Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > Training & Nutrition
Reload this Page >

What workouts should I do to increase my speed on flats?

Notices
Training & Nutrition Learn how to develop a training schedule that's good for you. What should you eat and drink on your ride? Learn everything you need to know about training and nutrition here.

What workouts should I do to increase my speed on flats?

Old 03-29-19, 09:36 AM
  #1  
kevinabbot
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Aug 2018
Posts: 58
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 44 Post(s)
Liked 4 Times in 4 Posts
What workouts should I do to increase my speed on flats?

I am a small guy. I am 17 years old, 5’3” and 115lbs so putting down power to go fast on flats isn’t easy. People say I am really good at climbing and eh on the decents (I am ok with).

Generally every other day I go 20 miles at 20mph avg. I am 17 so don’t have crazy amounts of money for aero bikes. I ride a trek domane alr4 disc and it’s endurance. Where I ride is generally slightly hilly but no huge long climbs. It’s not a flood plain but not like The alps. The biggest thing that slows me down is head winds at like 12mph.

I want to get faster on flats and need a training plan. Tips?
kevinabbot is offline  
Old 03-29-19, 01:26 PM
  #2  
Carbonfiberboy 
just another gosling
 
Carbonfiberboy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Everett, WA
Posts: 17,338

Bikes: CoMo Speedster 2003, Trek 5200, CAAD 9, Fred 2004

Mentioned: 106 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2894 Post(s)
Liked 807 Times in 605 Posts
I do a version of "speed work." One minute full gas in the saddle, 5 minutes easy spinning, repeat 6 times. One can take it easy for another 15 minutes, then repeat the set. High cadence during the full gas minute. I shift as I accelerate. Do the efforts in the drops. That's how I do them anyway.
__________________
Results matter
Carbonfiberboy is online now  
Old 03-29-19, 01:38 PM
  #3  
redlude97
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Posts: 4,656
Mentioned: 28 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1924 Post(s)
Liked 184 Times in 134 Posts
Have you worked on your position? On flats you are always going to be at a disadvantage because total watts matter more than w/kg but you can do alot to cut through the wind with good positioning.
Try to emulate this position with flat forearms on the hoods
redlude97 is offline  
Old 03-29-19, 01:46 PM
  #4  
caloso
Senior Member
 
caloso's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: Sacramento, California, USA
Posts: 39,872

Bikes: Ridley Excalibur, Gazelle Champion Mondial, On-One Pompino, Specialized Rock Hopper

Mentioned: 64 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2537 Post(s)
Liked 1,783 Times in 881 Posts
To ride fast you must ride fast. (Zen koan or training advice? Both actually)

And there are a lot of ways to skin this cat. I often do the one minute all outs that CFB recommends above.

Another version of this to find a small hill that leads to a long flat section (around here, I use levee roads): let the hill help you to get to your target speed (start with 26 mph) and then hold that speed for a full minute. Pedal easy back to the hill and repeat.

For explosive power, I do "drag race" interval: pick a gear in the middle of your cassette, start from a track stand or as slow as you can possibly balance and then drill it for 15 seconds, try to go as fast as you can by the end of the 15. Do not shift. I do 3 in the big ring (for me 53x16) and 3 in the small ring (38x16). In the big ring, the challenge is to get on top of the gear at the beginning. In the small ring, the challenge is to keep pressure on the pedals all the way through as you spin out the gear. Make sure you are very warmed up before you do these and that your bike is tuned. These can break bikes and riders if you're not.

And the time tested old school way is to ride with riders who are faster than you.
caloso is offline  
Old 03-29-19, 05:02 PM
  #5  
Carbonfiberboy 
just another gosling
 
Carbonfiberboy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Everett, WA
Posts: 17,338

Bikes: CoMo Speedster 2003, Trek 5200, CAAD 9, Fred 2004

Mentioned: 106 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2894 Post(s)
Liked 807 Times in 605 Posts
The post with the photo brings up a good point. You probably have a slammed -17° stem (or you should have). However there are also angled stems which can be flipped. You can't get into the position in the photo because your bars are too high because your headtube can't really get much shorter. So you drop your bars lower with a downward angled stem. You want your drops down somewhere almost even with your front tire. At your height/weight, you should be able to get quite low before your thighs hit your stomach in the drops. You want to be just a hair shy of that feeling.

