First race of the season coming up during speciality phase

My first race of the season, a three hour gravel race, happens while I am mid-speciality phase. It is on the Sunday of the first high intensity week after the recovery week. My thinking was to swap out the high intensity week after the recovery week for a taper week which would then lead up to the race. But then I am doing two “low” intensity weeks prior to my race (which I would consider an A race for me since I don’t do many). Is this the right approach. Or should I perhaps move the recovery week forward a week so there is a higher intensity week before the taper week or perhaps move recovery to after the taper/race week, which means no recovery and only taper prior to the race. Any ideas?

That’s difficult to answer without knowing how quickly you recover… For me personally, if I had just got off a rest week I would probably try and ramp up again but keep an eye on fatigue levels.

In a perfect world, you would want to taper for 2 weeks prior to an A race.

Thanks, so perhaps replace the recovery week with a taper week giving two weeks of taper leading up to the race, would I just do the same taper week workouts for the first week of taper?

If by recovery week you mean a week off the bike completely. Then yes, I would probably add two taper weeks. Keep in mind this is very subjective depending on your fitness and how well you recover.

To give you an example, If I avg 600 TSS/Week and just finished doing a 3 week block and had two weeks before an A race I would probably drop to 450 TSS the first taper week and mix it up between Sweet Spot and Endurance/Tempo. On the second week, I would focus more on on Tempo with a mix of short Vo2 just to keep the legs “awake” for the race.

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I think your plan is a good one. Definitely the recovery week as planned, you’ll need it. It still has plenty of volume (time on the bike) just less intensity. You won’t lose any fitness in that week but you will gain a lot of freshness. For the a taper week, just to grab the last week of a specialty phase and do those workouts. That approach will make sure you’re well rested and the taper week intervals will help keep the ‘pointy end’ sharp as it were.