
Each sprint should take just a few seconds. Recover for 30 seconds to a minute between them, and 5 minutes between sets.
Stop when you hit 5 sets or just aren’t getting the same leg speed you were on the first couple of reps.
When you’re done, spin out your legs and go home.
– You should start the sprint in a pretty big gear, and spin it out. How big? It depends on how fast you’re going and how strong you are. You’re working on speed here, so don’t try to lug a giant gear, but the gear needs to be big enough that you accelerate when you hit it at the end of the downhill.
– Important, let me reiterate: stand up out of the saddle when you start to sprint, and gradually sit down as you begin to spin up into your sprint.
– Don’t forget to breathe. Seriously. Too many people hold their breath when they sprint. Don’t be one of them.