Lately I've been reading over what Adam Myerson recommends and from what I know of 'cross I like what I see. The more I read up on stuff though, there's still one unanswered question. I can see the benefits of practicing run-ups, find a good hill similar to what you'd see in a race, and do hill repeats up it. However, nobody really talks about the other style of running in cyclocross, the high speed barrier.
Run-ups require a ton of explosive power, but high speed barriers require a lot of leg speed. Typically you're coming into the barriers faster than you can run, so then what? Well, when I was first getting into 'cross, '98 or '99 maybe, I took a trip up to San Fran for the National Champs at the Presidio. While I was there I was chatting to Chris Kelly of the now defunct Kelly cycles. He mentioned to me that I should practice running by doing 100 yard sprints. What puzzles me is nobody else talks about anything like this.
Last night I was showing Anne my loop at Chili Greens and at the run-up I practically tripped over myself because my legs weren't turning over fast enough. The answer, sprints, 100 yard sprints to be exact. So tonight, after 3 weeks of run prep (10-20 minute runs) it was over to UNO's stadium for stair repeats and sprints. You get the explosive power of running stairs, plus the leg speed of sprinting 100 yard dashes.
In theory it sounds good, I just wonder why nobody talks about it.
So why focus on run-ups and sprinting? Let me put it in these terms, I read this last season, wish I could find the article. Cross is a race of seconds. There is typically at least two dismounts per lap. Say you can improve your dismounts and running by one or two seconds per section, 2 maybe 4 seconds a lap. A typical cross race could see you doing anywhere from 10-15 laps or 20-30 dismounts, that's up to a 1 minute improvement over the course of a race. But then if you think that later in the race, guys get tired, you may be able to double your gains through the later stages of the race. After you do the math you're getting pretty close to a two minute advantage. Two minutes is an eternity in 'cross, now think how many guys are in front of you within that two minutes.
Time to run...