12hr Time Trial - recovery and restart. Help & advice please

So you more experienced long race people.

  1. How do you recover?
  2. How do you rebuild for more sensible distances after a 12hour TT?
  3. And how long does it take?
  4. What is your approach and what do you recommend?OK,

The back story: I did my big race for the season on Sunday a 12hr time trial. (National 12 Breckland - 237.5 miles if you are interested), which for a 60 year old and first 12, I am massively pleased with.

I thought I had survived OK. No real aches and pains Monday or, as I expected, Tuesday. Sure my legs and neck ached a bit, but I was functioning pretty normally. I had a good massage Wed. Stayed off the bike. However, last night I turned up at our final evening 10 and I can only describe my performance as HILARIOUS.

I just could not produce any power! Normally I go round the 10m sporting TT course averaging 235-245W. Last night I had nothing and averaged 180W no matter how hard I tried. My minute man was astonished to catch me in 4 miles and I just burst out laughing as he passed me. (No disrepect to the guy). I had nothing. I clocked a P.W. Personal Worst.

At one point as I desperately tried to climb the final hill and drag, I was working out that my average speed for the 10 might be less that my average speed for the 12 hour! It was as if my body was saying “You have taught me NOT to use high powers any more and keep it low, so put up with this!”

I am sleeping normally, but clearly have not receovered properly yet. At rest my legs feel fine (or I though they did).

However, to finish my season, I have two 25s in 4-5 weeks where I would like to get PBs. My plan was to return to shorter and higher power work to get my top end power and FTP refreshed. But last night threw me, funny though it was. So I am now wondering how | feel my way back into training and sharpening up for shorter TTs, and whether there are any overall approach or strategy I should use.

So you more experienced people and coaches.

  1. How do you recover from these sort of events?
  2. How do you rebuild for more sensible distances after a 12hr TT (Or equivalent)?
  3. And how long does it take?
  4. What is your approach and what do you recommend?

Thanks (A 12hr first timer)


I can talk from Ironman experience - lots of short active recovery sessions (Dans, Taku -1, walking) eat well (plenty of protein and carbs, fruit and veg), sleep well and nap when necessary.

Time to recovery will vary on you as an athlete and how much the event took out of you, but slow and steady recovery is usually the best approach.

Congratulations on your performance! :tada::tada::+1:

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Thanks @JoeX That sounds sensible. Ease back in. I have done Ironman twice and long course, but it was approaching 15-20 years ago and my memory of how to recover is not good. All I can remember was feeling fine the next day, then every muscle in my body complaining the next few days. I expected something like that this time, but did not get it.

Sounds like sound advice (I have been eating for England since I notice). Thanks

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Sounds familiar to me :grinning:

I’ve only ridden one 12hr a couple of years ago but it took me a good few weeks to feel vaguely back to normal.

I got off the bike feeling OK, thought the fatigue levels weren’t too bad and carried on as normal but I underestimated the residual underlying fatigue that isn’t as obvious as one from a shorter, harder effort which while more obvious, tend to be recovered from more quickly.

I’d keep riding easily for a while, maybe with a harder effort thrown in once a week or so to judge when your performance is nearer to where you’d expect it to be. The length of time that might take will be down to lots of factors like your age and riding history for example but there’s nothing to be gained by trying to rush the process. You body will take the time in needs and by trying to speed the process up the likelihood is that you would only extend it.


Thanks @JulianM. Yesterday I scheduled some TR VO2 max sessions into the plan next week. I am crossing them off right away. :slight_smile:


I’d echo what others have said about rest and recovery, especially as an older athlete. But also, I’d say don’t worry too much about “training” for these events. You just trained for and rode 237 miles in 12 hours, you must have amazing stamina and muscle endurance, plus a decent FTP.

That’s not going to go away in a few weeks, but neither is it going to get radically better. If you could alter your training focus that much in the course of the season, then Julian Alaphilippe would have have won La Fleche Wallonne AND the Tour De France.

So I’d think about riding totally easy until 2 weeks out. Then do a week with 2-3 threshold / sweetspot sessions to get used to the feeling of riding at FTP, and recalibrate expectations if necessary (maybe do Lamarck to see where you’re at). And then back to an easier taper week with a few shorter but not draining efforts.

TL:DR - think more about making sure you recover enough so you’re able to ride for an hour at your current FTP, rather than trying to raise that FTP in the short time you have available.


Thanks @martinheadon - that sounds really wise. I appreciate your advice and encouragment. It makes sense.

To your point about power, stamina and muscle endurance. Actually I planned to do around 160-165W power, at a comfortble lowish heart rate, for the duration and see how it went. My actual average over 12 hrs was 145W and my normalised 157W. (My FTP is around 240) Basically because I was below 25W for 1hr 25mins (according to strava) and only 7.5 mins of that was stationery. That time was probably when I was coasting downhill, tucked in, with the howling wind behind me doing around 29-31mph for long stretches, before I gently picked up power as the road rose again. Of course it was a different story back into the wind :frowning:

I will look up Lamarck. Thanks