Recovery times change as fitness depth improves?

As we get more miles (depth) in our legs, does our ability to recover from similar degrees of work change? Do we recover faster, slower, or is there no change?

Here is an example: Rider A has 5 years of solid riding and periodic racing in their legs. They do an event at an average of 85% FTP. if they continue to train and do the same event in 1, 2, or even 5 years later again at 85% FTP (a higher FTP than previously) will their recovery be the same? Leave all the other factors - nutrition, sleep/rest, etc - the same.

If Nate does Leadville after Cape Epic, and keeps the power %s equal (assuming everything else is equal) would he still take the month+ to recover?

Does it matter if they we compare new riders with themselves years later?

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Rather open ended but, after decades of riding yes I can handle way more TSS/day compared to when I started; I can go very deep on intervals or during a ride/race and recover much quicker from each interval/effort; I can go “deep” during said rides and races many more times than when I was new to it; my heart rate is lower for the same power output.

All that said, I’m getting old so age is affecting what I can do compared to years ago.

Not sure what you’re after in the last sentence but, I think with power being able to compare all sorts of metrics is valuable information. Power wasn’t available in the beginning for me but, the last 10-12 years it’s been interesting to compare. What is hard to understand is why you improve or decline. Meaning, take it all with broad brush strokes unless you train exactly the same year after year after year.


Yes. Triathlete here. Had a pb 70.3 race last weekend and already getting back into it. 4 years ago after my first 70.3 it was ages before I could get back to it. I notice this in training as well.


I wonder if HRV is a good indicator of recovery for cyclists. I was using it for a while, but noticed that if my Apple Watch took a random reading, and it was low, sometimes I’d test it by using the breathe app and doing a more controlled reading. That reading is always a lot higher.

Testing protocol aside, HRV might be a decent way to monitor recovery times. If taken automatically several times a day and charged alongside your ride data. Would be interesting to see if there’s any correlations with performance, feeling etc.