Sprint efforts during endurance

Anyone have experience with doing sprint efforts during endurance rides? Historically the prescription might be during a build phase to do standing starts, a dedicated sprint ride with various sets, etc… but during base training where endurance is the main focus, does periodic sprinting (i.e. less than 3/hr) have any downsides?

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It really depends on what your end goal or adaptation is. If you are in endurance base phase you may want to focus more on shorter VO2 max efforts with high cadence to work max aerobic capacity. Insert 4-7 short 2-3minute VO2 efforts at 100+ rpm which will illicite higher HR acticvity which can be beneficial during an aerobic base phase. These can be done 1x week to 1x every 10 days. Once you are more into a build phase or into your season yes I love sprint or max efforts built into endurance rides. lots of flexibility to place them at beginning, middle or end of the ride which I love, this help develop fatigue resistance as well. Outside of specific sprint training like you mentioned which are a BIG training load and really only needed to specific events and races that require a “sprint” I tend to include sprints into endurance rides for my athletes who are not track or crit specialists. I also like max efforts as certain times of the year as a way to get an overall lift in max power which can have a positive affect in overall power duration profile at key durations. Happy training!!

I like the idea of VO2 efforts in base, but I generally let a (bi)weekly group ride supply these. Really just a fun factor. But sometimes in base there are times when VO2 intervals are right*

Just to clarify, it’s not a build or race phase work out I’m thinking of, rather mid/late base phase. The sprints I’m considering are 8-10s, not max effort, more like 90-95% with form/technique/feeling being the target. There would be 20-30min between efforts. It also gives a bit of a mental distraction. In the base phase I generally do prescribe 2 interval days*, the remaining endurance, but kept separate to optimize weekly energy (and accommodate strength, if done). It’s during these endurance rides I’m considering adding in the sprints. Sprinting is such a key part of racing that I’m considering the cost/benefits of adding them, even if it detracts from the intervals done during the base period.

*intervals maybe shorter or longer based on weakness/strength/target/experience/proximity target.