I know that there has been discussion in the past regarding the differences between recovery and taper weeks, in terms of the goals, but I still don’t understand why intensity is completely neglected in recovery weeks. If, as we know, endurance takes a long time to build, but also a long time to lose, why spend any time at all adding fatigue during a recovery week, doing Z2? It seems you could take a week completely off without any concern about losing the type of fitness Z2 builds. So wouldn’t it be better to ignore Z2 for a week, and do a week of short-shorts at something like 110-115%? I’m thinking workouts like Grassy Ridge -3, or maybe some sort of - versions of workouts from the Time Crunch plans?
Z2 creates very little fatigue and can be restorative (if you stick to the lower-ish end). Your body is regenerating & growing during a recovery week, it’s getting stronger, not weaker. Treat it well.
Doing a week of sporadic sprint/VO2 work will definitely create more stress & fatigue. There’s nothing wrong with keeping things sharp during a recovery week but you’ll need way less of it than you think.
Because you don’t really need high end until just before races/events? Recovery weeks are just that, you are keeping things ticking over whilst recovering. If the training’s right then you’ll pick up the high end quicker after being rested.
Where I run into an issue is getting a lot of Z2 skiing at this time of year. So, I’m on a recovery week right now, supposed to do Andrews today, but will be going out cross country skiing for the afternoon, probably for 2 hours or so, basically all at Z2. This makes me think I shouldn’t tack on another 1.5 hours of Z2 on the bike (I would if it wasn’t a recovery week), so was contemplating something short and higher intensity just to use the bike muscles.
I’m not sure if my understanding of “high end fitness” is the same as yours, but once built I would consider it to be more durable, not less so (“first to go”).
Personally, I always tapered less for a long road race or stage race than I did for a crit or short TT.
Worry less and enjoy your skiing more.
Nothing catastrophic is going to happen in a recovery week.
You could just cross train with the skiing and skip the recovery workout as long as you keep it(the skiing) in zone 2. Just go easy and recover. Your legs need time to regenerate and make them stronger. Going hard all of the time will eventually cause your whole body to begin to fatigue and then you are in a hole and it will take a long time to regain your strength.
I use my recovery weeks to do an FTP test and usually a shorter more intense run, while cutting down the length of longer workouts and backing off the intensity of anything else. It depends what point in the season it is. If still in base, then as others have said, the purpose if to shed fatigue so you can build the higher end more effectively when recovered.
Because it doesn’t go that quickly and the reduction in fatigue more than makes up for a tiny decrease in fitness
Assuming you are riding and not taking a week completely off, you will not lose fitness by going too easy in a recovery week. You can, however, dig yourself into a hole by doing too much during a recovery week, and ultimately sacrifice the next training block, which will lead to decreased fitness.
If you start throwing VO2 work into a recovery week, you’re playing with fire. The amount of intensity needed to just maintain that high end fitness is minimal. I’d argue one set of 10 x 30/30’s would do the trick, just to hit the system, but not stress it. If you’re not recovering fully, though, and you heap that on during your rest week, you’re sacrificing the recovery week, and doing more harm than good.
You could just cross train with the skiing and skip the recovery workout as long as you keep it(the skiing) in zone 2. Just go easy and recover. Your legs need time to regenerate and make them stronger.
I always wonder about this. Like, will I lose much if I just ski and don’t spend any time on a bike for a week? It’s hard to keep TSS low enough for a recovery week if I do both. But, all TSS is not equal. I always find I feel sluggish after time off the bike, so I try to keep at it a bit. In the past I’ve done - versions of the TR workouts, or replaced the long weekend rides with Petit or something similar so as to make room for skiing.
I’d argue one set of 10 x 30/30’s would do the trick, just to hit the system, but not stress it.
A short set like that is exactly the sort of thing I was thinking.
I suspect that’s all you need for maintenance. Trick is to cut it off there though. Don’t do a second set, or bump up the intensity because you’re feeling good.
And don’t feel like you have to bury yourself slogging through all 10 of them if you’re feeling bad…
If you must do something like this then double the recovery - a few 30s sprints maybe to keep the legs loose but maybe 1 min recovery - and I would cap it at 5x30s with 20mins of aerobic work at 60% FTP either side
I’ve been thinking of doing something like a set of 30/30s or 30/60s or a couple short threshold intervals (2x2-3min) during a couple of days in my recovery week. Not because I’m trying to maintain fitness but because the reduction in volume and intensity leaves me feeling like garbage and it takes 2-3 workouts in the next block to get back to feeling decent. So maybe more like a ‘mini-taper’ week than a traditional recovery week. I dunno.
i wouldn’t say it’s an issue. Just sub Andrews for your skiing. It’s all training stress so I agree you don’t want to double up.
That’s exactly how I feel as well.