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Workouts for repeated accelerations in races

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Workouts for repeated accelerations in races

Old 02-09-15, 03:14 PM
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bob78h
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Workouts for repeated accelerations in races

Hey all,
What kind of intervals should I do to train for the repeated accelerations that happen in races? i started racing this weekend and found that the pacing was super inconsistent. The pack would hammer up one hill then slow down up the next one then hammer again, eventually splitting the field. This pretty much killed my legs and I got dropped by the break halfway into the race. I don't think it's an aerobic fitness thing since I time trialed my way in well clear of the main field, and once I got dropped by the break the gap was a constant 30 seconds.

To me it seems that I need to work on being able to accelerate and recover quickly in order to be in a spot to win. I've been told that I'm a strong rider and my power numbers are pretty decent in sustained efforts but the inconsistent pacing in races just saps my legs completely, and eventually I hit a point where I'm unable to recover in time to stay with the front group. Any advice you guys have would be great!
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Old 02-09-15, 07:03 PM
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hit up the local fastest groups and attack
do not work the peloton paceline
either be off the front, or prepping for another effort

you'll force your learning curve and accept how to recover at speed
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Old 02-09-15, 07:11 PM
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Originally Posted by bob78h View Post
What kind of intervals should I do to train for the repeated accelerations that happen in races?


1. Do intervals that consist of repeated accelerations and recovery at speed.


2. Do more group rides to practice holding wheels without constantly getting gapped off and having to jump back on.
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Old 02-09-15, 08:06 PM
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Floor drills with accelerations mixed in. For example, go 20 minutes and do not drop under a certain wattage (go low because its hard) and do an acceleration during certain times, say every minute.

Really the group suggestion is the best, since more than likely many of your accelerations are pointless and could be avoided with smart tactics and smooth riding.
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Old 02-09-15, 08:46 PM
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anybody said "racing" yet? because: racing
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Old 02-09-15, 08:55 PM
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Originally Posted by Ygduf View Post
anybody said "racing" yet? because: racing
this, duh.

hard group rides the next best thing. not the kind of group ride that has a "leader" who's some guy in a flappy rain jacket on raised up aero bars. the kind that have attacks, sprints, and occasional crashes.
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Old 02-09-15, 09:35 PM
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Originally Posted by bob78h View Post
Hey all,
What kind of intervals should I do to train for the repeated accelerations that happen in races? i started racing this weekend and found that the pacing was super inconsistent. The pack would hammer up one hill then slow down up the next one then hammer again, eventually splitting the field. This pretty much killed my legs and I got dropped by the break halfway into the race. I don't think it's an aerobic fitness thing since I time trialed my way in well clear of the main field, and once I got dropped by the break the gap was a constant 30 seconds.

To me it seems that I need to work on being able to accelerate and recover quickly in order to be in a spot to win. I've been told that I'm a strong rider and my power numbers are pretty decent in sustained efforts but the inconsistent pacing in races just saps my legs completely, and eventually I hit a point where I'm unable to recover in time to stay with the front group. Any advice you guys have would be great!
What sort of numbers? Range of +/- 50w, say. And how do you know, do you have a powermeter or was it testing done on a borrowed powermeter?

Also what size bike you use?

As an archetypal sit-and-sprint racer, I'll avg 160-190w in a race. I'm small so I ride an equivalent size S Giant TCR frame height. I'll see a bunch of 500-800w jumps (15? 20?) and maybe one 1000-1200w effort other than the finish.

I mention the numbers because if you're not seeing similar numbers then you need to vary your workouts more. No more "do the loop as fast as possible". Focus instead on really short, really fast efforts. You want to experience some of those 800-1000w jumps, and if you can get the numbers up to 1200-1400+ then great.

If you're in the wind too much then you won't have the gas to respond to moves. I try to limit myself to seeing 60 seconds of wind per hour of racing. More than 5-10 seconds in a lap and I get a bit desperate looking for shelter.

If you're strong and fit then crits should be excruciatingly boring until you decide to make a move. When you do it ought to be ferocious, crushing the other racers' legs morale and whatever else.

I made three clips around the Tues Night races that I race during the summer. I wasn't fit, frequently doing the Tues Night race as my only ride of the week (no warm up, no cool down, so about an hour of riding). I raced with the Cat 3-4-5 field and tried to help my Cat 3 teammates. After a few embarrassing races where they all "stayed in the top 10 or 15", "avoided crashes" (although one fell), "tried to cover moves", etc etc (think of all the things that everyone says to do), and they all managed to ride themselves out of contention before the last 5 laps of the race.

I did a few blog posts on how to approach a race:
1. How to approach a training race. (Every race is a training race when you start).
2. Not getting lapped (doesn't apply to you but the riding in the field does).
3. Wind.
4. Cornering.
5. Peak speeds (applies to you I think).

