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should I push more on the bike in my sprint triathlons?
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I usually end up finishing the bike leg on my sprint triathlons at about 90% of my ftp. course mostly flat and multiple sprint races on this course so avg and np are usually pretty close. I try to target 95% of my ftp but always end up settling in at 90%. I'll try to push it up a little during the race but then I will feel like I'm mashing and will settle back down to 90%. Should I just bite the bullet and push to hold 95% of ftp at my next sprint tri and see what happens on the run? I am usually in the top 2-3 on the bike and run in my age group in this local sprint series but I suck on the swim and have to make up a bunch of time on the bike and run.
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Re: should I push more on the bike in my sprint triathlons? [mickison] [ In reply to ]
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No expert here, but I’d say go for it, especially if it isn’t an A race. See what happens. 95 percent seems reasonable.

Aaron Bales
Lansing Triathlon Team
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Re: should I push more on the bike in my sprint triathlons? [mickison] [ In reply to ]
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Is that 90% average from t1 to t2, like does that include the low power turns, mount/dismount and stuff or is that actual time on the pedals? Personally in a sprint I start a new lap once I am mounted and in my shoes ready to do some work, then I try to hold 95%-98% average or NP depending on the course. the better runner you are the more you can go over that 95% number.

and you should feel like you're mashing, its a full power race, its not the most pleasant experience. if at any time in a sprint you feel comfortable, you're going too slow. your training data should tell you where that edge of the cliff is, and you should be just up next to it.
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Re: should I push more on the bike in my sprint triathlons? [mickison] [ In reply to ]
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Go for it, you'll be surprised how hard you can ride a sprint. I've found that especially for a sprint distance I need to focus on really hitting the pedals as early as possible. Otherwise getting up to/ past .95 IF takes more effort. Also don't be tempted to let up during the last mile or two, stay on the power, in such a short race you really have to make every second on the course count.
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Re: should I push more on the bike in my sprint triathlons? [mickison] [ In reply to ]
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It is a one hour race (+/-)

Next race go 100 percent all out and see what happens.
If you blow up, consider it a training day
Next race go 99 percent all out the entire time and see what happens
If you blow up consider it a training day
Next race go 98 percent all out and you might now blow up and dominate.

Trial and error if it isnt for money or qualifying. Get some. Just make sure you do the little wink and pistol shooting gesture with your hand when you are hauling a$$ by a cute spectator haha always a crowd pleaser
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Re: should I push more on the bike in my sprint triathlons? [tfleeger] [ In reply to ]
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tfleeger wrote:
Is that 90% average from t1 to t2, like does that include the low power turns, mount/dismount and stuff or is that actual time on the pedals? Personally in a sprint I start a new lap once I am mounted and in my shoes ready to do some work, then I try to hold 95%-98% average or NP depending on the course. the better runner you are the more you can go over that 95% number.

and you should feel like you're mashing, its a full power race, its not the most pleasant experience. if at any time in a sprint you feel comfortable, you're going too slow. your training data should tell you where that edge of the cliff is, and you should be just up next to it.

I wouldn't say I'm comfortable but I always worry I will kill my run. But it's only a 5k so I should just not worry about it. I'm a decent cyclist and runner in my age group in local triathlons. at HIM/IM I'm okay but not close to FOP. But yeah I should definitely try to bump it up to 95% next race
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Re: should I push more on the bike in my sprint triathlons? [Twinkie] [ In reply to ]
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Twinkie wrote:
It is a one hour race (+/-)

Next race go 100 percent all out and see what happens.
If you blow up, consider it a training day
Next race go 99 percent all out the entire time and see what happens
If you blow up consider it a training day
Next race go 98 percent all out and you might now blow up and dominate.

Trial and error if it isnt for money or qualifying. Get some. Just make sure you do the little wink and pistol shooting gesture with your hand when you are hauling a$$ by a cute spectator haha always a crowd pleaser

Honestly if you notice any spectators are you really hammering as hard as you can?

I think when you realize you have little to no memory of the bike course in a sprint you are at or close to your max.
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Re: should I push more on the bike in my sprint triathlons? [FishOutofWater] [ In reply to ]
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FishOutofWater wrote:
Go for it, you'll be surprised how hard you can ride a sprint. I've found that especially for a sprint distance I need to focus on really hitting the pedals as early as possible. Otherwise getting up to/ past .95 IF takes more effort. Also don't be tempted to let up during the last mile or two, stay on the power, in such a short race you really have to make every second on the course count.

definitely. I need all those seconds. I lose a lot of time on the swim. I need to work on that this off season to make my life a little easier.
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Re: should I push more on the bike in my sprint triathlons? [mickison] [ In reply to ]
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Pretty sure I saw a recommendation of ~110% for sprints in Training and Racing w/ a Power Meter.
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Re: should I push more on the bike in my sprint triathlons? [mickison] [ In reply to ]
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You should be going 105% of your FTP on a sprint race with a 20 min max power in the range of 115% of your FTP. Its a sprint...you should red line the entire time.
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Re: should I push more on the bike in my sprint triathlons? [LifeTri] [ In reply to ]
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LifeTri wrote:
You should be going 105% of your FTP on a sprint race with a 20 min max power in the range of 115% of your FTP. Its a sprint...you should red line the entire time.

