Adjusting Recovery intensity - cheating?

I’m curious to see what others think with regards to the intensity of recovery intervals
Most recovery intervals are at 40% FTP, but once in a while I come across workouts where the recovery interval is 45% or 50% of FTP.

Take Manzano for example: a SST workout 3x22 @ 94-95% with a single minute of recovery at 50%.

Is it considered cheating if I reduce the intensity of the workout down during this recovery minute, and bring it back to normal just before the start of the next work interval?

in other words, what is the point to, in this case, have the recovery interval slightly harder than usual?

Another example is Redondo -1: a 5x10-minute SST workout at 94% FTP with only 30-second recoveries in between at 50% FTP. Am I cheating if I drop the intensity to, say, 35% FTP during recovery and bring it back up before the next interval?

EDIT: I just remembered that the workouts added to the Polarized plans tend to [all?] have recoveries at 50% as opposed to the usual 40%!
example: Mount Regan, Black Pine, Antofalla (this last one also finishing with 32 minutes at 50%!!)

Yes, you are cheating!

The idea is probably to get you close to 50 minutes of continuous sweet spot. The one minute rest that isn’t meant to be a full rest.

Does it matter THAT much if you do the rest interval at 30% or 50%? My guess is no.


thanks, just edited my post, I see the 50% recovery in Polarized plan workouts also but have always taken the liberty to reduce those to allow for adequate recovery. In these cases I fail to see the benefit of a recovery interval that doesn’t allow for enough recovery…

Not it’s not cheating. The point of the recovery interval is that it enables you to execute the next intensity interval well. If it doesn’t allow you to do this, then adjust it. It’s no good doing a recovery interval at a higher intensity if it compromises your next on interval.


… except in those few workouts where recovery is deliberately set higher in order to practice race-specific intensities. Those are definitely in the minority, though :+1:


I don’t think it’s cheating as some of the instructions talk about backpedalling through the recoveries. However, if 50% of FTP doesn’t feel like recovery to you, then you may need to consider working on your aerobic base. A stronger aerobic base can help make the lower intensity work feel like low intensity work and allow you do it longer and without impact to any of the intensity. That would be more and longer z2 work.

There is essentially no difference between 40, 45, and 50% of FTP for 30 seconds to a minute. It’s single digit percentage points in outcome at best.

If 3-10 minutes at sweet spot is so tough that you really feel the need for extra recovery then your FTP may be too high. 3 minutes at SS should feel like hardly anything at all. 10 minutes at SS should feel fairly easy to pull off.

Whether it’s “cheating” or not depends on the goal of the session. My guess is that the intent of 3x22 at SS is to get you used to longer continuous intervals at SS. It’s not the type of interval that even needs a full rest. I think it may even be beneficial to keep the legs turning over and not get too far away from the intensity otherwise you are kind of defeating the intent of getting used to longer intervals.

The polar opposite workout might be full on 1 minute intervals. There you want to rest as much as possible between intervals so that you can give the next interval your full effort.