Rest "Weeks" -- How long do you take?

What do you guys think.

After you do a good, let’s say, two weeks of hard training–let’s say for exmaple something like a training camp–you really gotta rest in order to get the most of those gains.

And we always talk about “rest weeks,” but a week is kind of arbitrary. How long do you really rest, as a rough guide? three days? Four days? Long enough to feel good plus one day?

Interested in hearing peoples’ autoregulation strategies. I have always been one who tended to not rest long enough so i might err on the side of more time resting, but that said, a week seems like longer than you’d need.

I suspect the common practice of a “week” being standard is just an artifact of conventions of training plan design plus the “cultural” 7-day week, not anything truly physiological.

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I am no expert, and don’t even play one on TV. On my recovery week, the first workout is usually a little harder than prescribed, and the last workout a little longer/harder than prescribed, but neither by too much. There are two very easy (Colloseum -3, Whorl, …) in the middle and I take an extra day off completely. The extra day off isn’t by design, but every recovery week I end up losing motivation to ride easy and find a way to weasel my way out of it.

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I’m generally active on my recover weeks too, but i’m toying with the idea of not using a full week.

Like, there’s the adaptation/compensation curve, right? And eventually it comes back up to baseline where training will be effective again.

TrainingPeaks has “Form” (balancing acute vs. chronic CTL) but that’s really just maths–it doens’t really know what’s going on inside. Trainerroad has its rest weeks, but again, i suspect the “week” is arbitrary.

Maybe things like:

  1. if HRV is back to baseline (assuming you track it),
  2. resting heart rate is back down to “normal”, and
  3. motivation is high

Then it’s time to work again?

I’m trying to decide whether full autoregulation is worth trying, or is it risky enough that just using a full week is the best bet

If you’re feeling good enough to entertain harder workouts, then you probably don’t need a full week of rest. Try it and keep an eye on how well your future workouts go. Everyone is different and you have to experiment a little.

Sometimes I feel good and just take a couple of days easy. Other times I’m trashed and need the full week. Sometimes I feel good but know that there are very hard weeks coming up and that it’s not worth the risk of getting derailed by not fully recovering.

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Yeah it’s entirely subjective to the individual and don’t find training peaks or any assessment beneficial besides listening to my body. First few days after a camp it’s fatigue at work, general lethargy, dont even have energy to foam roll or walk the 1km back from work to home. Later in the week when i add some hour recovery rides i can still feel my systems are not firing and I give it a few more days and get that mental clarity back. Never really coincides with any software form charts etc.

Like the idea of your ‘feel good + 1 day’ analogy. I’m not a pro an an extra day is more than beneficial.

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My take is, if you need a rest week you’re probably training too hard. The magic formula of training is to find the right dose which you can absorb consistently.

I listen to my body, pay attention to my sleep. Check my motivation. Tried HRV for more than a year and found it more ore less useless. How do you know you’re well recoverd? Ultimate test is once you hop on your bike. This feeling of fresh legs, motivation to put in the work.

If I feel consistently worn out (sleep because of work stress is a factor here) I restrict my training to enurance level intensity. Following the saying of my youth coach (best coach ever!): you can always do endurance.

think this is essentially what’s programmed in all of the TR rest weeks

I take a couple of days off and then force myself to do recovery rides the rest of the week.

Mine are typically 5 days, from one weekend to the next. Love my weekend group rides or races, and 5 days is usually plenty enough to get the freshness and appetite back.

I do tend to build in extra recovery during a block though. Been endurance training for >25 years so have a pretty good feel for what my body needs and have learned when to stop a hard session early, replace it with an easy one, or skip it altogether and take the day off.

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I am trying to avoid rest weeks and rather do recovery weeks. I mostly follow what’s prescribed on the plans. Depending on fatigue I dial it up or down a notch.

I also tailor my recovery routine according to my daily life. For instance business trips often cancel recovery weeks out. I hardly move during those trips. All I do is sit in meetings rooms and restaurants. That’s generally plenty rest to get right back to training without going through a dedicated recovery week.