Although the photo guy is too cramped on that little frame, he probably rides it because it's lighter and stiffer. He pays for it in that position by having his back bent so much his innards are cramped. I breathe a lot easier with a straight back. He's moved forward on the saddle to open his hip angle to help with that. All that said, it's illustrative of the back angle you want to achieve with level forearms.

You could go to a bike shop, have them put your bike on a trainer, and look to see what you could get away with for a down-angled stem.
__________________
Results matter
Carbonfiberboy is online now  
Old 03-29-19, 05:46 PM
  #6  
redlude97
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Posts: 4,656
Mentioned: 28 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1924 Post(s)
Liked 184 Times in 134 Posts
Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy View Post
The post with the photo brings up a good point. You probably have a slammed -17° stem (or you should have). However there are also angled stems which can be flipped. You can't get into the position in the photo because your bars are too high because your headtube can't really get much shorter. So you drop your bars lower with a downward angled stem. You want your drops down somewhere almost even with your front tire. At your height/weight, you should be able to get quite low before your thighs hit your stomach in the drops. You want to be just a hair shy of that feeling.

Although the photo guy is too cramped on that little frame, he probably rides it because it's lighter and stiffer. He pays for it in that position by having his back bent so much his innards are cramped. I breathe a lot easier with a straight back. He's moved forward on the saddle to open his hip angle to help with that. All that said, it's illustrative of the back angle you want to achieve with level forearms.

You could go to a bike shop, have them put your bike on a trainer, and look to see what you could get away with for a down-angled stem.
That "guy" is fabian cancellara
redlude97 is offline  
Old 03-29-19, 06:40 PM
  #7  
rubiksoval
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2015
Location: Music City, USA
Posts: 4,386

Bikes: Felt AR, Longteng LTK 118 with Chinese carbon everything.

Mentioned: 51 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2582 Post(s)
Liked 1,372 Times in 684 Posts
Originally Posted by redlude97 View Post
That "guy" is fabian cancellara
Fabian Cancellara didn't ride for a D3 American team.

That's Andy Jacques-Maynes at Battenkill, I believe. And agreed with carbonboy, he's cramped and needs a longer stem/top tube.
rubiksoval is offline  
Old 03-29-19, 06:44 PM
  #8  
rubiksoval
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2015
Location: Music City, USA
Posts: 4,386

Bikes: Felt AR, Longteng LTK 118 with Chinese carbon everything.

Mentioned: 51 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2582 Post(s)
Liked 1,372 Times in 684 Posts
Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy View Post
The post with the photo brings up a good point. You probably have a slammed -17° stem (or you should have). However there are also angled stems which can be flipped. You can't get into the position in the photo because your bars are too high because your headtube can't really get much shorter. So you drop your bars lower with a downward angled stem. You want your drops down somewhere almost even with your front tire. At your height/weight, you should be able to get quite low before your thighs hit your stomach in the drops..
I don't agree with or even understand these fit suggestions, though. I know no one that rides a -17 stem, and very few have slammed stems. In fact, with the realization that flat forearms are faster, it "seems" more people are raising their bars up a bit to be able to achieve that position. Plus without seeing his current fit, it's not a given what he needs.
rubiksoval is offline  
Old 03-29-19, 06:55 PM
  #9  
Carbonfiberboy 
just another gosling
 
Carbonfiberboy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Everett, WA
Posts: 17,338

Bikes: CoMo Speedster 2003, Trek 5200, CAAD 9, Fred 2004

Mentioned: 106 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2894 Post(s)
Liked 807 Times in 605 Posts
Originally Posted by rubiksoval View Post
I don't agree with or even understand these fit suggestions, though. I know no one that rides a -17 stem, and very few have slammed stems. In fact, with the realization that flat forearms are faster, it "seems" more people are raising their bars up a bit to be able to achieve that position. Plus without seeing his current fit, it's not a given what he needs.
He's 5'3" on a 700c bike. He'll be a long way from flat back with flat forearms. I've always ridden slammed -17° stems. I still don't get my back flat on my carbon race bike and i'm 5'6-1/2". You might remember a guy who used to post here, short and powerful, good sprinter, used to post crit videos. I've forgotten his screen name, too bad. He used dropped stems like I describe. I've been tempted to do the same, but I do OK the way I am and don't ride a lot of flats.

