WORKOUT PLANNING & PREPARATION
You are a new rider at the track and you’re wondering what to do when you get to the track.
Track Bike (Rentals Available), Helmet, Regular Ride Clothing, Hydration, Nutrition, Glasses and Cycling Gloves.
Various Chainrings and Cogs, Tools, Bike Computer and Sensors, Aerobar (when experienced) and anything else you can think that will help!
When you get to the track, gather your gear from your car and enter the infield through the tunnel. If you cross the track at the gate, please look to the left and make sure there are no riders coming. Find a spot to camp for the session. Do a bike check. Then, sit for just a minute or two and check out what’s happening on the track.
Who is there and what’s going on? Is it early or late in the session? Are riders generally riding fast or slower? Are there riders doing starts and/or flying efforts? Is there a paceline of riders working together? Is there a motorcycle present in the infield? Do riders have aerobars or aero wheels on their bikes? Is there a coach running an organized workout? All these scenarios will give you a feeling of the kind of work that you can do and whether you may be able to benefit from any or all of this.
Measuring Your Level of Effort
If you are familiar with structured training you have likely used metrics to measure effort. For those lucky enough to have a power meter or smart trainer you may be familiar with efforts based on % Functional Threshold Power (FTP). However, you don't need one to train effectively and can use Relative Perceived Exertion (RPE) to measure your effort. The sessions below use RPE however I have included a conversion for those wishing to use power.
<2 RPE = <55% FTP
2-3 RPE = 56-75% FTP
3-4 RPE = 76-90% FTP
4-5 RPE = 91-105% FTP
6-7 RPE = 106-120% FTP
7-9 RPE = >121% FTP
10 RPE = Max Available Power
You’ll know how fast you are going by noting your time, speed, power, or cadence (if you have a computer and those sensors on your bike). Be careful to limit looking at your computer while riding the track. You may not use a computer that is visible while racing at the Alkek Velodrome, but you may have one visible during training. Please use extreme caution when taking your eyes off the track.
Please make sure you are familiar with riding etiquette before you start.
Longer intervals will focus on cardiovascular fitness and are suited to track and road endurance events. Short intervals focus on peak power and speed. Generally it is more productive to focus on either power or speed. The way track riders do this is by training under or over geared.
Power and Strength work is best done in your Race Gear or up to 4” over race gear. Seated efforts recruit more muscle fibers being used. Seated efforts are great for building strength
Leg Speed and Speed Acquisition is done when under race gear when solo riding to achieve high cadences. It can also be done in Race Gear or Over-Geared while being paced by a partner or being motor paced.
Many of the workouts above can be done behind a motor. Motor pacing is a very specialized activity for building speed, and we do offer it at the Alkek Velodrome. Motor pacing is not for the casual or new rider. After you get a little experience on the track solo and group training, you will have the opportunity to certify to ride behind a motor at our track. We will offer a few Motorpace clinics during the year to give you the chance to certify.
All in all, please allow for 20-30 minutes during the beginning of your session or before race for a good warm up. A good warm up will prepare all the energy systems and muscle fiber you will need for your workout.
Steady to increasing tempo riding: to increase heart rate, breathing rate, and muscle temperature.
Solo Rider: 15 lap warm up – 5 laps easy tempo on the rail, 5 laps medium tempo on the blue line, 5 laps increasing to hard tempo in the sprinter’s lane. The last lap should be all out.
Group: 20-25 laps starting at easy tempo while exchanging the lead going into turn 1 every lap. The speed of the paceline increases for the duration of the warm-up ending up a sprint for all riders left in the paceline on the last lap if the track is clear. For safety: no exchange of the lead on the last lap
Rollers or Trainer Option: usually for championships and race nights, and when you arrive late and the track is closed. I absolutely love and use the British Cycling 20 minute warm up. We’ve used this warm up to great success at state and national championships.
Jumps are short sprints to get your ready for sprinting during races. Jumps are done after the steady state warm-up that you did above. These are usually done with the wind to your back so that you can get up to speed during the effort.
Jumps will usually be 2-3 efforts diving downhill from the ‘rail’ to the sprinter’s lane out of turn 2 or 4. These efforts usually started from a slow speed. Get out of the saddle and ‘punch it’. Sit smoothly when you hit high cadence and finish the effort between the 1st and the 2nd turn that you come to, or even as late as a half lap. Ride the apron or above the blue line to recover for a few laps before the next effort. Look back during and after the effort before making a move on the track.
Always go back to your warm-up gear on your track bike and get a good 8-12 lap warm down after a hard session. Alternatively rollers can be used for this along with flushing lactic acid between efforts.
Disciplines will be color coded and the value of relevance of the workout to a particular discipline will be shown by the number of stars.
Track Endurance Mass Start
Track Endurance Time Trials
These workouts will train fringe elements of a discipline, they will help and are good to use to mix up workouts.
