How Easy Should Recovery Rides Be

How easy should recovery rides be? The article below recommends 30-90 minutes with no more than 50% FTP.

How can I get the most out of my recovery rides?.


Another question… if you take more than one day off a week do you even need recovery rides?

For what works for me, I don’t agree with this: “A recovery ride shouldn’t give your body any real training stimulus at all. In other words, it should be of a level so easy that you’re not actually exercising.”

If that is true, why even do it? Just take a day off.

Recovery for me @ 55-65% of FTP.


Because some people complain about days off and say they need to move their legs on recovery days.


How about in the context of a recovery week?

How many super easy days do you usually take/are recommended?

Is there some form of detraining if it’s a full week of easy riding?

My recovery rides are a spin to take the soreness out of my legs. Usually 30-60 min. I do it the next day.
Recovery week is what TR suggests.
You will not lose any real fitness with 1 week off the bike. Your legs might get really relaxed and first day back on the bike might feel hard at first.
Everyone is different.


Because it promotes blood flow and aids, speeds, recovery. It doesn’t add too training stimulus, that is not the goal. Enhancing recovery is.


As if your cranks are made of glass. That easy.

45 minutes seems perfect for me.


No but you will lose blood plasma volume. TRs recovery weeks are “doing it wrong imo” They are horrendous. In fact, the base 1 recovery week almost negates the whole block after the recovery week.

  1. You dont need a week (a 4 - 5 day block is fine unless 20 hrs plus a week)
  2. There is no intensity at all in the recovery week, which is bad, there should be a short session with intensity.

Not sure what science was consulted with TRs recovery weeks, I’m sure it never used to be like they are now.
Leaving people flat, reduced blood plasma, and needing to use the first week of the next block to ‘get back’ into it.

  1. It helps recovery, keeps the muscles moving. I feel better on a hard ride having done an easy ride the day before than having had a day off
  2. Good for mental health to get out in the fresh air and do something
  3. Burns some calories. Even if not very many it helps me maintain a calorie balance. I’m so used to piling in the calories on training days that it’s easy too overeat on total days off (and I know on the podcast they say you shouldn’t reduce calories on rest days anyway, but they do seem to have slipped into a mindset of fueling everything all the time. That works fine with most of their guests who are pro cyclists training huge volumes and burning it all off, it doesn’t work for me)
  4. Chance to ride with the kids, or with slower friends who you can’t ride with on training days
  5. Strava annual mileage and challenge posturing :wink:

I throw all my support behind #4!

That said, I am all for recovery rides, and agree with all their benefits. But the article suggested a max of 50% of FTP. That’s the crazy part to me. Understand & appreciate it is different for everyone but for me it is way too easy.


Yeah, I’m still struggling to find the balance in recovery weeks and I am also quite sensitive to my body shutting down pretty quickly even after a single full rest day.

The recent EC podcast was also clearly indicating the need to go super easy the first few days and that’s fine.

It was not clear though after those initial 4-5 days what kind of intensity they were reintroducing for their athletes (I might listen to it again) as in I wasn’t sure they were going much above z2 at all.

Would you suggest some short anaerobic bursts after those initial super easy days or have another prescription I might try? Thanks

So if your FTP is <300W or 4W/kg you probably shouldn’t even be doing them? I certainly can’t cycle < 56% of my FTP

Can’t is a strong word, what happens when you try and ride <56%FTP?

My FTP is <300w and <4w/kg, Interval workouts in Erg mode commonly have me doing recovery sections at 40-50% FTP I’d describe it as super easy spinning with a feeling of not actually applying any force on the pedals. My HR stays under 120bpm, which is the same as I observe on a very brisk walk. I don’t have a powermeter on my outdoor bike so folow the same HR limit the pedalling feels the same, it just takes some discipline not to change up a gear or increase the cadence.


A recovery week is a reduction in overall volume and intensity, typically 50% of the TSS in a normal training week, so shorter Z2 rides, perhaps only 1x Z4 or above interval session, A recovery week doesn’t normally include recovery rides <50%FTP but I don’t think it would hurt to add in some if you still want to go out and ride/walk.

Have a listen to this from @empiricalcycling . Probably the best advice you can get.


It’s a recovery ride, it’s supposed to be way too easy. Over 50% of FTP you are doing an endurance ride, which is fine and should allow recovery if you don’t go too hard or too long.

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Then I was doing it all wrong :grinning:

I was pretty sure listening from the podcast that the first days are super easy and possibly only in the weekend you’d want to reintroduce intensity.

This recovery week thing is getting rather frustrating :see_no_evil:

I’ll keep experimenting when the next rec. week is due.

My recovery week* contains rides at 40% of FTP, the same as pretty much every other week.

If you’re doing 25 hours a week, your recovery week may well be 12 hours. If you’re doing 8 hours a week then you might just drop one of your two hard workouts and still do 6 or 7 hours. It’s a massive ‘it depends’ because recovery especially is so individual.

*4 or 5 days, in reality


For me it’s very difficult to do less than 150W i think I would tip over going that slow, on the trainer it almost feels like spinning out

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Kolie from Empirical Cycling prescribes recovery rides at 100 watts and lower and that includes his professional athletes with monster FTP’s.