Recovery Week Alterations

I know it’s a topic that’s been beaten to death, but I wanted to re-open discussion on recovery weeks. Currently I’m finishing up week 5 of SSBHV2, and am considering making some alterations to the proposed recovery week next week. Here’s a rough example, which would inject a little more intensity in order to achieve approximately the same total TSS as the standard all-Z2 recovery week, only in slightly fewer hours. Essentially a closer approach to that one might take during a taper week by lowering volume but maintaining some intensity.

I seem to recall Pete mentioning on one of the recent podcasts that he has found through trial and error that he often needs to inject some kind of calculated intensity into recovery weeks, otherwise his legs don’t seem to come around until 1-2 weeks into the next block. My (limited) experience has been much the same. That 1-2 week period of riding back into your legs might be manageable in a 6 week base block, but seems less than ideal for a 4 week build block. I also recall that in the past Chad has mentioned that a full 7-8 days of light recovery is likely overkill for most, though obviously it’s better to err on the side of overdoing it when it comes to recovery.

As someone who is relatively new to structured training and cycling in general, I’m curious to know what has worked well and what hasn’t worked well for others who have played around with altering the standard recovery weeks. If you have found success this way, which workouts are your go-to for injecting some moderate intensity into a recovery week (i.e. what kind of IF have you found works best without overdoing it)? Of course when you boil it down, like many things bike related this is largely individual, and will depend on a plethora of factors (age, experience, whether you’re coming off a block of base/sweetspot vs VO2 work, etc.), and that’s not even touching on the need for a brake to recharge mentally as well.

For context, I finished SSBHV1 with a TSB of -11.8, and after the rest week following SSBHV1 I had drifted up close to 20 TSB. I have found I’m one of those people who feels best hovering around that 10 to -10 range. Should I try to target a TSB closer to that upper bound of 10 coming off the recovery week this time around? Just looking to find the sweetspot between reaping the adaptations that come with rest/recovery, while also ensuring that I’m keeping the legs fresh enough without the risk of overdoing it.

IIRC they talk about only needing to “touch” on those higher stress systems rather than doing full 90/120min workouts where you’re spending long periods in those zones. The latter goes against telling your body it’s in a recovery period. I took that to mean adding a few short sprints to a z2 (eg petit +1) or adding a short opener (eg Davis) to keep things fresh.

But… it’s pretty clear to me from the podcasts and the threads on this forum that each recovery is going to be different with a huge variable being which block you’re recovering from and how deep you went in that block.

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I use recovery weeks as weeks to swap TR indoor workouts for riding to feel outdoors with the odd short hill climbs to inject intensity. This offers me the mental recovery as well as physical from those hard TR weeks.


Adding some sweet spot work is fine, but listen to your body. Figure out what your indicators are and use that to judge when you should resume some intensity. Do not feel that you have to, and do not schedule it ahead of time unless you will skip / swap if you’re not feeling up to it.

There is a similar thread here. TLDR: I have added some sweet spot work to my two previous recovery weeks. The first one I did it more based on how I was feeling and I got it about right. The second one I scheduled the sweet spot workouts ahead of time and didn’t account for how I was feeling, and am too OCD to not complete the workouts. I ended up not getting a good recovery out of the week and failed the following ramp test.

First recovery week (about right)

Second recovery week (too much)

I’m in the middle of a recovery week now and yesterday was the first time I started a ride without my legs feeling fatigue. All the previous rides began with heavy legs. I added some 20-sec sprints to today’s ride and may do either some sweet spot work tomorrow or a ramp test.

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Thanks! This is great insight.

I am definitely not locked in to the planned week I posted, though I hear you on being careful about even scheduling anything, lest you feel obligated to follow through to your own detriment.

The first 2-3 days will surely be rest days or light recovery spins. Then I would see how I’m feeling closer to the end of the week and play it by ear from there. Either stick with some lower intensity/volume sweetspot workouts, similar to what I have posted, or maybe mix in some 30/30’s or other brief VO2 work, and then just drop off to Z2 at the first sign of any real fatigue.

I was thinking of experimenting with the same thing as I’m tired of feeling like garbage coming out of a rest week. My initial thoughts were to do play it by ear but try out one or two of the following instead of straight 1hr z2 rides the entire week:

  • 1hr z2 with 3 x 2min@120% FTP mixed in or small block of 30/15s (mini vo2 workout)
  • 1hr z2 with 2-3 x 6-8min@~95-100% FTP mixed in (mini threshold workout)
  • 1hr z2 with 2 x 8-10min@85-92% FTP mixed in (mini sweet spot workout)

I am thinking of it as a mini taper instead of a recovery week and keep a bit of intensity but drop volume way down. The drop in both volume and intensity has been leaving me feeling really flat this entire year. I have found the first workout of the next block to be a little rough, but after a workout or two I’m back in the groove. But it sucks when one of those bad workouts is your FTP assessment… I now do my 20min power test at the end of a block and perform much better than I have been after coming off a rest week. :man_shrugging:

Totally agree with this. In train 100% indoors and only ever ride outdoors for races … or recovery weeks. Just ride gently around and push on hill hill but agree mental break as vital as physical. If often train outdoors anyway or do regular outdoor rides then likely less vital but totally agree that recovery weeks good time to get away from structure and just chill ride.

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