Frequently asked questions slow or long training

I have recently done a lot of long steady riding and did a hard race at the weekend and have added up my monthly hours to find I have not done as much due to the race affecting my training? Do I try and add some more volume somewhere or count the race as more than the time taken? Which is better?

Ironmate Answer:
Time logged as training is a good guide to how your training cycles fluctuate but this will not be the total picture of what your are actually thinking about.You need to consider miles/ time trained and heart beat/perception of effort. Also how you recover how healthy you are the number of quality hours you sleep and good nutrition. Training the best you have ever done but not sleeping due to late nights or work shift patterns and eating junk food will deprive you of some of the training you have done by not recovering properly this is when improvement actually occurs.
If you cycle at 14mph for three hours this produces different fitness gains to a hard two-hour time trial bike ride at 20mph To help explain this you need to understand the following.

A three hour training ride at 14mph will give you 42 miles, while a two hour race at 20mph you will have covered a distance of 40 miles.
If you count miles only in your training log then the race with warm up and warm down may be more than the steady 3-hour ride of 42 miles.
They both are beneficial but need to be incorporated into your training at the right time to gain real benefit.
Both are different but help with building endurance. Each is specific though the easy steady ride will improve the mitochondria and increases capillarisation, improves fat burning and should help with economy of movement. The two-hour race will improve strength & your anaerobic threshold.
Doing a hard effort or race for the first time will improve that type of training for the next one, doing the same type of session every week for 10 weeks would possibly show little gains in improvement and possibly show signs of decline as the progressive training stimulus will be lacking and fitness levels could drop.
You need to be imaginative continually trying new things to create a refreshing yet building stimulus without risking injury. Doing something too extreme or a type of training that you have not done for at least 6 weeks can lead to the body not being able to adapt and can break down