Sprint Training

With the recent article on your site about training for pursuit I would just like to ask what typically is done for training to be a sprinter.

The key points I'd like to know are what is the balance of miles to build a good base without sacrificing time spent in the weight room to build strength. Then once the strength is attained how do cycling nations like Australia, France, Germany and England transfer this to the bike?

N. Corcoran

Dave Palese replies:

I wouldn't dare try and get into any specifics as to the actual balance of volume to track specific intensity that track sprinter do, but here are some thoughts.

First, from my personal experience, having lived, ridden and raced on and around the Lehigh Valley Velodrome in Trexlertown, Pennsylvania, USA for six years, I can tell you that the top track sprinters in the world do more long road miles then most people think. As in all disciplines of cycling, aerobic conditioning is the basis and foundation for everything you do. So the majority of your training hours per year will still be aerobic training, done mostly on the road on your road bike.

Second, as far as transferring strength gains from the gym to the bike, get specific. If your goals center around sprint events on the track, match sprint and so forth, you'll want to do sprint specific workouts on the track. These are usually characterized as short explosive and maximum efforts with full recovery between them.

Third, don't neglect tactics and strategy on the track. Track sprinting is a very tactical game. It is important that you understand how to use the track to your advantage. Learn how the banking can be used to help you overcome disadvantages and an also how it works against you. I found that track racing, not just the sprint events, had a big science and physics component. When you understand how a track works, you can make more informed tactical choices.