OTOH, if my BMI were 20 like the OP instead of 24, maybe I would make that change.
__________________
Results matter
Carbonfiberboy is online now  
Old 03-29-19, 07:01 PM
  #10  
rubiksoval
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2015
Location: Music City, USA
Posts: 4,386

Bikes: Felt AR, Longteng LTK 118 with Chinese carbon everything.

Mentioned: 51 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2582 Post(s)
Liked 1,372 Times in 684 Posts
Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy View Post
He's 5'3" on a 700c bike. He'll be a long way from flat back with flat forearms. I've always ridden slammed -17° stems. I still don't get my back flat on my carbon race bike and i'm 5'6-1/2". You might remember a guy who used to post here, short and powerful, good sprinter, used to post crit videos. I've forgotten his screen name, too bad. He used dropped stems like I describe. I've been tempted to do the same, but I do OK the way I am and don't ride a lot of flats.

OTOH, if my BMI were 20 like the OP instead of 24, maybe I would make that change.
Yeah, carpediemracing I think. Flat backs are more typical of taller people with long torsos. At 5'11 with longer legs and a shorter torso I don't get even remotely flat. Even with 165 cranks, a forward saddle, and a significant amount of drop, I can't do it because of body type. It's even rarer to see shorter riders with flatter backs, and even more so to see shorter riders with big drops. I've ridden with a number of smaller cat 1s and pro/expros (and fast women) who didn't have much drop.
rubiksoval is offline  
Old 03-29-19, 07:07 PM
  #11  
rubiksoval
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2015
Location: Music City, USA
Posts: 4,386

Bikes: Felt AR, Longteng LTK 118 with Chinese carbon everything.

Mentioned: 51 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2582 Post(s)
Liked 1,372 Times in 684 Posts
None of these guys have a negative stem or much drop:

Caleb Ewan's XXS Foil
Caleb Ewan's Scott Foil RC ? Gallery | Cyclingnews.com

Nairo Quintana
https://www.cyclingnews.com/features/...f-slx-gallery/

Mark Cavendish
https://road.cc/content/tech-news/22...ted-cervelo-s5
rubiksoval is offline  
Old 03-29-19, 07:23 PM
  #12  
Shimagnolo
Senior Member
 
Shimagnolo's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Zang's Spur, CO
Posts: 8,933
Mentioned: 11 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2402 Post(s)
Liked 2,044 Times in 1,051 Posts
Try sprint training with Eddie:
Shimagnolo is online now  
Old 03-29-19, 08:45 PM
  #13  
redlude97
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Posts: 4,656
Mentioned: 28 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1924 Post(s)
Liked 184 Times in 134 Posts
Originally Posted by rubiksoval View Post
Fabian Cancellara didn't ride for a D3 American team.

That's Andy Jacques-Maynes at Battenkill, I believe. And agreed with carbonboy, he's cramped and needs a longer stem/top tube.
Damn you're right, they look so alike i misremembered the picture i was looking for
redlude97 is offline  
Old 03-29-19, 11:19 PM
  #14  
Carbonfiberboy 
just another gosling
 
Carbonfiberboy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Everett, WA
Posts: 17,338

Bikes: CoMo Speedster 2003, Trek 5200, CAAD 9, Fred 2004

Mentioned: 106 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2894 Post(s)
Liked 807 Times in 605 Posts
Originally Posted by rubiksoval View Post
Yeah, carpediemracing I think. Flat backs are more typical of taller people with long torsos. At 5'11 with longer legs and a shorter torso I don't get even remotely flat. Even with 165 cranks, a forward saddle, and a significant amount of drop, I can't do it because of body type. It's even rarer to see shorter riders with flatter backs, and even more so to see shorter riders with big drops. I've ridden with a number of smaller cat 1s and pro/expros (and fast women) who didn't have much drop.
Yeah, good memory! This is the photo I was remembering, from race rig porn - show me your bike!



This is the race rig our OP should have. Yeah, I know, timtak and all that, but this rig worked for its rider. Many successful racers are taller folk, 5'9" and up, though that isn't tall by modern American standards. They don't understand how short folks' bike fit is compromised by the one-size-fits-all industry. Our OP should be on 600 wheels, not 700, but not going to happen. The bike shop has 700c bikes and that's that.

