Recovery ride that burns calories

Hi, all, I’ve been doing structured training for about 8 months and am a beginner (128 lb female, 22yo with FTP 158). I know my FTP is really low which is why I’m doing the high volume plan to try to improve.

The last three days I’ve done Tallac +3, Fletcher, and Buchanan. I know that for most people these three in a row wouldn’t be that exhausting but for me my legs feel pretty tired. I could force myself to do Ditchling Beacon which my plan has scheduled for me but my gut tells me I’d be better off doing something easier. I have a fairly hard ride with a friend coming up on Sunday and then a hard group ride on Monday and don’t want to be burned out by then. I don’t want to take the day off since I still want to burn calories or do a true recovery workout for the same reason. Would medium-length endurance rides like Andrews or Fletcher help me avoid overreaching? Also, should I alternatively just keep doing the harder rides as long as I can so that I keep improving? Thanks.

This is probably your first problem…the HV plans are really tough, even for seasoned athletes.

This is also likely the reason you are tired…

I would recommend the LV or MV plans and then supplementing with easier endurance rides for added volume. As a new rider, there are huge gains to be made simply by riding “more”. Not only will you improve, you won’t be as tired or get burned out.

Improvement is a long-term process…invest in the process and time and it will pay massive dividends.


If your legs feel consistently toasted you need more rest. Do rides shorter and easier than normal on easy days. If you still can’t recover, cut them completely. You may also not be eating enough. Make sure you eat enough during your hard workouts and eat healthy on your easy days as well.

When a hard day comes you should be able to go truly hard. If you can’t, you need to figure out what all you have to adjust.


As above, go low volume and add rides when you feel good.

Try to rush it and you’ll end up going backwards quickly.


I like this idea. Would you say that endurance 5.5 and below would count as “easier endurance rides”? I still want to be training around 9 hours a week for now since I happen have more time in my schedule the next couple of months than I will in the future.

At what point would you switch to high volume if you were me?

It’s all relative. I would generally target about half the duration of a normal ‘long’ ride at ~10% lower intensity for a ‘easy endurance’ ride.

1 Like

Unfortunately, I haven’t yet started working with the new ranking system for rides, so I can’t really answer that question.


It is all relative…and most TR subscribers never go HV plans. They are VERY intensive and most riders simply can’t handle that kind of intensity for that long.

I train at a pretty high volume normally (regularly 300+ mi / week) and even I get burned out by HV plans and all the intensity.

For most people, a HV needs to literally be about “volume”…12-15+ hours a week. Of that, only a smaller proportion (maybe 4-5 hours, max) needs to be intervals and the rest can be endurance paced rides.

Quite honestly, I wouldn’t even worry about TR HV plans…just not something most people need or would benefit from…unless you do the HV Traditional Base. That would absolutely help you build your aerobic engine.

1 Like

I believe that TR recommends you start at level 4 for all workout levels, regardless of zone, when manually setting your own progression. Then you can adjust from there. Too easy, try a 4.5 or a 5.0. Too hard, try a 3.5 or a 3.0. The difference for the workout levels in the endurance zone generally are related to the length of the workout rather than the power intensity prescribed. Once you get into the 5s and 6s, you’re looking at 2-3 hour rides or longer.

1 Like

I just cancelled my high volume build phase 1 plan and punched in a MV plan. Then I added an endurance workout for Monday and Friday. Does something like this sound more reasonable (it’s a typical week of MV base with Andrews and Fletcher added – I can go in and do the same with the other weeks once I’m convinced this is a reasonable strategy for me)?

I’m also worried that I wouldn’t be going “hard” enough on the MV plan since there aren’t a ton of longer workouts. In the past it’s been 2-hour workouts like Eyre +5 and Tallac +3 that have been the most challenging for me and completing them has felt like an accomplishment to me. Without workouts like these do you think my progress would suffer?

I regularly train 8-12hpw. I’ve been riding for about 10years now. I recovery ride under 100w for up to an hour (ftp 360w).

Not such thing as too easy - these baby rides are like 10-12mph avg. I like doing them bc I don’t like taking a proper day off of exercise.

Sometimes I’ll ride for up to 1.5hr at 200w. I wouldn’t call that recovery per se, but I do freshen up relative to an actual workout.

If you want to be fresh for a big ride and don’t want to take a day off, go noodle around for a bit. You won’t really burn many calories but you can still go out and sweat!


Depends on your training history. If you’re relatively new then it shouldn’t matter too much. Goals in rough order of priority:

  1. Recovery
  2. Ride more
  3. Rest
  4. Ride hard sometimes
  5. Sleep more
  6. Ride more

Yup…definitely. You can also do the following:

  • Do slightly longer rides on Mon & Fri, if you feel up to it
  • Add in 30-60 min of endurance riding after your Interval workouts are over. Do Z2 rides and maybe occasionally bump up into low Z3 for some extended efforts.

You’ll be getting plenty of intensity with a MV plan. What you need to improve your aerobic engine is general volume and Z2 rides are your ticket.


I’ve been riding 10 months, so just about the same as you.

Andrews and Fletcher are not what I would call recovery rides. 1.5 or 2 hrs of zone 2 is no joke. Maybe this is easy for someone who has been riding for multiple years, but for a relative newbie, it’s a workout. In my opinion, 2 hours in zone 2 is as tough as an hour at sweet spot. It doesn’t make the joints and muscles sore, but it definitely adds to my cumulative fatigue.

I do low volume and add rides like Andrews on the off days. Tue, Thu, and Sat are the workouts, and the other days are just endurance. Here is how it ends up on the calendar:


There are plenty of articles on the blog around training levels and many posts on the forum. LV is low volume but it still builds folks up as does MV and HV. There’s a popular misconception that LV is “easy” or not as good as MV, HV etc and the TR crew talk about this quite a bit on the podcasts. There are also a few who have over trained with LV and supplemented in additional rides.

You say you’re a beginner but have been doing 8 months structured training - if that was on TR and a HV plan you’d have seen pretty impressive gains in one form or another if your body can handle the stress of it - by balancing rest and other life stress.

Few interesting reads…

Five Questions to Ask Yourself Before Choosing a Mid Volume Plan - TrainerRoad Blog

if you go to the trainerroad blog and use “Level” in the search function it brings up these and few more articles. FTP is only used to determine your training level and if it hasn’t budged you’ll find other areas of your fitness have, such as being able to hold the same power for longer, being able to repeat efforts etc.

I would also suggest that those three rides back to back could be an issue for quite a few TR users :smile: .

I think most cyclists being type A are prone to look at harder, harder, harder as the way forward always pushing themselves but without adequate recovery they can burn out. If you can manage the recovery then chapeau to you!



This is good advice and what I did last season and the beginning of this season. It markedly improved my endurance (my life bar/number of matches). And it gave me the flexibility to shorten or extend workouts on a given day depending on life stress. The MV workouts were mandatory, the rest was extra credit. In terms of TSS, that plan was right in between MV and HV. This season I dropped back down to MV since life stresses have increased and I am pegged, I just don’t have much more time.


I think you’ll get faster if you rode your 9 hours over 5 days. A 6th day could be no more than a short spin @ 50% ftp. You’d probably be better off doing some core, stretching, and taking a walk on your two non-cycling days. A goal of burning calories and riding an extra day is not going to make you faster.