tips and hints
There's more in common than it may seem at first
http://maaml.blogspot.com.au/2012/12/ideas-for-visualisations.html - have a read. For us, as sprinters, we're not THAT dissimilar to martial artists. We have skills that we need to master, moves and countermoves that use those skills, and then "tactics" which is essentially the application of the right moves at the right times. Very similar to martial arts. I think we can learn a lot from them.
How Anna won in London .... Vicky's the best chaser in the world. Anna didn't want to lead her out. Watch ... I can't embed it here, but you can go to youtube and see exactly what happens
Ranting on food, again
No significant differences were detected between VLCKD and WD in all strength tests. Significant differences were found in body weight and body composition: after VLCKD there was a decrease in body weight (from 69.6 ± 7.3 Kg to 68.0 ± 7.5 Kg) and fat mass (from 5.3 ± 1.3 Kg to 3.4 ± 0.8 Kg p < 0.001) with a non-significant increase in muscle mass.
Despite concerns of coaches and doctors about the possible detrimental effects of low carbohydrate diets on athletic performance and the well known importance of carbohydrates there are no data about VLCKD and strength performance. The undeniable and sudden effect of VLCKD on fat loss may be useful for those athletes who compete in sports based on weight class. We have demonstrated that using VLCKD for a relatively short time period (i.e. 30 days) can decrease body weight and body fat without negative effects on strength performance in high level athletes.
Check this out, it's good.
Relaxed on the start line is good
See how relaxed Michelle is on the start line? Stay loose and have fun!
Or, THROW THE BIKE!
I'm going to show you two photos :
Jae Castles and John Cochrane at the Junior Vics in 2011-2012.
Now look at this one :
Sagen and Greipel at the Tour de France, 2012.
Could Sagan have won? If his throw was an instinct, if he practiced it every time he crossed a finish line ...
A long doco from the BBC on obesity and sugar
Well worth the 60 minutes it will take to watch all of it, or, just don't eat sugary stuff!
Do it properly
You want to ride the best flying 200 you can?
Cut the corners!
A new peak power PB!
Last night at Spin, I set a new power PB of 1,597 watts. I had a goal of 1,600, how close is that? Given that it's a Powertap and not 100% accurate, I could stretch the truth and say I got it, but that's bollocks! Anyway, power is going up reasonably consistently, it's amazing what a bit of unbroken training can do. There's a hint - consistent training ... Keep working ...
Or putting the shoe on the other foot.
I was going to write about SSS round 2, which went pretty well (ok, it was great!) but that can wait a bit. You can see all the videos and results over at the SSS website if you want.
I want to write briefly about learning, learning new, alien skills and the art of excellent teaching.
I'm lucky enough (wellll ... pretty lucky, wellll ... extrordinarily lucky ...) to be being exposed to a new skillset by a teacher/coach with some of the best teaching skills I've ever experienced. Learning new skills is hard, especially in an environment where you're way outside your comfort zone.
In a really fortuitous twist to this tale, at the same time as I am being taught new skills, I am in parallel, teaching new skills to the teacher who's teaching me (a swapsie, you might say). I am teaching whitewater kayaking and basic track cycling, I am being taught .. wait for it ... Ceroc modern jive (I think that's what it is anyway? All I know is I keep tripping over!). Yes, dancing. Me .. Dancing .. You want to push my comfort zone, that is IT! I can fly a plane, SCUBA dive to 55m on mixed gasses, play violent contact sports, climb rocks and ice, race sprints, paddle down rapids, kill spiders and ward off snakes .. you name it, no worries, but dance? Ohhh ... I'm game enough to admit to being petrified of dancing.
This is a very interesting position to be in, when teaching skills a teacher needs to know when to back off, say nothing, let the student experiment and make (harmless) mistakes, and when to intercept and cut off any frustration or danger with the right cues. Timing of this is critical or the student either doesn't get the chance to learn (over teaching is waayyyyy too common, just SHUT UP, STEP BACK AND LET ME WORK THIS OUT FOR MYSELF!) or gets hurt and/or frustrated to the point that they can't learn (spit the dummy time or get injured!).