This is one of carpediem's videos:
__________________
Results matter
Carbonfiberboy is online now  
Old 03-30-19, 04:57 AM
  #15  
srode1
Gravel Rocks
 
Join Date: Dec 2018
Location: Ohio
Posts: 298

Bikes: Trek Domane and Crockett, BH G7, Niner RLT9, RLT9 RDO

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 124 Post(s)
Liked 38 Times in 29 Posts
Getting more aero will help for sure at 20mph, but so will raising your FTP. Your size helps on climbs where power to weight ratio is king, but on the flats its really mostly raw power. You could be more specific on how long you want to be able to go fast on the flats - 2 minutes, 5, an hour? Steady state intervals would be the place to start from a training standpoint if you have adequate base miles under your belt and are talking about holding higher speeds on flats for extended periods. Do those 3x / week and a long ride one day / week would be my suggestion (long being 3-4 hours endurance pace).
srode1 is offline  
Old 03-30-19, 05:10 AM
  #16  
rubiksoval
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2015
Location: Music City, USA
Posts: 4,386

Bikes: Felt AR, Longteng LTK 118 with Chinese carbon everything.

Mentioned: 51 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2582 Post(s)
Liked 1,372 Times in 684 Posts
Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy View Post
Yeah, good memory! This is the photo I was remembering, from race rig porn - show me your bike!



This is the race rig our OP should have. Yeah, I know, timtak and all that, but this rig worked for its rider.
Yes. It worked for one person. It won't work for everyone, or even most of anyone.

I've never seen a bike like this in real life. It won't work for the vast majority of people out there. I'd bet that bike that the OP couldn't ride it. It's a massive outlier.
rubiksoval is offline  
Old 03-30-19, 05:17 AM
  #17  
rubiksoval
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2015
Location: Music City, USA
Posts: 4,386

Bikes: Felt AR, Longteng LTK 118 with Chinese carbon everything.

Mentioned: 51 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2582 Post(s)
Liked 1,372 Times in 684 Posts
Originally Posted by srode1 View Post
Getting more aero will help for sure at 20mph, but so will raising your FTP. .
This!

And patience. At 17, 18, 19 I couldn't average 20 mph for very long, even at 150 lbs. I think even with clip on aero bars my fastest 6 mile TT was only about 22ish.

Just no power.

It took a few years for my body to develop to the point of getting the strength and aerobic ability necessary. At 115 lbs you're simply not going to go fast on the flats at the moment. Keep getting in consistent mileage, though, and over the next few years your body will continue to grow and adapt. Learn pack skills, learn how to corner, work on the aero bits, and the picture will come together eventually.

Or you'll always be super light and have to pick your events accordingly. Certainly no problem with that, either.
rubiksoval is offline  
Old 03-30-19, 05:18 AM
  #18  
rubiksoval
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2015
Location: Music City, USA
Posts: 4,386

Bikes: Felt AR, Longteng LTK 118 with Chinese carbon everything.

Mentioned: 51 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2582 Post(s)
Liked 1,372 Times in 684 Posts
Originally Posted by redlude97 View Post
Damn you're right, they look so alike i misremembered the picture i was looking for
That is a really similar photo!
rubiksoval is offline  
Old 03-30-19, 05:51 AM
  #19  
Lemond1985
Sophomore Member
 
Lemond1985's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2019
Posts: 2,690
Mentioned: 12 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1623 Post(s)
Liked 1,045 Times in 626 Posts

What workouts should I do to increase my speed on flats?

Stop training in heels immediately. Seriously though, I think it comes down to intervals, unfortunately, wish there was a more enjoyable answer.
Lemond1985 is offline  
Old 03-30-19, 11:31 AM
  #20  
Carbonfiberboy 
just another gosling
 
Carbonfiberboy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Everett, WA
Posts: 17,338

Bikes: CoMo Speedster 2003, Trek 5200, CAAD 9, Fred 2004

Mentioned: 106 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2894 Post(s)
Liked 807 Times in 605 Posts
Originally Posted by rubiksoval View Post
Yes. It worked for one person. It won't work for everyone, or even most of anyone.