It's not workout related but I hope it helps.
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Old 02-09-15, 10:18 PM
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My FTP is 250 watts, I'm 5'9 145 lbs and I ride a 52 frame. I can put down 343 watts for 5 minutes and 300 watts for 10 minutes. I do have a power meter on my bike. I averaged 240 watts for the 70 minute road race (where I soloed half the race) and the same for a 30 minute circuit race (both hilly courses). I have a fair amount of experience in fast group rides and practice crits but I mostly just sit in the rotation, I will work in some attacks in the future. In the flat practice crit I see similar numbers to those that you mention, averaging under 200 watts with lots of jumps at 500 watts.

So now that my numbers are out there does this seem like a fitness issue? Given that I come from a strong running background and have been riding a fair bit for the past year, I am thinking that my problem isn't base fitness but rather being able to clear the lactic acid or recover from short, high wattage efforts while riding at race pace. It seems like my legs just don't like quick changes in effort. I feel like I just need a few weeks of intervals that target this problem to tune up my legs and get them used to these kinds of efforts.

By the way, thanks for everyone's comments, especially yours CDR! I've read a couple of your blog posts and will be sure to check out the rest of them, they are always informative! To everyone telling me to race more, I will certainly be racing a lot this season, and I am pretty comfortable riding in fast groups and following wheels. I think my problem lies more with recovering at speed, so what specific intervals do people like to do for this?
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Old 02-09-15, 10:47 PM
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These are good. And by good I mean terrible. Which is good. https://home.trainingpeaks.com/blog/article/criterium-power-analysis-comparing-two-files

But what's best is to race more and get comfortable staying near the front so you can avoid the accordion.
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Old 02-10-15, 04:22 AM
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You could try a shovel interval. @shovelhd can better describe these to you, but I have made my own version of them.

Essentially, one hour at tempo where every 5 minutes you do a spinup. A spinup is where I just quickly increase my RPMs until I am way into the anaerobic zone. They tend to get me above 200% ftp. After each spinup (which last around 10 seconds) return to TEMPO. Do not go under tempo power, ever.

It won't hurt as much during the second 30 minutes as you might expect.


Last edited by Grumpy McTrumpy; 02-10-15 at 04:30 AM.
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Old 02-10-15, 06:32 AM
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Like others have said, race, fast group rides and try different things in these. Don't be afraid to get dropped, it has happened to us all At some point. These are the best things you can do. As far as workouts I like to do repeated sprint efforts like 10 x 15 sec on and 15 off or 10 x 30 sec on, 30 off
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Old 02-10-15, 06:33 AM
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I have been doing a lot of shovel intervals lately. They don't really help with intensity but they work the lower back pretty good.

Wait, what are we talking about?
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Old 02-10-15, 06:59 AM
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Originally Posted by Ygduf View Post
anybody said "racing" yet? because: racing

My first year of getting dropped, I mean racing, did wonders to my fitness.
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Old 02-10-15, 08:27 AM
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Tabatas and bridge intervals helped me with that.

If you are not familiar with those, Tabatas are intervals alternating short, hard sprint efforts with equally short, or shorter, rest periods, i.e. 15 sec. sprint, 15 sec. recovery, repeat 8 or 10 times. You can also do 10s sprint, 20s recovery or 20s sprint, 10s recovery.

For bridge intervals, I often do 15s full sprint, 1-min. at 90 percent of FTP, 15s full sprint, 3 min recovery, repeat.
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Old 02-10-15, 09:04 AM
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Originally Posted by topflightpro View Post
If you are not familiar with those, Tabatas are intervals alternating short, hard sprint efforts with equally short, or shorter, rest periods, i.e. 15 sec. sprint, 15 sec. recovery, repeat 8 or 10 times. You can also do 10s sprint, 20s recovery or 20s sprint, 10s recovery
While it's true one can do whatever they want, Tabatha is a specific protocol of 20 on / 10 off. Importantly if you can't maintain the work load you're not doing it, and in the original study they disqualified results where the testee didn't maintain a set, I believe, cadence.

Last edited by gsteinb; 02-10-15 at 09:53 AM.
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Old 02-10-15, 09:25 AM
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First off- how are you measuring power? Just curious.

As everyone has pretty much said- short, high-intensity intervals. The kind where if you can still read a power meter display, you're doing it wrong. I do them on short sections of hills, riding up as hard as I can for a given interval, then riding down easily to recover.

You need to train your body's ability to recover from hard efforts quickly.
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Old 02-10-15, 09:52 AM
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My nutshell for training for short road races:

A good solo performance will rarely help you win short bicycle races so avoid training yourself for them. On your solo training rides, sprint for 10-15 seconds out of every corner and then work on keeping a good pace while you recover from those short efforts. Sprint every short hill over the top, then practice your aero tuck and downhill coasting efficiency and speed. Save energy when you can during the races. Overall power does not mean much in a short road race until you can see the finish line. Being able to read and respond to the see-saw is much more important. Stay up front and drive the accordion effect and don't have to respond to it.

Also, your heart rate will tell you what you have left in the tank. Keep an eye on it and hide behind some folks when you need to. If you are in a break and struggling, find a friend, recover and help them out when you can. If they agree to help and do more work for the remainder, give them the place.

