Rest Week Training

So I find the endurance rides on the rest week before a ftp test pretty much unbearable even if I watch TV. If i go outside I don’t do low enough intensity. Is doing an hour walk an acceptable alternative even if TR thinks you’ve missed a weeks worth of riding?

Ideally, you should spend some time on the bike. What has helped me is focus on other goals I set for myself:

  • When I ride outdoors, I take my daughter in tow (in a trailer) and the trailer prevents me from going fast. Even if I want to go faster, it acts like a giant sail.
  • When I ride outdoors, I ride by heart rate rather than power. I then try to cap my heart rate at, say, 135 bpm or 139 bpm.
  • When I ride indoors, I do cadence drills or focus on smooth pedaling.

Not answering the main question and something you probably don’t want to hear, but I’d learn to enjoy or at least tolerate the low intensity stuff. Adding more of this during your training weeks will take your cycling to another level!


Yes - especially for the older athlete, doing other stuff becomes more important.

I’m not a TR user anymore, but can’t imagine this would impact PLs in any meaningful way.

No harm at all doing this if it helps keep you motivated and rested.

I’m experimenting with switching things up as well - namely downgrading the TSS by a lot, but keeping some intensity in the week. Treating it more like a taper and less like a “recovery” week. It helps me really go easy on most of the days, and also keeps me from feeling too flat/antsy.

Gotta be really careful with this approach though. Better to err on the side of way too easy than a little too hard. And not be afraid to just do nothing if I have any hint that I’m not reloading enough. I’m also quite confident that if I did nothing I wouldn’t lose any fitness - that’s a key thing to accept. It helps to objectively listen to the body and do what is needed.

Thats what I tend to do and my ex coach advised (particularly go for a walk). However, what he wouldn’t advised is my commute at pace. He was all for carrying on commuting at a low intensity and perhaps getting the bus one day a week. But I now WFH and as I’m only in the office one day a week I’m guilty of going too hard on it (its not all out but its too hard :wink:).

Its an alternative, but not ideal especially if this will happen every recovery week. Find a way to ride outside easy. Are you saying your terrain doesn’t allow it or you can’t because you just pedal too hard. If the later is the case then learn this skill. Yes, AT will adjust down if it thinks you missed a week of workouts, but you can easily correct that.

Mainly, it’s good to recover the legs and mind with an easy spin. This is also a skill so if TV isn’t working find something you enjoy more such as a podcast. Also, save things you want to watch or listen to until the recovery week so you’re be looking forward to it. Being off the bike for a week will make that first workout back a bit tougher as well. If you’re actually performing a FTP test (not using the new FTP detection), you’re likely to perform worse.

What about it is unbearable? Boring, too hard, painful?

If it’s all the long fixed wattage intervals TR prescribes (e.g., Pettit) that you find dull - so do I… I often swap them out for e.g., one of the Colosseum variants or shorter Baxters, same endurance PL but the wattage changes more frequently. Helps a lot.

Somehow I find 20 minutes at a steady sweetspot wattage (say 90%) more bearable than 20 minutes at 65% :man_shrugging:

I guess the harder work makes you focus more.

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Going for a walk will not raise your HR in a similar way than riding Z2 on the bike. That said, you will lose some fitness as a result. This might impact your ftp test in a negative way.
You might consider doing some alternate activity that gets your HR up to the same level for a similar duration to keep your aerobic fitness up.

That maybe true, but long term gain is always a balance between recovery and dosing. It’s a pretty hard thing to optimize and always comes down to art more than science. There is nothing particularly special about the TR scheduled recovery weeks, other than one should take regular breaks to absorb fitness. That occurs on a weekly basis, on a monthly basis and tapering for A events.

Could get a basic pair of rollers and do them on those, it’s hard to generate big power on them and they keep you really focused so you don’t fly off into the tv or something. I use my rollers for exactly these sorts of workouts.

I don’t mind it if it’s outside but indoors I get uncomfortable on the bike doing something that easy and it’s so boring!

I get uncomfortable on the indoor trainer doing such low watts with no changed (eg no intervals) and it’s really boring

Good idea but after 13 knee surgeries and only having an 85 degree bend no way I’d try rollers!

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I don’t know what sort of walking you do but I can easily get my heart rate up to z2 or 3 cycling heart rate!

If you simply want to follow a TR plan this won’t help, but I always feel better after doing a rest week with less volume and some intervals. More like a taper.

You are considering walking as an alternative, which isn’t following the TR plan, so maybe consider making your own recovery week?

For me a week of walking is ok, but it takes 2 or 3 rides (for me) after a week off to “come back” (I have elevated HR for a few rides). So I’d rather do some riding.

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I’m trying this exact thing. Good to hear someone who’s input I value is doing something similar!

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Boring basic endurance rides are part of nailing the fundamentals, but they aren’t fun! Standard rest week of less volume and some intervals is in other (non-TR) off-the-shelf plans, its really a thing.

TR plans before AT really piled on the intervals, and a week of boring was probably best, but post AT the TR plans seem to have less intervals (unless you are doing a lot of high PLs). So use your judgement!


Ditto. I’ve done this for years. I really hated TR’s rest week.

I look at cutting volume to about 50-75% of normal and less intensity volume by 50% at least.

I think the only program (that I’ve done) that throws endless Z2 is TR. Nothing else I’ve done does that.

Keep the systems firing. Brief intervals. Z1/Z2 but throw in some muscle activation on some other days.