Being powerful and fast are desirable attributes for a cyclist. Possessing the ability to put a big effort in, to get up a steep climb in a sportive, to let your mates know who’s boss on the café ride or even to make an attack in a race, is important.
However, many amateur riders struggle with one thing: time. We are all busy people, and sadly there are only 24 hours in the day. Of these 24 hours, we need around 8 hours sleep, spend around 10 hours working and commuting, some time with friends and family, and some time to eat and do chores. The net result is not a lot of time left.
Rowe & King is the coaching company set up by Olympic track rider and road racer Dani King and Team Sky’s Luke Rowe. They work with athletes of all levels and are used to coaching people who are short on time, so we asked Dani to provide us with a session that can help build power, in an hour.
King told us: “This is a session to help you build your power, whilst not taking too much of your time. Be warned – it may be a ‘short’ session to complete mid-week, but it’s a tough one! Make sure you are really up for it."
The session aims to build your explosive power, but also your speed. The first part of the effort is all about your brute power output, whilst the second part of each effort works on your speed. The session can be completed on the road or an indoor trainer.
The session is called ‘Excalibur* Sprints’ and contains a total of 2 and a half minutes of maximum effort – quality over quantity!
(*Excalibur is the name of the road, where these efforts were first completed)
'Ride Out' - cycle in a light gear and in a relaxed mental state, to warm the body up ahead of the effort to come.
Select your road and gear
Select a stretch of road that you will not be interrupted on (no junctions or traffic lights, and away from traffic as much as possible - or of course use a turbo trainer).
Select a big gear – something like 53 x 15 for your first effort (your starting gear should make the first few pedal revs extremely hard to get going, but by the end of 15 seconds – you should really be on top of the gear). This chosen gear is the only gear you will use for each effort.
From a low speed (roughly 5mph), sprint flat out for 15 seconds. You will be pedalling at a very low cadence to start, but as you pick up speed, your cadence will increase.
After 15 seconds, spend 15 seconds ‘coasting’ – just roll the gear over to maintain some speed, but only put minimal effort through the pedals. Try to recover a little.
After 15 seconds ‘coasting’ – sprint flat out for 10 seconds. Your starting speed will be from your ‘coasting speed’ – should be at least 20mph. This is where the speed element of the training comes in to play. The aim is to hit as high a speed as possible, whilst still in the same gear you started in – cadence will be high.
The above 40-second (15second from standing start, 15 second coasting and 10 second sprint) is one effort.
Complete 6 efforts, giving yourself adequate recovery in-between each effort so that you can give 100% effort to each. If you feel you can complete more than 6 efforts – you’re not doing them hard enough!
Cycle in a light gear and in a relaxed mental state, to help the body transition towards a state of recovery, working the lactic acid out of your muscles.
We hope you enjoy the session. We've got plenty more training sessions for you to incorporate into your week - here are a few we'd suggest...