Recovery rides vs rest days

So I really hate having days that I do not ride. I am injured with a hernia and cannot walk far at all (under a mile). But I can ride forever. It really has been my saving grace since February. 10125 km or 6300 miles. Longest ride I’ve done this year was an 11 hour 312 km ride.

Often on training days I will add a recovery ride on later in the day to just keep spinning.

ANYWAYS I really enjoy my riding time and prefer to replace rest days with recovery rides.

What are the pros and cons of doing recovery rides at 40% to 50% of ftp versus just taking a day off. I am trying to keep as fit as possible until I have surgery and then I will be our of the saddle for 8 weeks :frowning:

Any guidance is appreciated.

recovery rides (at low %) allow you to “flush” the legs of waste and byproducts of hard training. it helps the lymphatic system do its job, which doesnt occur if you are sedentary.

@FatBoySlim This topic was covered in last weeks podcast. Listen from 1:24


Thank you for posting your comments and the video. Ive decided to not have any rest days and only have recovery days. Keeps me happy and moving!

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I always find it odd that the “recovery” rides prescribed in TR are way above the conventional 50-55% of FTP. Petit is 65%. There really aren’t many recovery workouts (I think when I apply the recovery filter only 1 actual workout appears).


That’s because they aren’t “recovery” rides.

They are Endurance level TSS fillers more than anything.


Yeah, i guess my question is why would these plans have “filler” workouts and no recovery rides. Is it assumed we would just add our own recovery rides?

@chrisf505 When I use the workout search tool and select “Recovery” I get 22 workouts and none of them have an IF over 0.55. What were you selecting when you searched?

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I just checked and you are right, but most are the “free ride” variety. I didn’t look far enough down the list to see some of the other options. I will probably swap out these for the easy ride every week, but I am still curious why these wouldn’t be built into the plans more consistently instead of Pettit and others? I’m sure Chad is right here, but I am just curious.

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The easy rides in the plans are not, and are not intended to be, recovery rides. They are aerobic endurance rides. If you want to add in your own recovery rides, likely on the current hard days, then just pick from the above list. I usually load up Recess and ride until I start feeling like it’s making me more tired (sometimes thats 30 mins, sometimes I ride the whole 60).

This topic was covered in the podcast a couple of weeks ago, post is further up the thread


For my recovery rides I do Recess 15, 20 or 30. A recovery ride is just to flush the legs and clear the mind.

Active Recovery (<55% FTP)

Endurance (55% - 75% FTP)


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At work so can’t listen yet - so what’s the summary.

We should have no training days, or we should have recovery training days and no days without training?

I’m on the FD Tri plan - there are no recovery rides. Recovery week rides are still an IF between 0.77 and 0.89…so still high intensity.

For me, I’d call a ride that has my hr average 50 beats below threshold as recovery. I feel better the day after i did it than i did that day. It really depends on how deep you’ve dug yourself. Grand tour pros do a relatively hard ride to us as their recovery rides on their days off.

This is always bugged me a little. Does this mean in 6 weeks of SSB LV1 there is no recovery or rest week? Assuming you start SSB LV2 right after, that’s 12 weeks of no recovery?

My understanding was that you take a week off for every 3 weeks on, and the older/harder to recover amongst us can take a week off after 2 weeks on.

Is the plan low enough stress, and that it is only 3 days a week, deems it to not require any recovery?

Week 6 is recovery. If you need more recovery you can modify the schedule… here’s a thread with some examples: Alternate Sweet Spot Base, Work : Recovery Week Layout


I ride most days, never schedule a rest day, though life sometimes gets in the way and they happen. Normally a recovery ride leaves me feeling better than when I started. If 15-20 minutes into the ride I’m not feeling good that’s usually a sign that I need a day off and I shut it down.

I think the pros of recovery rides over total rest is that you’re getting blood to the muscles and getting things moving which can both accelerate recovery and also avoid being stiff or lethargic for the next day’s ride. Plus they burn some calories and trigger a few endorphins. Think they work best though when you’re reasonably fit and used to quite high volume. If you’re just getting into structured training then I think even an easy ride has the potential to dig you deeper into fatigue rather than helping you recover.

I’ve often failed on the recovery ride meaning I rode too hard or two far because I was out and having fun.

To have a true recovery ride I have to really reign in the intensity and keep it under 45 minutes - preferably 30 minutes. I often find this hard to do.

In general I’ve often wondered if my training would be more productive doing my 8-12 hours over 5 days of riding versus 6 or 7. I’d end up with longer rides but two full rest days.