Recovery weeks are typically part of most higher volume training plans every 3rd or 4th week, but since most of our plans thus far are lower volume plans in the 6-9 week range, scheduled recovery is better left up to each athlete.
Often enough, when riders are only on their bikes for 3-4 hours/week, full recovery weeks aren’t necessary. This isn’t always the case all of the time though, and some weeks can be pretty taxing thereby necessitating a recovery “period”. So you might not need a full de-load week so much as a block of 2-3 days to simply ride easy and/or spend some time off the bike.
With regards to our even lower volume training plans lasting as long as 11-14 weeks, there is a specific recommendation to return to some lower-intensity foundation/preparation training for 4-6 weeks, keeping the watts in the 70-90% range during rides of the same duration as your typical interval sessions. So if you’re really thrashing yourself with intensity, try to recognize that there will come a point of diminishing training returns when you’ll perhaps plateau or even backslide a bit indicating a need for a sustained period of reduced intensity.
Just pay attention to how you’re feeling and how you’re performing, whether or not you are meeting your workout’s goals and that there’s a clear level of consistent improvement/progression and insert the occasional recovery period when you feel it’s necessary. If you return to training and you’re still not up to the task, add another day. If you’re chomping at the bit after 2 days of recovery, get back out there! Over time, you’ll learn to better recognize when more rest is better than more training.
Train hard, recover well!
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