Don't have it in the sprint

Need some advice in my training. I’ve been using mainly the 6 week sweet spot plans with a couple crit interval plans over the past 6 months. During last winter I did the 16 week off season strength and sweet spot plan. My focus is crit racing, and though I’ve seen great gains in my FTP and overall fitness, when I get in an actual race I can hang and feel strong till the end but don’t have the top end power needed for the last few hundred meters. What do I need to do to improve this? Thanks!

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@michaellink

A few things I would look into to help decide how to move forward.
First, double check your power files to see how much energy you are using throughout the race. It might actually be that this is when race craft comes into play. The more you are able to conserve throughout the crit, the more pop you will have at the end.
Second. When looking through that race file take a look at what sort of effort you are having to make in the final lap. This changes the sort of Vo2 you then need to hone in on. For example : the difference between a tabata style focus and or actually needing a two minute vo2 power with a hard jump at the end. (you can probably tell I love geeking out over this stuff)
For training plans I would check out our new sweet spot 4 : polarized plan which does a Vo2 Progression.


I know you mentioned you have done some crit plans in the past, but ours does serve well to work on the specific efforts needed in a crit.

Here are also a few training tips we have done on strategy for Crit racing over the years that I think you might find interesting.


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In addition to ALL the great content Coach @Isaiah shared your power output in the final 200meters all comes down to this graphic (how little your power output was up until that point)

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Agree with Frank and Isaiah.

Also just wanted to add that the true power demands of a sprint are much more drawn out than we often think. It’s not only a 15-second hammer drop, it’s the ability to throw down big, repeated efforts in the final minutes of the race. Training for those 1-3 minute efforts (~120+% FTP) that will put you in a position to use that final kick, will have huge rewards. Frank does a great job breaking this down it the article he shared.

Also, be mindful of how hard you were going throughout the entirety of the race and look for weaknesses to improve upon. Was this a 45-minute crit that had you on the rivet the whole time? Making sure not to neglect sweet spot training as a sprinter is super important, because it will keep you feeling stronger, more efficient, and better positioned in the bunch. You’ll go into the final moments of the race fresher, when it really matters. You’ll always sprint better if you’re sprinting fresh, and even more importantly, you can’t win a sprint if you’re off the back.

If you couple a strong base with some anaerobic capacity work to give you that bigger power, I think you’ll see your sprints improving a lot. Good luck!

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Thanks for the advice guys! I’m currently finishing up sweet spot 4, and I can tell that my Vo2 power needs improvement. Looking at my most recent race data, where my legs felt great all race and I tried to conserve as much as one can in a hard race, I was only able to produce about 800 watts in the sprint following a Vo2 effort of about 30 seconds or so. The guy who won produced over 1200 watts. This seems to be consistent for me, so I just want to know if I can improve that final anaerobic effort with what I’m doing or if I need to change my focus?

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I think a question no one has really asked yet is…Do you have a “sprint”? As a dramatic example, you see in the Pro ranks, some guys are climbers and some can sprint. While you can definitely improve, the guys that dominate the final 300 meters are a special breed of anaerobic monster. Body type, muscle composition, technique and race craft are major factors. There were some good workout suggestions given already to improve your sprint, so give those a try. Personally, I love Zwift racing. The last 2km of a typical race really mirror IRL crit racing.

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I can hit 1200 watts, but just can’t do it at the end of a race. It would seem that I need to continue to work on aerobic fitness so that I’m fresher at the end of the race

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1200 watts is pretty much my max also. So next will be to focus on your 15- and 30-second power and also your 1-minute averages. I find that being able to hold 600 to 700 watts in the final minute keeps me near the front of most races.

@michaellink sounds like you’ve identified the weakness, so I’d suggest that you work in some explosive neuromuscular power workouts in your training and focus on more than just raw power, but repeatability. Tabatas are great for that and Frank loves to prescribe those :dizzy_face: