Racing Yourself Into Form

Hi Guys! Thanks for all the amazing content. Long time Cat 4, but hoping to change that this coming year, as this will be my first dedicated offseason training TrainerRoad religiously. In Texas the road season starts mid to late January, but the criterium season I’m really targeting doesn’t really ramp up until late February / March. By the time the first road race gets here, I will just be starting Specialty Phase (Criterium Specialty). How do you guys feel about flogging yourself in road races as training events, acknowledging that you’re really treating them as training opportunities? Valuable during the Specialty phase of the training plan? For context, I just finished SSB1, am about to start SSB2, I have Short Power Build planned, which will eventually be followed by Specialty Criterium that will deliver me to criterium season in mid-March.

Thanks again!

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I do quite a bit of racing into form. Both actual races and hard drop group rides. Personally I find it’s a great way to get race fitness, have some fun, and sharpen up all the other stuff that is key to racing success beyond how many watts you can put out - tactics, handling, positioning, and getting to know the local racers so you have a good idea of which wheels to follow, who will work in a break, who’s got a monster sprint etc.

It’s a bit of a balancing act. If you try to do the hard TR sessions as well as the racing you can burn out, but equally if your only hard riding is in races you’re likely to plateau and not be as strong. Treating races/group rides as training sessions can be liberating though - e.g. go on an early break that’s almost certainly doomed to fail but allows you to get a good chunk of time at threshold or do some over-unders or VO2 work if a few other riders join you. And it might just stick


I recall in a recent podcast one of the riders they had on, could have been the Cannondale rider Amber Pierce, mentioning she would do races to get her into form. I believe she had a pretty ridiculous race calendar though. Like 80 odd races.

If I’m trying to build fitness by racing, I find that it helps to race really, really dumb. If I’m actually trying for results, that often translates to marginal training benefits because I’m only pushing when I have a strategic reason to push. Racing dumb can be really fun though, and the unpredictable nature can sometimes turn into good results.


I was in a Crit recently and was on the front. My whole intention was to do a 40min SST effort. And Over Unders. My under was SST my over 120%. I could feeeeel everyone hating on me in the race. But it was very good training.


Old roadie adage - Best training is racing.

Get out there, race “stupid”, be aggressive, try to create breaks…basically flog yourself. If you get dropped as a result, no big deal since your goal is training, not results.


Every race is stupid race for me, as a lightweight with strenghts in duration and with a sucky sprint.
Luckely my w/kg is really high so i can have fun the whole ride even on flat races. My goal is often to make the race go so fast that it will be new time record, if i get in break and win its a bonus.