Translating "better" workout performance into race tactics/strategy?

I’m curious if anyone has studied which workouts they find easy/perform better in than others and used that to influence race tactics? If so, how?

For me, I can find similar IF workouts very different in terms of difficulty and last night highlighted that well.

  • I had Striped +1, which has short intervals from 150-180% FTP but plenty of rest. I had a blast and finished by emptying the tank in the last 15s interval with a near 300% sprint
  • However, my FTP is a manual set as I have extreme difficulty with the Ramp Test workout structure (slow escalation into VO2/anerobic with no rest).
  • I also typically have to turn down 120%+ VO2 longer interval workouts or I fade (a workout like Dade)
  • I also have trouble, though not as bad as the VO2 work above, with anaerobic intervals with shorter rests (pointing to a poor short recovery ability?)
  • I can do sweet spot all day (an exaggeration, but that’s how the 2hr workouts feel)

Translating that all above into a race tactics - I feel like it’s somewhat like one of the Clif Bar riders said in episode 21: “I can make a gap, but I can’t hold a gap, so I’ll wait for a break to form and bridge up to it”. Quite a simplification, but seems to fit a bit into the above.

/end ramble.

This sounds essentially like knowing your Allen/Coggan power profile and applying that to tactical plans. For example, you may know you have a high-end 5s sprint, but your 60min power isn’t great, so you’re best off sitting in and waiting for the sprint. Or (like me) your sprint is kinda weak, but your 5min power is the strongest part of your profile, so maybe you’d be best taking that final lap or 2k flier and creating problems for the rest of the field.

I perceive my pVO2max to be relatively stronger than my sustainable power, both from my workouts but also from my history as a runner where I was best at the 800 (which is just a miserable, miserable event, BTW), so I think my best option to place in road races and crits is to apply that strength, whether through attacking often and recovering (as in our VO2max or anaerobic repeat workouts) or taking that last-lap suicide flier, rather than trying a long term solo break.

I think you can definitely glean notional strengths and weaknesses from your structured training workouts. Ground truth will be exposed when you try to apply said tactics in races.