Recovery weeks for Youth riders

Do you believe Youth riders need as much time to recover as senior or master category riders? I coach two 15 year olds and the biggest challenge is to get them to respect their recovery weeks. I use Polar Flow to track their training and recovery status but inevitably they will put in a harder ride than planned and neglect the impact on their bodies, most of the time without detriment to their health or future training. We use TR in group rides twice a week and produce rides in the region of 90 to 120 TSS just completing the short power MV plan before moving onto cyclo cross specialty plan. The riders are in the top 10 nationally, one in MTB, one in road. They can handle weeks of 600 to 800 TSS individually and recover well for the next week. Rest days are Monday and Friday.

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I’m not a coach but I’d say they aren’t as necessary for youths as they are masters. Masters have all the additional stress of work, family, life, etc. not to say that you get kids don’t have stress from school, friends, and other things but I don’t think it impacts recovery as much as older people. And with 2 days off the bike each week I’d say they should be reasonably refreshed.

Shit, in high school I swam 9 times per week with only one day off per week and I don’t ever remember getting a recovery week until taper for big meets and the week or so after.

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I’m 20, so probably not directly comparable to a 15 year old but possibly closer than most people on here. Usually mantain about 800-1000TSS/week, with 650ish being from cycling.

A couple of things that I’ve found are that I don’t seem to experience as much cumulative fatigue as my older peers who are doing a similar plan set out by the same coach. I’ll have a few hard days and just feel wrecked, but I seem to bounce back really quickly given an easier day.
Also this may be an individual thing, but I’ve noticed that big volume days knock me around more than really hard sessions- this seems like the opposite to most of the older athletes I know, maybe due to me not having the years of base workouts behind me. Likewise I don’t have too much issue backing up hard sessions and maintaining workout quality.

One thing that is difficult about being a younger athlete (and these are all big generalizations) is that most of us don’t know how much ‘life stress’ i’m going to walk into in a given week- I don’t know what my schoolwork will look like, how hard I will find it and how long it will take. I work part time with a flexible schedule. I don’t know what’s going to happen socially because things are rarely planned in advance, and sometimes we’re just not as emotionally equipped to deal with problems as they arise. Older adults are often a little more predictable in terms of what their week looks like and how they approach training. One thing that has worked for me is being a little more flexible with my recovery time- I’ll schedule a few rest days around social events or difficult projects so I can be a regular college student, so to speak, and I don’t have as much temptation to go out and smash myself. :joy:

I do agree that a full week is probably too long though. My coach often schedules testing in the second half of the recovery week- I guess it has some benefit in that I actually rest up because I want to perform well in those :wink:


@toribath97, thanks for your insights. As you are a few years older, your life stress is higher than my guys who’s itinerary is fairly constant at the moment. I like the idea of testing in the second half of a recovery week to elicit rest in the days preceding the test.
As regards your fatigue from the longer rides, one of my guys loves the long rides and adapts well, the other I have to manage his days following a long ride as sometimes he doesn’t recover as well or gets ill. Both perform well on the hiit interval sessions and as we do them as a group, I can get instant feedback how well they are going. We have an informal competition to get the most TSS from a workout that keeps the group keen to do their best, or have a good excuse in not, usually blaming tiredness from the previous ride.

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