Thanks for the feedback. Sounds like some people just follow what’s programmed, other people do what they want.

i usually have to build in extra rest to my programs anyway so i’m pretty used to doing what i want :slight_smile:

M T Th OFF or SUPER Easy
Wednesday Openers
Friday Openers + 1h endurance


I do a full week just for the consistency of when I start my training blocks, what I do on the rest week depends where I am in my season and progression

Pre-season I do a full week of endurance (5 or 6 rides), and accumulate maybe 60% of the TSS of the prior block as endurance

Mid-season I treat rest weeks like taper weeks and do 3 days - 2 days of intensity but in very small amounts (pick workouts from a specialty plan taper week - 30-45 minutes and hard) and then one day of endurance


I back way down on the rest week. Make sure I hit the weights up, and try to get 60min 4 out of the 7 days.

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What kind of rides do you do on those 5 days? I’m going through a recovery week now and am taking two days off plus two short (90 min) endurance rides (brasstwown). I normally always have long endurance rides on the weekends and, like you, feel like 5 days is enough rest. That way i can still do my long rides on the weekend.

If I’ve done a solid training block with no interruptions, then typically those 5 days would be super easy. I.e. nothing above zone 2, nothing longer than 60 minutes, at least one day completely off the bike. So stuff like Pettit, Taku, easy coffee rides, etc.

I suspect like many others here, it’s fairly common that my training block gets interrupted with planned or unplanned travel, work, family commitments, sickness, etc. In which case I’ll go by feel a bit more as to how much recovery I need. I also try to listen to my body and might adjust the post-recovery group ride accordingly. I’m lucky enough to have a bunch of weekend riding options where I live, so if it still feels like I’m carrying a bit of fatigue after 5 days I’ll opt for something a bit less taxing than my usual group which is more of the “go hard or go home” type!

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A 90 minute easy ride for me, kind of postpones the fatigue down the road a day. I’d call that kind of day more neutral than a recovery ride. 30-45 minutes works better for me.

I’m finding HRV4Training to be really helpful with rest weeks. At the end of a training block I see my HRV is low and staying low. During a rest week I’ll see the HRV rise to it’s highest levels letting me know that the rest week is working.

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I loved HRV4T but found that it required a level of consistency that i wasn’t able to give it. I exercise before work sometimes and having inconsistent wake-up time, for me anyway, really screwed with the results. I’m not the most “chill” or “relaxed” person and I also found it was very sensitive to what I was thinking about in that moment.

This is not any knock against 4T, just the nature of trying to extrapolate from a single one-minute measurement. So, i switched to Whoop because it does it all in my sleep and then continues to measure strain throughout the day.

But I really liked how HRV4T let you plot your HRV trends against your TSS (it had strava and TP integrations) and if they came up with a wearable or some way to do overnight measurements, I would definitely switch back.

All the extra features (e.g., aerobic fitness measures, FTP measures, etc.) were cool but not really that useful unless you are in the habit of saving your warmup, main set and cool down all as separate .fit files. I am definitely not in that habit.

I do HRV4Training pretty consistently first thing after I wake up so it works for me. I can usually tell when I’m really tired or exhausted but it’s nice to get the confirmation. HRV4Training also picks up more subtle things IMO. Like during my last recovering week, I could see the score going higher day after day for a week. It wasn’t like I felt that much better day after day but I could see that my central nervous system fatigue was improving day to day.

CNS vs peripheral fatigue is the other thing I’ve noticed. HRV4T really captures CNS fatigue - aka digging the hole of accumulated fatigue. The peripheral fatigue doesn’t seem to be captured so readily. I can do a hard interval session and wake up with sore legs the next morning but still have a high HRV.

It’s a nice little tool for $10.

I totally agree. It’s a great tool, just doesn’t work quite right for me, for hte reasons described. You get a lot of that from Whoop but it costs so much more. I’m gonna finish out the year with Whoop and see how it goes, but i may very well find myself switching back to HRV4T