Highly Beneficial: ⁑
These can form part of your core workout schedule. They will train key elements to success in your chosen area.
The sessions typically focus on specific event types and will help you hone the skills and fitness you need for success.
Variance in workouts is important over longer periods as it stops a rider from stagnating and maintains interest. Typically the further from an event you are the more you should use ⁎ workouts and the closer to an event you get the more ⁂ workouts you should use.
Endurance Riding (⁂ ⁑ ⁑)
20-30 laps RPE 3-4 on blue line
Short recovery break
Repeat 2-3 times a session.
If you are not a racer, or you are not training for anything in particular, but just need to get a ride the track can be used for this, focus on riding steady for the whole workout on the blue line with focus on steady controlled breathing and holding a consistent speed/cadence. Since track bikes don’t have water bottles, you will have to break your workout into sections to drink water and take on nutrition. Once you are in shape from fitness riding, start doing the more intense workouts below can really improve speed when riding.
5x5s (⁂ ⁑ ⁑)
5 mins RPE 5
5 mins RPE 3
Repeat 5 times before stopping (Complete 1-2 sets during a workout)
The harder intervals can be conducted either in the sprinters lane if the track is quiet or on the blue line. The easier intervals should be conducted on the blue line. This workout focuses on cardiovascular endurance and getting comfortable riding the track. Focus on holding your line and maintaining the effort intensity. If you don't have a timer you can count laps, each interval will probably last 7-10 laps depending on speed. This workout can be done in either aerobars or drop bars.
Flying TT - Options: 2k (6 laps), 3k (9 Laps) (⁑ ⁂ ⁂)
2 lap wind up to rail
6 or 9 laps at RPE 6-7
Repeat 2-4 times depending on fitness.
Dive from the rail to the sprinters lane and use the banking to help get up to your TT speed. Be careful not to go too hard at the beginning. Hold the speed for the effort until the last lap then push hard. Full rest in the infield between efforts. You can have a friend calling lap times from a stopwatch for these. Focus on keeping speed constant and holding the black line. You can use aerobars or dropbars. These are great for pursuit training or simulating solo attacks in mass start races.
1k Pursuit Standing Starts (⁂ ⁑ ⁎)
Slow Roll or Held Start
1km (3 laps) at RPE 6-7
3 laps RPE 2 on apron
Repeat 3 times before full recovery
Complete 2-4 sets during the session.
This will help refine your start. Concentrate on technique while getting up to speed and during transition to the seated position. If you have aerobars work on when get used to get into you aero tuck and doing so smoothly and confidently. Energy and time saved at the start of a pursuit is extremely valuable.
3-2-1 Efforts (⁑ ⁂)
2 Lap windup to rail
3 Laps at RPE 6-7 in sprinters lane
2 Laps at RPE 3 at rail
2 Laps at RPE 6-7 in sprinters lane
1 Laps at RPE 3 at rail
1 Lap at RPE 10 in sprinters lane
Repeat 3-4 times during a session
For each interval look back and dive to the sprinter’s lane from the rail (aerobars optional) and ride TT speed on the black line. Head back to the rail for easy rolling. The final 1 lap effort is a maximum sprint effort. Always look back before making a move, take an extra lap of half lap at the rail if it would be dangerous to dive. Repeat 3-4 times. Full rest in the infield be. Optional (4-3-2-1 laps for the hard core).
1-2-3-2-1 Pyramids (⁎ ⁂)
2 lap windup to rail
1 lap at RPE 5 in sprinters lane
1 lap at RPE 3 at rail
2 laps at RPE 5 in sprinters lane
2 laps at RPE 3 at rail
3 laps at RPE 5 in sprinters lane
2 laps at RPE 3 at rail
2 laps at RPE 5 in sprinters lane
2 laps at RPE 3 at rail
1 lap at RPE 10 in sprinters lane
Repeat 3-5 sets per session
Dive from the rail for 1 hard tempo lap. Steady rolling the gear at the rail for 1 lap. Dive for 2 laps at a steady tempo. Go back to the rail for 2 laps. Dive for 3 laps at tempo. You only get 2 laps rest here. Dive for 2 and rest for 1. Dive for an all-out 1 lap to finish.
Points Race Intervals (⁎ ⁂ ⁎)
3-5 laps on blue line at RPE 4
1 lap in sprinters lane at RPE 9
Repeat 2-4 times
Complete 3-4 sets per session
Steady tempo riding on the blue line for 3, 4, or 5 laps. Dive to sprinters for 1 lap all out. Back to the blue line for the same number of laps at tempo. 2 – 4 hard sprints for an effort. Full rest or roll on the apron between efforts.
Rail Rider Efforts (⁎ ⁂ ⁑)
3 laps at RPE 2-3 at rail
1 lap at RPE 9-10 in sprinters lane.