I think I've read a range of 90%-105% of ftp for a sprint.
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Re: should I push more on the bike in my sprint triathlons? [mickison] [ In reply to ]
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mickison wrote:
LifeTri wrote:
You should be going 105% of your FTP on a sprint race with a 20 min max power in the range of 115% of your FTP. Its a sprint...you should red line the entire time.


I think I've read a range of 90%-105% of ftp for a sprint.

ya, stick with that. 115% is more like my 10 minute max power, and it hurts and takes recovery time. i could do it for a few minutes up a hill in a race, but not 20 minutes. If you do 115% for 20 minutes training peaks will send you a power threshold increase notice.
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Re: should I push more on the bike in my sprint triathlons? [RBR] [ In reply to ]
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RBR wrote:
Twinkie wrote:
It is a one hour race (+/-)

Next race go 100 percent all out and see what happens.
If you blow up, consider it a training day
Next race go 99 percent all out the entire time and see what happens
If you blow up consider it a training day
Next race go 98 percent all out and you might now blow up and dominate.

Trial and error if it isnt for money or qualifying. Get some. Just make sure you do the little wink and pistol shooting gesture with your hand when you are hauling a$$ by a cute spectator haha always a crowd pleaser


Honestly if you notice any spectators are you really hammering as hard as you can?

I think when you realize you have little to no memory of the bike course in a sprint you are at or close to your max.

I know I am not pushing it hard enough if I am not questioning the following:
1) Am I going to puke before the finish
2) Am I going to puke as I finish
3) Where am I going to puke after the finish
4) I might have to shit and puke at the same time.
5) let this end well
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Re: should I push more on the bike in my sprint triathlons? [mickison] [ In reply to ]
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Similar to you in that I usually am in the top 3 in local sprints. I base my plan on distance. if it's Oly, i will try for a power target or 90-95% depending on how I feel that day. But most sprints being around 25-40 minutes depending on distance, I go balls out with no attention to power. If you want to compete, you just have to go for it and be able to run off of it. I used to have specific sprint bricks where I would bike for 45 minutes with extreme intervals then go for a tempo 5k right after. You just have to get used to it!
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Re: should I push more on the bike in my sprint triathlons? [mickison] [ In reply to ]
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Personally I ride sprints at my FTP. Pushing beyond that has never worked well for me on the run. 95% is very conservative IMO.
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Re: should I push more on the bike in my sprint triathlons? [LifeTri] [ In reply to ]
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LifeTri wrote:
You should be going 105% of your FTP on a sprint race with a 20 min max power in the range of 115% of your FTP. Its a sprint...you should red line the entire time.

Just curious where you found that. I'd like to see the thoughts behind it.
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Re: should I push more on the bike in my sprint triathlons? [jaretj] [ In reply to ]
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It's either in Training and Racing with Power or the Triathletes Training Bible.
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Re: should I push more on the bike in my sprint triathlons? [hadukla] [ In reply to ]
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hadukla wrote:
Similar to you in that I usually am in the top 3 in local sprints. I base my plan on distance. if it's Oly, i will try for a power target or 90-95% depending on how I feel that day. But most sprints being around 25-40 minutes depending on distance, I go balls out with no attention to power. If you want to compete, you just have to go for it and be able to run off of it. I used to have specific sprint bricks where I would bike for 45 minutes with extreme intervals then go for a tempo 5k right after. You just have to get used to it!

Could I ask you for some advice please?

Doing a series of races. Transition closes 1:15 before my wave starts. Not allowed in the water at all before the swim start.

I find after approx 10 min into the bike I am able to go markedly faster. How would you warm up?

Thank you.
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Re: should I push more on the bike in my sprint triathlons? [Twinkie] [ In reply to ]
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Twinkie wrote:
RBR wrote:
Twinkie wrote:
It is a one hour race (+/-)

Next race go 100 percent all out and see what happens.
If you blow up, consider it a training day
Next race go 99 percent all out the entire time and see what happens
If you blow up consider it a training day
Next race go 98 percent all out and you might now blow up and dominate.

Trial and error if it isnt for money or qualifying. Get some. Just make sure you do the little wink and pistol shooting gesture with your hand when you are hauling a$$ by a cute spectator haha always a crowd pleaser


Honestly if you notice any spectators are you really hammering as hard as you can?

