Ryan Owen’s week in training
Date: August 14-20, 2017 | Location: Manchester | Training for: European Track Championships (pending selection)
When sprinter Ryan Owens trialled for Team GB in September 2015, he didn’t expect to be heading to Rio the following summer. Just six months after securing a place on the Senior Academy and moving to Manchester he was named as a reserve in the 2016 sprint squad.
Making inroads this year, the 21-year-old has taken his first national titles and, last month, team sprint gold at the UEC Under-23 European Track Championships. Here, Owens talks us through a typical week at the National Cycling Centre.
1hr recovery road ride
This was just a short, gentle spin. We don’t do too much road riding, especially in a strength block. We do a block of road when we first come back from a break after competition but it’s good sometimes just to get a bit of fresh air, and I enjoy riding my bike. We did a bit of active recovery to prepare for a big day on Friday. Today was a bit different, as I was arranging a surprise for my girlfriend — cleaning up the house before her friends from Ireland arrived.
2h gym session
We’ve just got a new strength-and-conditioning coach, so we’ve started doing some new things in the gym. We’re working on some complicated Olympic lifts that we’ve not done before. Some of the session was technical, and some of it was quite heavy. We were testing, trying to find a two-rep benchmark for squats. I got up to 200kg. After that, we had a core session to work on balance. As a sprinter, you use your core quite a lot, especially during starts.
AM: 2hr gym session; PM: 1hr track session
The Friday gym session was really hard. It involved a big test, where we had to do as many squats as we could in 10 minutes at 75 per cent of our maximum (as measured on Monday). I think I did 49 reps of 150 kilos in 10 minutes. In the afternoon we did flying 100-200-metre efforts on the track just to practise the sprint qualifying efforts. Coming through the door that evening, I was possibly the most tired I’ve ever been.
Track session: power jumps
This track session focused on duration: it was all about making the sprint last longer on the track. We did four max-effort power jumps, where you come in at a medium pace and, exiting off one of the turns, you do an acceleration. We did 1.75-lap efforts on pretty big gears with the motorbike in front of us to simulate pushing that cadence at that speed. It’s quite hard to do that unless you put race wheels on for every training effort. I saw improvements from last week.
20min recovery ride
Normally we’d do track Friday and gym Saturday, but because I had the guests staying this weekend, we moved it around so I had the double session on Friday and a double rest at the weekend. It also set us up nicely for the double day on Monday. Two days of recovery means you can hit the new week hard. I did a really short recovery ride on the road bike to get some fresh air — literally around 20 minutes.
2h gym session
We were back in the gym today, but not until the afternoon, so we had plenty of time to recover from the track session the day before. We did deadlifts, another exercise I’ve not done in a while, so I’m not pushing massive numbers on it at the moment, about 160kg. It’s getting those foundation movements and patterns right and making sure I’m not straining. We also did some split squats and one-legged stuff, just to make sure we’re not overdeveloping on one side.
I took it pretty easy on Sunday, aware of the demanding week ahead. A normal rest day is just keeping on top of recovery. I know there’s this big thing around cyclists not walking when they can sit, but I actually find it quite good to just get out and get a bit of fresh air, go for a walk around town and not spend the whole day shut up indoors. It can’t be too taxing but I’m not one for just watching TV all day, not anymore — I used to be!