Repeat 3 times
Repeat 3-4 sets per session
3 laps rolling on the rail. Dive for a 1-lap sprint. Go back to the rail to recover, after the 3rd sprint recover in the infield before moving onto the next set.
Standing Starts (⁂ ⁎ ⁂)
Either slow roll to or have someone hold you at the pursuit line (Check the sprinters lane is free). Perform a standing start and replicate you event intensity until you reach the desired distance. Shorter distances allow more focus on the early phase of the start while longer efforts allow you to transition into your event pace.
Length Options: To 1st or 2nd turn, ½ lap, 1 lap, 500 meters.
Technique: Concentrate on driving the bike in a straight line, smoothly apply power to the pedals to get up to speed quickly. and BREATHE! Ask a rider to video you and/or give feedback The focus is on quality rather than quantity, 3-6 efforts with analysis time per session is recommended or these can be done in 3-4 blocks of 3 with recovery on the apron between starts.
Seated Starts (⁑ ⁑ ⁂)
Slow roll to the pursuit line (Check the sprinters lane is free). Perform a hard seated acceleration (Level 7) until you reach the desired distance. Shorter distances allow for more efforts and increased strength focus while longer efforts provide strength endurance.
Length Options: To 1st or 2nd turn, ½ lap, 1 lap, 500 meters. These can be done in 3-6 sets of either single efforts or blocks of 3 per session.
Seated or Standing Flying Start Efforts (⁂ ⁂)
Wind up to the rail and dive down the track sprinting at RPE 10 for a set distance. Options are 100-meter, 200-meter, 1-lap, and 500-meters. These can be done solo, using a rider to leadout or motorpaced (if available). 3-6 100% efforts per session with full recovery between is recommended.
Negative Split 500's (⁑ ⁑ ⁂)
Starting at and moderate speed and increasing speed during the effort to give increasingly faster half lap splits. You can measure these efforts by RPE (start at 6 an build to 10), speed, a coach with a stopwatch, or power. Have a target for the start, middle and end of your effort. These are done as 3-6 sets of 1-3 efforts with recovery on the apron between efforts and full recovery between sets.
Event Replication (⁂ ⁂ ⁂)
Attend the track and go through the exact prep you would do on race day before completing a race effort. Use race day food, kit etc. to make sure you don't get any nasty surprises on race day. This will help reduce psychological stress and provide learnings to optimize performance for when it counts. This can be done as an individual or group.
Power Paceline (⁂ ⁂)
The group is riding at a hard tempo (leader at about RPE 4) in a paceline on the blue line. When the leader gets to turn 2, they drop to the sprinter’s lane and sprint away from the group to turn 3 or 4 (RPE 8-9). After the effort, the rider that sprinted away climbs and does a slow roll at the rail before joining onto the back of the group. The new leader will do the same when they reach turn 2 and so on. The paceline never increases speed. Sprints continue each lap until every rider has completed 4-5 efforts. Repeat after full rest, the number of sets achievable will be dependent on group size.
Paceline 1 Lap Attacks (⁂ ⁑)
Paceline is at a medium steady pace on the blue line (RPE 3). The pace is slow enough for a rider to lap the group and recover when they catch back up. The leader dives and sprints away (RPE 7-8) from the group. Attempting to ‘lap’ the group. When the attacker successfully catches back on, send the next person off. Give the attacker three laps to catch then send the next. The unsuccessful attacker just joins back into the group to try it again. 2-3 efforts per person. Repeat 1 time after full rest.
2 Paceline Attack (⁂ ⁑)
3-5 person pacelines on opposite sides of the track riding the same speed on the blue line (RPE 4). One paceline send an attacker (leader on that lap) to join onto the back other paceline (RPE 8-9). Once there is a catch, the other paceline reciprocates and sends an attacker back. 4-6 efforts for each person before recovery, 3 sets per session.
Coached Whistle Sprints (⁂ ⁑ ⁎)
Riders are on the track riding at recovery speed (RPE 2) on the rail. A coach standing in the infield blows a whistle. The riders look back and dive to the sprinter’s lane for a hard effort (RPE 7-10 depending on duration) till they hear the next whistle. On the next whistle, the riders go back to the rail for recovery (RPE 2). These efforts are at various duration and intensity. The coach will have the plan, or the riders will agree on the workout.
This is in no way a complete listing of workouts that can be done at the track. The whole idea here is to get you started with solid info on getting started. If you ever have questions on training, ask the experienced riders and coaches in the infield. We will be more than happy to give you advice.
As always, Go Fast, Turn Left!
You can also mix up the workouts, e.g. do some seated starts followed by power paceline. It's best to do the short high power efforts first while you are fresh as they are more negatively impacted by fatigue.
The first step in your track cycling journey...