Re: How often do you have to train to see significant results?
Originally Posted by Enriss
Is there a good reason to ride below intended race pace, outside of recovery periods?
Yes. +1 on the two previous posts that put sub-maximal training in perspective, but here's another way to think about it.
Training adaptations happen in response to training that stresses the body with sufficient:
- Training Frequency
All within a framework that includes sufficient recovery so that you can rebound from the recurring physical overload, adapt and continue to progress.
A race pace and recovery only plan will almost certainly sacrifice both the overall duration (volume) and the training frequency. If you really go out and only ride race pace or recover you'll have a lot of easier days or total rest days in your schedule.
Most balanced training plans introduce some sub-maximal work that's still sufficiently intense to encourage adaptations but easy enough that you recover quickly from them and can train on subsequent days. That can be longer endurance rides or mid length Tempo rides or SST work depending on your overall training philosophy and plan but most atheltes don't stick to a race pace or recovery plan outside of pre race peaking periods.
The other problem is that for mass start road racing 'race pace' means a lot of different things and calls on different physiological systems. So it might mean L4 efforts for sustainable power as well as L5 efforts for short climbs, bridging and other VO2 Max efforts, L6 work for do or die anaerobic efforts and L7 work for top end sprints. They're all 'race pace' but including all of them every week all year long would be challenging at best and probably wouldn't lead to the best results.
So training plans use intensities above and below average Threshold race pace to both fill the schedule (satisfy the duration and frequency parts) and to work the appropriate systems at the right times for the rider (the intensity part). That generally means a range of training levels that vary at different times of the year and vary between riders in response to their unique strengths and weaknesses as well as the needs of their target events.
So yeah, well structured training plans include more than race pace and recovery.