I think when you realize you have little to no memory of the bike course in a sprint you are at or close to your max.

I know I am not pushing it hard enough if I am not questioning the following:
1) Am I going to puke before the finish
2) Am I going to puke as I finish
3) Where am I going to puke after the finish
4) I might have to shit and puke at the same time.
5) let this end well

Literally loled

And realize it is ME who is most likely not pushing hard enough.

Thank you, I’ll remember your post at this weekends race. 😀
Last edited by: RBR: Jul 10, 18 9:32
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Re: should I push more on the bike in my sprint triathlons? [LifeTri] [ In reply to ]
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LifeTri wrote:
You should be going 105% of your FTP on a sprint race with a 20 min max power in the range of 115% of your FTP. Its a sprint...you should red line the entire time.

If you do 105% of FTP for 48-50min you shouldn't be able to do much more than jog immediately off the bike. The alternative is that your FTP is set low. I'm assuming we are talking about a 20 mile bike leg. If it's only 12-15 miles then 105% might be realistic but it's always a balance ing act with running well.
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Re: should I push more on the bike in my sprint triathlons? [GreenPlease] [ In reply to ]
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GreenPlease wrote:
Personally I ride sprints at my FTP. Pushing beyond that has never worked well for me on the run. 95% is very conservative IMO.

Isn’t that why it’s usually listed as a target range? I’m going to target at least 95% next race but still want to be able run well. Obviously at sprint distance I’m less worried about killing my run by overbiking
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Re: should I push more on the bike in my sprint triathlons? [Twinkie] [ In reply to ]
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Twinkie wrote:
It is a one hour race (+/-)

Next race go 100 percent all out and see what happens.
If you blow up, consider it a training day
Next race go 99 percent all out the entire time and see what happens
If you blow up consider it a training day
Next race go 98 percent all out and you might now blow up and dominate.

Trial and error if it isnt for money or qualifying. Get some. Just make sure you do the little wink and pistol shooting gesture with your hand when you are hauling a$$ by a cute spectator haha always a crowd pleaser

lol definitely doing the little wink. Wife won’t be too pleased but oh well.
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Re: should I push more on the bike in my sprint triathlons? [mickison] [ In reply to ]
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mickison wrote:
GreenPlease wrote:
Personally I ride sprints at my FTP. Pushing beyond that has never worked well for me on the run. 95% is very conservative IMO.


Isn’t that why it’s usually listed as a target range? I’m going to target at least 95% next race but still want to be able run well. Obviously at sprint distance I’m less worried about killing my run by overbiking

Sure, nobody is perfect. However, if you pace correctly and the course is free of interference you should be able to get your AP within +/-1% of your target (IMO) especially over such a short effort. Pacing is really underrated in sprints IMO.

Anecdotally it seems a lot of people pace the bike poorly in sprints. Going out at 120% for the first few minutes because you have a surge of adrenaline and because you think it's a "short" race will likely result in an NP close to FTP but an AP around 90% and for someone with an FTP of 200w that will cost them ~40 seconds on the bike for a sprint to say nothing of how it might affect their run. 40 seconds is massive if you're chasing the podium in sprints.
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Re: should I push more on the bike in my sprint triathlons? [GreenPlease] [ In reply to ]
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GreenPlease wrote:
mickison wrote:
GreenPlease wrote:
Personally I ride sprints at my FTP. Pushing beyond that has never worked well for me on the run. 95% is very conservative IMO.


Isn’t that why it’s usually listed as a target range? I’m going to target at least 95% next race but still want to be able run well. Obviously at sprint distance I’m less worried about killing my run by overbiking


Sure, nobody is perfect. However, if you pace correctly and the course is free of interference you should be able to get your AP within +/-1% of your target (IMO) especially over such a short effort. Pacing is really underrated in sprints IMO.

Anecdotally it seems a lot of people pace the bike poorly in sprints. Going out at 120% for the first few minutes because you have a surge of adrenaline and because you think it's a "short" race will likely result in an NP close to FTP but an AP around 90% and for someone with an FTP of 200w that will cost them ~40 seconds on the bike for a sprint to say nothing of how it might affect their run. 40 seconds is massive if you're chasing the podium in sprints.

I'm usually not too bad about going out too hard on the bike. the run is a different story. last race I did focused on a more consistent pace on the run. It didn't have much an effect. this particular sprint bike course is pretty flat. it has a couple of short "hills". The only slowdown on the course is it has a few turns that are 90 degrees and less so you really have to slow down to not swing wide on them.
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Re: should I push more on the bike in my sprint triathlons? [ In reply to ]
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"When in doubt, flat out!"
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