OK to do recovery rides on rest days?

Maybe a stupid question, but am I doing any harm to my workout plan if I’m cycling 6-7 days a week but on my rest days I’m doing a recovery ride? I’m on low volume so have wiggle room for 1 outdoors ride on top of my 3 main workouts but in between those if I’m getting bored it’d be nice to be able to do a 30min-1hr easy spin without damaging any progress?


Generally 1 day completely off the bike a week is a pretty good idea. Doing easy rides in recovery/low z2 on off days is fine/good.


Just remember to keep the recovery rides ‘easy’ and it shouldn’t be a problem.

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I feel worse when I have a complete day off the bike - chucking in an easy spin, z1/z2 - perhaps Taku or similar works well for me and keeps me motivated. Give it a try for a few weeks and see how you feel - all about finding out what works well for you.

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“Recess”, and follow the workout text is my plan. For me, overall I do better maintaining the routine.

Before the new year, I was throwing in a pettit or whorl, on the basis of my overall NEAT being down, but going to try to follow the plan a bit better as it is actually towards an event now (fingers crossed)

Trust how you feel. If it really is a recovery ride then it does exactly what it says - it helps you to recover as well or better than doing nothing at all i.e. you’ll feel better at the end of that ride than you did at the start, and you’ll feel better for your scheduled workout the next day than you would do after a day of complete rest.

If you’re doing a recovery ride, you start out feeling crap, and after a decent warm up (~15 minutes) you’re still feeling crap then that’s typically a good sign that you need a day off and I would shut it down there. If you’re doing a recovery ride and you feel fine at the time but you feel tired or heavy legged for your scheduled workout the next day then that’s typically a sign that you pushed too hard on the recovery ride and need to go easier.

I tend to ride (or do other aerobic exercise) every day unless I’m sick, injured or life gets in the way. Getting the blood flowing and the muscles moving seems to help me with recovery and feel better the next day. Good for mental health, sleep and habit-forming as well - the routine of doing some kind of exercise every day is one I formed 25+ years ago and has served me well through some times when sport and training has had to take a back seat.


Different point of view from my side :slight_smile: I think at least one day completely of the bike is good for a mental and body health. If I ride every day I’m in the flow but my body is not fully recovered and I can feel it after a few days off. Maybe the approach with no rest days is ok in some phases of training but in long term I think we need rest days. Take a walk, read a book, do whatever you don’t have time for in a training days and listen to your body.

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It’s important to remember what a recovery ride is. It should be Zone 1. A lot of the workouts in the TR library that are often referred to as “recovery” are really Zone 2 aerobic rides. Taku and Petit would come to mind here. There are 60-70% Zone 2 efforts rather than 50% Zone 1 efforts. While not overly taxing, these Zone 2 rides will provide some training stimulus and can be used to get in some additional aerobic work. But the key word here is work, they are not recovery.

Lazy Mountain is a nice example of a true recovery workout. Whether you do a recovery ride vs simply take the day off is likely an individual choice. Most of the time I’ll do some yoga and foam rolling on my day off which helps with body maintenance and gives me a nice mental break from the bike. However there have been times I’ve done some Zone 1 spinning and I have found this has helped my legs fill fresher the next day.

Here is a nice article on Recovery Rides.

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I like a super easy recovery ride like z1. Let’s me enjoy the bike again besides always feeling like I have to hit numbers

Did Lazy Mountain today and kept a keen eye on my HR and it it stayed in zone1 the whole time and felt great throughout so think I’ll plan to do this on my rest days and take a complete day off on the weekend.

I just did that over the holidays – my 12 Days of Swiftness. I was in weeks 2 & 3 of Sweet Spot Base LV and was supplementing the plan with Z1/Z2 rides ranging from 30 - 45 minutes. I was completing my prescribed workouts and doing okay with my sleep and good on nutrition. Then I took the Sunday & Monday off and am back at it and put an hour z2 workout on the schedule tomorrow.

I suggest supplementation only if you are completing your prescribed workouts (and while they are all difficult, you probably know the difference from struggling to complete them vs completing them) in good order. As other states take a check of the things you normally do including how you are feeling – are looking forward to throwing over or hesitant? Is your overnight HR good? If you take HRV what does that say?