I've never seen a bike like this in real life. It won't work for the vast majority of people out there. I'd bet that bike that the OP couldn't ride it. It's a massive outlier.
Oh, I see. Moving the riders hands down closer to the level of the tire makes a bike dangerous!



__________________
Results matter
Carbonfiberboy is online now  
Old 03-30-19, 11:39 AM
  #21  
fietsbob
Banned
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: NW,Oregon Coast
Posts: 43,599

Bikes: 8

Mentioned: 197 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 7607 Post(s)
Liked 1,308 Times in 821 Posts
Motor Pacing..
fietsbob is offline  
Old 03-30-19, 11:59 AM
  #22  
rubiksoval
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2015
Location: Music City, USA
Posts: 4,386

Bikes: Felt AR, Longteng LTK 118 with Chinese carbon everything.

Mentioned: 51 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2582 Post(s)
Liked 1,372 Times in 684 Posts
Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy View Post
Oh, I see. Moving the riders hands down closer to the level of the tire makes a bike dangerous!
More like you just can't pedal.
rubiksoval is offline  
Old 03-30-19, 01:19 PM
  #23  
Carbonfiberboy 
just another gosling
 
Carbonfiberboy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Everett, WA
Posts: 17,338

Bikes: CoMo Speedster 2003, Trek 5200, CAAD 9, Fred 2004

Mentioned: 106 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2894 Post(s)
Liked 807 Times in 605 Posts
Originally Posted by rubiksoval View Post
More like you just can't pedal.
Since power is going to be an issue, one has to look for gains in other places. Drag is the obvious place, so getting low and tight clothing are the simplest, cheapest, and will produce the most gains, like tomorrow. Nothing simpler than putting on an adjustable stem upside down and seeing how far one could go with that. About $30 plus shopping for clothing. maybe child's sizes. I have a friend who buys child's bike jerseys.

Now you got me thinking about it - I run a 110 stem on my single and those are readily available as adjustable. I've always felt too high up, even with the slammed -17° stem.
__________________
Results matter
Carbonfiberboy is online now  
Old 03-30-19, 07:01 PM
  #24  
rubiksoval
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2015
Location: Music City, USA
Posts: 4,386

Bikes: Felt AR, Longteng LTK 118 with Chinese carbon everything.

Mentioned: 51 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2582 Post(s)
Liked 1,372 Times in 684 Posts
I have no idea why you think just slapping a -17 degree stem on a bike and slamming the bars down of a completely unknown and unseen person is going to help. It's a really odd position to take.

Just getting lower does not automatically equate to being faster. That's not how fitting works.

Again, see the bikes of two of the fastest sprinters in the world further up thread. Completely opposite of your "recommendations". And it's kind of a big deal for them.

Last edited by rubiksoval; 03-30-19 at 07:04 PM.
rubiksoval is offline  
Old 03-31-19, 09:40 PM
  #25  
Carbonfiberboy 
just another gosling
 
Carbonfiberboy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Everett, WA
Posts: 17,338

Bikes: CoMo Speedster 2003, Trek 5200, CAAD 9, Fred 2004

Mentioned: 106 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2894 Post(s)
Liked 807 Times in 605 Posts
Originally Posted by rubiksoval View Post
I have no idea why you think just slapping a -17 degree stem on a bike and slamming the bars down of a completely unknown and unseen person is going to help. It's a really odd position to take.

Just getting lower does not automatically equate to being faster. That's not how fitting works.

Again, see the bikes of two of the fastest sprinters in the world further up thread. Completely opposite of your "recommendations". And it's kind of a big deal for them.
Yeah, maybe personal experience. I never was a powerful rider but I'm somewhat famous locally as a fast descender at only 145 lbs. As you say, everyone's different. But then there are all those fast folks with rather flat backs so I think I'm not an outlier. I think you don't get the issue with being short in a tall person's world. Personally, I've had great success experimenting on many different things, and encourage others to do likewise rather than simply follow some dogma. AFAIK, it's impossible to develop a fast fit anywhere but on the road, so I don't see why you should be so against experimenting with fit.

As far as that sprinter-fit claim goes. you must see the difference between their drop and the drop on the Domane alr4 I posted. Why should the OP ignore elite fit practice?
__________________
Results matter
Carbonfiberboy is online now  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information -

Copyright © 2021 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.