October 28, 2017
by Alison Powers, ALP Cycles Coaching (Photo Credit: SnowyMountain Photography)
Come Cyclocross season, or during the lead up and build to CX season, we are often asked about running. Should our athletes run in preparation for CX? The short answer is - yes. But, it's not that cut and dry.
When it comes to running and CX racing, it's important to think about what type of running is done in a typical CX race. To break it down, here are basic questions to make the answer, and your training, a little more simple.
Is there running in cyclocross? Yes.
Is the running long and/or for many minutes? No.
Is the running basic, in a straight line, on even terrain? No.
Is the running variable (i.e. uphill, downhill, different speeds/terrain)? Yes.
Does the running require explosiveness? Yes.
Does the running require riding a bicycle afterward? Yes.
With these questions and answers in mind, we want to make our run training specific to what the demands of CX racing are.
There are two goals when it comes to running and CX racing. Maintain momentum and be able to get through the run section and still have the ability to get back on the bike and race hard (as opposed to recovering).
Now back to the original question: To run or Not to Run? If you (the racer) get off your bike and slow down (lose momentum), then you should probably add some CX run specific drills to your training. If you (the racer) are so gassed after getting back onto your bike that you have to soft pedal and recover for a bit, then you should probably add some CX run specific drills to your training.
What are CX specific run drills? We know that the demands of running in CX are so much more dynamic and explosive than being able to run a fast 10km on pavement. The demands of running in CX racing are dynamic, require the ability to have fast leg turn over, jump and land over obstacles, run up steep hills, climb stairs, etc. After doing all of this, the CX racer must get back on their bike and continue riding and racing hard. Good drills and skills to develop this are - quick feet ladder drills, agility drills, plyometrics, and short and/or steep run (sprint) ups. Do these skill and drills on all different terrain to develop the ability to be strong, powerful, and quick on all terrain.
During the race season, if you spend 20-30 minutes one day a week on these skills, your overall run speed, and ability to ride hard after running will improve immensely.
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ABOUT ALISON POWERS
Alison Powers only recently retired from cycling, finishing her final season on the UnitedHealthcare Women’s Team. Her career has spanned a wide array of wins, including the 2013 USA Cycling Professional Criterium National Championship where she won in memorable fashion by soloing after an early breakaway that obliterated the pro women’s peloton. Other standout results during the 33-year-old’s 2013 season include the win at Redlands Bicycle Classic, second at the Tour of Elk Grove, third at the US National Road Championship and the US National Time Trial Championship, and stage wins at Cascade Classic, Tulsa Tough, Tour of the Gila and Redlands Bicycle Classic. Hailing from Fraser, Colorado, Powers has been racing bikes professionally for eight years and is a true athlete with her career beginning as a teenager in mountain bike racing. In her mid 20s, she added in alpine ski racing before switching over to the road. In addition to being the current Criterium National Champion, Powers has two other national championships (Time Trial, Team Pursuit) and 2 NRC titles (2009, 2013).
About ALP Cycles Coaching
ALP Cycles Coaching is located in the mountains of Colorado, and is a cycling coaching company with over 25 years of professional sports experience. ALP Cycles Coaching is unique in that we have 4 coaches, Alison Powers, Jennifer Triplett, and Patricia Schwager who each brings her own coaching strengths and personal experiences. We work together to create a training plan that works for each and every person. Visit them online at http://alpcyclescoaching.com
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