Recovery week - how often for 50+ female athlete and what TSS?

How often should a female athlete, 50+ put in a recovery week? every 3rd week?
what should the TSS score look like for that week? % of typical TSS score?

sorry if its been asked before!

This depends on training history, genetics, diet, hours available to train and daily life stress.

I think trial and error is the only way to figure this stuff out. If you are not sure start with low volume a few weeks. If you are doing move up to mid volume. Same scenario for when to take a rest week. Maybe you can make it 5 before you need a rest but you wont know unless you try.

One other thing you could try is a whoop band. I havent used one but it is meant to track how well you recover.

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I have compiled a couple of options on alternate recover week timing.


Recovery weeks are typically 40-60% of the active weeks with regard to TSS. However, TSS is only one metric. You also need to take into account intensity (IF) for the workouts. IF for active weeks in a build cycle, for example, tend to be 0.8 to 0.9 on average. By contrast, when you are in a recovery week, the IF drops to 0.6 / 0.7 range.

Different athletes need different microcycles and it also depends on what type of training you are doing, experience and other parameters.

For example, in a traditional base type block of a high TSS but with a low IF, an experienced athlete might be able to do 4, 6 even longer periods without formal recovery. But then in a high intensity / high stress build phase the same athlete might require a recovery period every 2 weeks to get the most out of the cycle.

In my experience, athletes tend to make mistakes biting off more TSS and IF than they can handle and compound that with not enough rest or recovery. So as a learning curve it might be an idea to do Base with 3:1 and Build in 2:1 microcycles. If that goes well, try the next blocks at higher work:recovery ratios.

Take home is you need to experiment and find what is correct for you. That takes some experience and some experimentation. Also factor in “life”. 3:1 might be great but then maybe you get a big project at work or something and all of a sudden you need 2:1 to keep on track.

My own training, the hardest thing to do is take recovery. I now program in more recovery than I might need simply to force myself to take the easy days.

FWIW, and one of the things I love about the TR gang, is they get that for vast majority of TR users this is a hobby and TR is a tool to get more enjoyment from the hobby and hopefully build fitter, faster, healthier humans (that would be a good mission statement…lol). I always here great comments about staying healthy and taking rest when needed. No draconian “follow the plan to the microsecond or you failed” stuff. I dig that and find it helpful.

Good luck!


Thanks for your useful and well thought out replies :slight_smile:
I seem to be able to manage a good level of TSS over a few weeks, but have alot of trouble recovering from high intensity.
I’m wondering how to manage the TSS to IF ratio, so I can learn to tolerate more. Should I build up the IF until just before recovery week?
Thanks in advance

I’d be remiss in trying to give you specific advice through a forum. Can you add a bit of detail like:

How long you’ve been using structured training

TR plans completed so far

Which plan you are currently trying to complete

Speaking generally, and not specifically for your case, it takes time for an athlete to develop the tolerance to do several higher intensity efforts per week. If you are relatively new to structured training then even a plan like sweet spot base low volume #1 with three relatively hard workouts each week can be tough. The TSS of that plan is low at 200, but inexperienced riders might not recover with only one day of rest between rides. Particularly if they add other activities in on the off days such as strength training, running, yoga, etc or have stressful lives.

While the sweet spot plans get all the attention, for riders new to structured training I might suggest Traditional Base Low Volume II as a starting point. That plan has a taste of sweet spot intensity with the Tuesday ride, a high tempo / low sweet spot Thursday ride and a longer ride on the weekend. Completing that plan should be doable if FTP was determined correctly. It is only four weeks and will get a new rider adapted to using the TR plans.

If Traditional Low Volume II goes well then I might suggest doing Low Volume III. However, for a new rider I would take out Hesperus and substitute something like Pettit or Baxter. Meaning even for experienced riders spending 150 minutes on an indoor trainer ride is not trivial and 120 TSS at 0.7 IF is not “easy”. For a newer rider they may not recover from that in time for Tuesday’s harder effort.

Take Home is that TLV-II plus TLV-III is 8 weeks of solid structured training. You’ll get used to doing the workouts and will have introduced some intensity. Add in some stretching, yoga or core work on the off days for 30 minutes or so and you have a nice two month program.

If those 8 weeks went well then it’s time to try Sweet Spot Low Volume 1.

All of the sweet spot plans are serious training plans. Calling them “Base” is more of a nod to how well trained bike riders think of base - build - speciality. Folks new to the sport and new to structured training may need a “pre-base” phase of 2-6 months to get sorted, adapt to structured training and find the mental toughness that allows completion of the Sweet Spot plans.

I would have no problem asking a newer rider to do 8 weeks of traditional as above then 8 weeks of SST. That is a solid 4 months of bike training and will add a ton of fitness.

After those four months I would suggest SST II which is another two months. Now we’re at six months of solid structured training and we know how to train and what to expect. It’s either spring / summer and we’re riding outside feeling great and having fun, or the athlete wants more and is ready to try one of the low volume Build plans like Sustained or General.

I hope that helps a bit. Each athlete is different and will have different needs. If I’ve misread this and you are not new (or relatively new) to this type of structured training and are struggling with different issues then accept apologies in advance and I’d suggest connecting with someone who can help you specifically and directly. Many very good coaches are willing to do ad hoc work with athletes to help get them pointed in the right direction. It can be well worth buying an hour or three of a persons time to get that counseling.

Whatever you do, don’t listen too carefully to guys you don’t know who are typing on internet forums!



Thanks for such a thought out and lengthy reply.

I’m not a newbie to structured training, although my history is one of endurance and i started out with 12 and 24 hour solos. These days I like to have more fun!

Taking everything into account, including the nature of my job, I’m going to try every 3rd week as a recovery week. At least for the winter

Cheers all


Super - Check back in down the road!