Rest Week with Light / Moderate Intensity

I have a rest week coming up and and am thinking about doing some light / moderate intensity instead of just Z2. I feel great (as in I could go another week without resting) and have no specific event I’m training for (so I can experiment without concern). I also usually feel “flat” after a recovery week of just Z2.

I’m think about doing 1/3 - 1/2 the volume of a normal build week, filling in the rest of the time with Z2. So, for example, I did 22.5 minutes of VO2 on Tuesday. For the upcoming Tuesday I’d find a similar workout as last week but do 7-11 total minutes. Same for the two threshold workouts and sweet spot. I’d of course reduce this further if I felt like I needed the rest or wasn’t shedding fatigue to be ready for the next build block. Kind of like a taper instead of a recovery week.

For those that have done this sort of thing, what have been your experiences? Anything to try or avoid? TIA!

Feeling great or feeling GREAT?

If the latter, I’d be tempted to just do an extra loading week based on last week’s workouts, letting Adaptive Training progress them appropriately.

Ride the wave.

YOLO :grin:

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Four sessions of intensity isn’t a rest week however you phrase it. Personally I always treat a rest / recovery week as one. After all, workouts without the recovery periods doesn’t give the body time to adapt and get stronger. There are plenty of tales of those who skipped recovery weeks and it went great for a while until it didn’t and they entered the overtraining hole.

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If I’m feeling decent I’ll pick some short segments on strava and try to get a PR. That’s usually on Saturday but the rest of the week I take it easy.
My new thing is take 2 days completely off Monday and Tuesday, recovery ride Wednesday, a longer endurance ride Thursday. Friday a rest day and Saturday try and PR something keeping the ride under 90 minutes and finish Sunday with a 2-3 hour zone 2 ride. So far it works.


I’d suggest adding sprints in to the rest week instead of regular intervals. Do some 10-20 second sprints later in the week during your endurance/recovery rides. Nice way to keep yourself engaged, add some intensity, and reduce the ‘stale’ feeling the following week.

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I’m so much happier doing two days of intervals during rest week. Different training philosophy vs TR plans, now my training plan is built around volume and consistency by using actual minimum doses of high quality work. Sure it was a leap of faith at first, and I absolutely could do more high quality work, but now in retrospect I’d say that would come at the expense of “leaving room” for adaptations. Loading weeks are 8-11 hours, and adaptation weeks around 5-7 hours. Never feel flat.

Sounds like a bad idea, because you are doing more of a taper rather than a rest week.

The purpose of a taper is to maximize your fitness for a particular event just after the taper. The purpose of a rest week is to allow your body to regenerate itself, to repair the muscle damage you have inflicted over the last 3 weeks or so. If you add intensity, you will add more damage and not give your body the time it needs to heal. Importantly, it is this renewal process that makes you stronger, because your body will regrow/replace your damaged muscle cells, etc. with ones that are more adapted to the demands you place on your body.

You adding intensity disrupts this process. Hence, IMHO it is a bad idea.

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I agree with both @Foodpedaling and @OreoCookie

As soon as I read you plan, it sounded exactly like a taper going into an event. Keep the intensity but cut the volume.

Another thing to keep in mind is that a rest “week” doesn’t necessarily have to be exactly 7 days. This is a common practice, but I typically do 5 days of rest, similar to what @Foodpedaling mentioned. I take it very easy the first couple of days. Usually do a gym day and some Z2 cruising as the over the next three days. By the following weekend, I’m usually ready to get back at it and get back to doing my longer outdoor rides.

Feeling sluggish after a rest week is really common. You might want to look at doing some Openers late in the rest week to get your system going again without being too taxing.


I can confirm that.
Plus, bad habits might creep in like going to bed later or so. But that’s normal.

That’s a good point, and something you have to experiment with yourself.
But on more than one occasion did I go on a brisk team ride on the weekend during/after a rest week. Having fun is an important element in any sport, so having a day out with your mates where you trash it can be productive in the end.

But you gotta give your body several days of rest and reduce the intensity to endurance (lower endurance in fact). Again, this is the period where you get stronger, and “doing more” is likely to result in less in the long run, less adaptations, less progress, less power.


Wanted to revisit this… any update on how it went?

I know people call this a taper but one of the most successful HS cross country program does this exact think (though three weeks build and one week reduced volume and intensity). During the back off week they seduce the volume about 20% and replace a header workout with tempo and some strides. Then back at it. They aren’t “tapering” for a race and don’t know how but they peak for the state championship better than anyone I’ve seen. They do have a defined season and take a few weeks off following the season.

Anyways, saw this post and wondering how it worked out for you.

I ended up doing a couple of longer / more intense days in the weeks prior to recovery week so took the first two days easy (just endurance). Then got sick for a day and opted for endurance rides the rest of the week. Subsequent recovery weeks coincided with vacation and business trips so I did endurance when I could get on the bike at all.

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