The teacher must have the absolute trust of their student that they are looking after them. I'm putting my student into dangerous situations in whitewater rapids and on steep banked velodromes. I'm being put into a social context that I am deeply unfamiliar with as well (who wants to look like a dickhead in front of your partner's peers?). Trust is vital. Having a teacher or coach that you trust gives you the backing to be able to push you limits.
I also think it's important that the teacher not pretend that a new skill is easy - track stands are not easy, eskimo rolls are not easy, swan drops are not easy (really! I threw that in because I tried to learn that last night and last week and it's tricky!), power cleans and proper squats are not easy. None of these things are natural, they need to be learned and pretending that they're easy harms the trust relationship between a teacher/coach and their students. They're worthwhile to learn and will take time and effort and will be rewarding when learned. They are not easy to learn.
To cut a long story short, I think it's a great experience to be taught something new and totally alien and I'm not just (slowly!) learning how not to bowl over dance partners, but more importantly, I'm learning a lot more about how to teach and coach, by being a total novice student all over again in the hands of a brilliant teacher.
Oh, I won B grade on Sunday at round 2, undefeated (although Ian McGinley and I were very very close) and rode a PB flying 200, I'm only a 10th off breaking into 12 seconds at Blackburn. I think it was world Vegan day on Sunday, I had a couple of steaks to celebrate.
Well worth a watch
Is it possible to be too strong?
Is it possible to spend so much time training for strength that it impedes your ability to train on the bike? Ie: can you over-do strength to the detriment of your sprint cycling?
Is the balance a tricky thing to find?
Not 60's psychadelia ...
Pictures vs words again ...
LSD is "Long, Slow Distance", or long rides at moderate to high (aerobic, E3) intensity, not high intensity short intervals (like Tabatas).
As sprinters, we need strength (and power) in spades, and some high intensity endurance, but not much (arguably not any) LSD work. Hopefully that chart (borrowed from FIT, by Dr Lon Kilgore et al) helps explain that a little.
Is not what you think
When we think of endurance, we usually think of long things, long rides, long efforts on the track, long runs (urgh!) etc. That's part of it, sure. In the context of sprint training, endurance is two things - the ability to produce power over the duration of our races (short times, not a lot of endurance required and it's very specific) AND, importantly, repeatability.
It's not enough to be able to ride a flying 200, you have to be able to repeat the effort, over and over.
So how do we train for that? In the gym? Yes, you can, we do multiple sets, anyone who'se trained with me in the 'Haus, knows we do 3x3 and 5x5 etc rep ranges, why? The intensity comes from the first couple of sets, the last set is strength endurance, in a useful context.
On the track? Repeating efforts, not making them longer.
Rant ends here!
Less pedal strokes = faster races
Back in the old days of sprinting, everyone rode tiny gears and span like the clappers. It's reported that Gary Neiwand rode 92" at the Sydney Olympics (old days? That's only 11 years ago!). Rev rev rev, that's what the coaches of the time drummed into everyone who was sprinting. But now, everyone's (the ones who are winning, anyway) pushing bigger gears. MUCH bigger gears. I've personally seen 10.1 flying 200's ridden on gears in excess of 106" by riders far from peaking for their best performances. I've seen the 50 metre splits for their efforts. The guys recording the fastest times are not necessarly the ones with the quickest individual splits (although they can be!) - but their drop off in the last 50 metres is less. This is partially a pacing strategy - watch a modern flying 200 and you'll see the jump happening later than you'd expect, and partially a result of using bigger gears.