Last edited by Number400; 02-10-15 at 10:11 AM.
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Old 02-10-15, 10:42 AM
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Originally Posted by gsteinb View Post
While it's true one can do whatever they want, Tabatha is a specific protocol of 20 on / 10 off. Importantly if you can't maintain the work load you're not doing it, and in the original study they disqualified results where the testee didn't maintain a set, I believe, cadence.
Tabata has become too synonymous with HIIT it seems. While tabata is HIIT, not all HIIT is tabata. It's a heck of a workout though and will definitely help the OP in his training. Also, youre right on the cadence, I think it was somewhere around 85-90, not 100% sure though.
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Old 02-10-15, 10:55 AM
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Originally Posted by bob78h View Post
Hey all,
What kind of intervals should I do to train for the repeated accelerations that happen in races?
its says bay area on your tag. you could also in addition to intervals do some of the fast saturday rides if not racing - HOP in the east bay (and not the medium...but the regular) or spectrum in the south bay (but stay near the front...or dont but you'll see). also the port of oakland on tuesdays is really good for training.
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Old 02-10-15, 11:17 AM
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Originally Posted by gsteinb View Post
While it's true one can do whatever they want, Tabatha is a specific protocol of 20 on / 10 off. Importantly if you can't maintain the work load you're not doing it, and in the original study they disqualified results where the testee didn't maintain a set, I believe, cadence.
Interesting. I did not know that. I've mostly done 20 on / 10 off, but when I've done similar times, like 15 on/15 off, it seemed so close that I just called them Tabatas.

What I will never forget though, is the first time I did Tabatas, I pretty much collapsed off the bike and just laid on the floor gasping for air when I was done.
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Old 02-10-15, 02:35 PM
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I'll offer the potentially least informed and experienced answer in the thread, but as a 2nd year racer at age 51, I've wrestled this very issue since my first race. I would start races on a par with the other racers, and 30 minutes after the finish, I'm ready to go again, but repeated hills and corners burned my matches like they were going out of style. I just couldn't recover fast enough in the 30 seconds or a minute so between hard efforts.

Obviously, there is a strategic angle to overcoming this - you will learn to be more efficient in turns, pace yourself on hills, and hide in the pack throughout the race, but even when you do these things right, the ability to recover in the 10-60 seconds (Most of my races are crits with 90 second to 4 minute laps) between hard efforts is the difference between finishing in contention and finishing 10 seconds back.

So mid-late season last year I started doing "crit sim intervals" - a 30 second sprint with a minute to recover, repeated 20 times. The times can be adjusted, but these seem to do a fair job of approximating the effort in a 40-50 minute crit. When I do these during the week, crits get easier, and I'm seeing good returns in my ability to recover quickly and my overall endurance.

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Old 02-10-15, 02:36 PM
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Originally Posted by gsteinb View Post
While it's true one can do whatever they want, Tabatha is a specific protocol of 20 on / 10 off. Importantly if you can't maintain the work load you're not doing it, and in the original study they disqualified results where the testee didn't maintain a set, I believe, cadence.
Is that similar to Tabata? Tabata Protocol
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Old 02-10-15, 03:05 PM
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You're troubled I mispelled a word on my phone? Good for you.
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Old 02-10-15, 03:12 PM
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Does any of this translate into what is known as "snap" ?
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Old 02-10-15, 03:33 PM
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FYI: Here's the abstract for the Tabata paper

Med Sci Sports Exerc. 1996 Oct;28(10):1327-30.
[h=1]Effects of moderate-intensity endurance and high-intensity intermittent training on anaerobic capacity and VO2max.[/h]Tabata I[SUP]1[/SUP], Nishimura K, Kouzaki M, Hirai Y, Ogita F, Miyachi M, Yamamoto K.
[h=3]Author information[/h]
[h=3]Abstract[/h]This study consists of two training experiments using a mechanically braked cycle ergometer. First, the effect of 6 wk of moderate-intensity endurance training (intensity: 70% of maximal oxygen uptake (VO2max), 60 min.d-1, 5 d.wk-1) on the anaerobic capacity (the maximal accumulated oxygen deficit) and VO2max was evaluated. After the training, the anaerobic capacity did not increase significantly (P > 0.10), while VO2max increased from 53 +/- 5 ml.kg-1 min-1 to 58 +/- 3 ml.kg-1.min-1 (P < 0.01) (mean +/- SD). Second, to quantify the effect of high-intensity intermittent training on energy release, seven subjects performed an intermittent training exercise 5 d.wk-1 for 6 wk. The exhaustive intermittent training consisted of seven to eight sets of 20-s exercise at an intensity of about 170% of VO2max with a 10-s rest between each bout. After the training period, VO2max increased by 7 ml.kg-1.min-1, while the anaerobic capacity increased by 28%. In conclusion, this study showed that moderate-intensity aerobic training that improves the maximal aerobic power does not change anaerobic capacity and that adequate high-intensity intermittent training may improve both anaerobic and aerobic energy supplying systems significantly, probably through imposing intensive stimuli on both systems.

PMID: 8897392


"seven to eight sets of 20-s exercise at an intensity of about 170% of VO2max with a 10-s rest between each bout"

Good luck with that.
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