How detrimental is an effort during recovery week really?

You’ve had a heavy block of intensity and then on for a recovery week. Day off, then a few days easy riding and… you decide you want to test the legs on an effort or two. Nothing major, maybe a max 2min or 4 min effort, then back to taking it easy.

Is there anything out there that shows this hinders recovery and progression to an extent worth caring about, or can we all relax a bit and play a bit looser with the rules?

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I had a week off work which coincided with my recovery week. Didn’t do any hard efforts but got quite some miles in. Needed an extra recovery week afterwards as I definitely felt knackered by the Friday

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Were you doing a lot more endurance hours than you usually would?

I never do a ‘only z2’ recovery week. It’s generally an extra easy day, slightly less volume, and one intensity day where the intervals are shorter. Otherwise I get super flat.


Thoughts and prayers for your nascent capillaries.


Interesting one!

I was researching my question earlier and came across a comment elsewhere that said Coggan had found evidence that you only really need something like 2 or 3 days recovery. I couldn’t find the original source though, but would like a look at that.

What sort of training do you do though usually?

Please indulge me and expand on this, or is the comment entirely tongue in cheek?

Normal week is 6 days/week on the bike in the range of 10-15 hours. I’ll do intervals (15/15, sweet spot, over-unders, vo2, whatever the season wants) 2-3 days a week, then hard group rides 1-2 days per week, ‘easy’ endurance (recovery or low z2 depending on how I’m feeling) once a week, then the rest z2. Most of the sessions are 2+ hours, some of them will be an hour if that makes sense for them.

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Proper training then, with a fair amount of intensity there.

You might be gifted with a fast recovery rate though, Nice one!

Entirely tongue-in-cheek.

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There is no reason to believe that you need the random number of 7 days of recovery after a hard block. Figuring out how much recovery you need is one of the hardest training-related questions out there… (I wish there was an easy answer to it!..)


Maybe there’s a market for a test or some sort, maybe coupled with machine learning that works this out for you. HR and HRV are nice start points, but must be other measurable metrics you could bundle in to give a more complete and accurate picture…

HRV plus listening to your legs and body is pretty good. For me, HRV just confirms what I’m feeling. I find that efforts (KOM attempts :slight_smile: ) just kick the recovery can down the road and it takes longer.

Lately I’ve felt tired and exhausted for no reason. We had to go out of town for 4 days and I thought that would be my recovery. I got back and did some easy free riding because I just didn’t feel like doing intervals. Day after day, my legs were still tired and heavy every morning so I just kept listening to my body and kept things easy. Finally yesterday, I did an FTP test and got a 15 point bump.