Big gears mean more strength is required to get going in the first place, but also, less fatigue per meter ridden. The flying 200, for example, is a speed-endurance event that has a maximal exertion time of around 14-16 seconds from the kick to the finish line. According to a recent study fatigue is brought about by the number of maximal contractions, not so much the speed of them. If you can use less pedal strokes to cover a set distance by making the gear bigger, you will fatigue less PER METER and thus, probably have a greater average speed over the distance. You need the torque to accelerate that big gear though, which is why riders like Shane Perkins, Chris Hoy and Anna Meares have huge legs and backsides and like to lift heavy things in the gym. This applies to sprinters, not enduros. Lance was superb at 120rpm spinning away up hills winning the Tour, but we're talking about short term sprint efforts where, literraly, every fraction of a second counts and we're not running aerobically. Different animals ...
So, mash big gears with pride, but make sure you're strong enough to get them going in the first place!
I wrote more on this in the book :
 Fatigue during Maximal Sprint Cycling: Unique Role of Cumulative Contraction Cycles, ALEKSANDAR TOMAS, EMMA Z. ROSS, and JAMES C. MARTIN, MEDICINE & SCIENCE IN SPORTS & EXERCISE 2009
We default to 5's when we start
High bar, but no-one's perfect!
Here's Sir Chris Hoy, talking about his favorite gym lift, the squat. He's doing high bar, where we do low-bar in the 'Haus, but we'll let him get away with it this time .. If youtube is being consistent, the girl he's talking to is picking her nose in the sample shot below, heh!
Here's a diagram showing the different squat variants, stolen from Starting Strength, Basic Barbell Training, 2nd Ed.
Fat doesn't make you fat
From this article :
Says Dr. Walter Willett, chairman of the department of nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health: "If Americans could eliminate sugary beverages, potatoes, white bread, pasta, white rice and sugary snacks, we would wipe out almost all the problems we have with weight and diabetes and other metabolic diseases."
Works for me!
I have a few riders now who specialise in the 500m ITT, some info on how we train for it (33.295)
The 500m ITT is a classic sprinter's time trial. It's a shame it's no longer an Olympic event, but it is a world championship event and is very important. A few members of my squad love this event and it's their pet.
So, what does it take to be good at it? Let's look at some not too far out of date data from one of the very best at the 500.
When Anna Meares set a world record (33.944) in it back in 2006, she went from 0 to ~145rpm in about 15 seconds, her peak power output was ~1400 watts at about 120 rpm and 8 seconds into the event. She got to about 63km/h 15 seconds into the ride and held around 145rpm/62-63km/h for a further 19 seconds. By the time she crossed the finish her power had dropped to about 500 watts. An important part of this is the second 8 seconds, Anna went from 80rpm to 145rpm in 8 seconds.
So, how can we train for this?
We need to accelerate from 0 to ~145 rpm in around 15 seconds.
We need to have a solid peak power output of somewhere around 1400 or so watts
We need to hang on to the effort for 34 seconds.
With riders preparing for this race, one of my favorite drills is on an ergo. We use Kurt Kinetic Road Machines at aboc, Hilton prefers the BT ergo, but they both do the same thing. Hilts uses the ergos as a fitness tool doing short high intensity intervals, I like to use them also as a specific, targeted training tool for specific events.
We want to come at the 500 from both ends - the power at speed is important, but so to is being able to work up to that speed with acceleration.
So, we do acceleration efforts on the KKRM, scaled to the rider's current strength. How?
One tool is my RGRS(80:8) effort. What's that? RG is "race gear", RS is rolling start, 80:8 is the starting cadence and the duration of the effort. How do you know what RG is? On the KKRM we do a race gear calibration drill where we start in a small gear (60" or so), from a rolling start (~80rpm), and go all out for 8 seconds. If we get up to 160rpm, we rest for a few minutes, increase the gear by a couple of inches and go again, until we can't get to 160rpm anymore. That gear, where the rider can't quite get to 160rpm, is their RG for this drill. Then we use that gear to work on ergo standing starts, ergo efforts etc when we start getting specific about the 500.
Every few weeks we repeat the calibration drill, the gear should be getting bigger, or something's going wrong.