My recovery weeks generally consists of 2 active recovery rides during the week and one or two endurance rides on the weekends. There are recovery weeks where I do very little (2 rides) to no riding at all. Personally I found that a rest week completely off the bike creates more time for other stuff, more sleep, and brings more physical and mental freshness.
Blend the easy week with the very best recovery method – 7 to 9 hours of quality sleep! Recovery happens when you sleep; the body repairs and rebuild, and grows stronger. So lack of sleep is clearly a risk factor for overtraining.
Pushing yourself without recovery...
Too many hard days with too little recovery, and your fitness will likely plateau or decline if you continue, you will increase the risk of being over-trained – further reduction performance, constant fatigue, weight change, increased thirst, morning heart rate changes, muscle soreness, swollen lymph glands, diarrhoea, injury, infections, decreased training heart rate, lethargy, depression, poor concentration, changes in sleep pattern, irritability, decreased libido, clumsiness, sluggishness and or sugar cravings. The body is also more vulnerable to infections and injury at this time.
Take those rest and recovery weeks...
As we all know training creates stress and gets added to stress of daily life. Aside from the weekly active recovery days and rest days, a full week where training is reduced or even taking a break from training is necessary to allow the body the time it needs to recuperate.
Essentially, a rest and recovery week is an extremely easy week - low volume and low intensity every 2-3 weeks. It mostly zone 1 riding with rest days in between and one or two zone 2 rides.
Active recovery ride - Zone 1: An easy and very slow ride where a training target power is below 55% of FTP and or heart rate is below 68% of lactate threshold heart rate or below 60% of maximum heart rate.
Ride duration: Between 60 and 90 minutes.
Easy endurance ride – Zone 2: An easy, at an “all-day” pace. Your training target power is between 56% and 75% of FTP and heart rate is between 69% and 83% of lactate threshold heart rate or between 60% and 70% of maximum heart rate.
Ride duration: 2 hour or more depending on training level/experience.
Keep it light — no intervals, no climbing repeats, or sprinting sessions.
And sleep longer...
Sleep is essential to everyone, even if you not training hard it is important delicate some more time to sleep and fully recharge your batteries.
Simple strategy to better sleep -
Avoid caffeine after 2pm.
Allocate a specific time early in the day for worrying, scheduling, planning, etc
Avoid eat a heavy meal within three hour before going to bed.
Make a habit of switching off all electronic devices two hours before getting into bed.
Remove all distractions and blue light devices - cellphones, tablets, television, etc.
Get into bed early.
Pick and stick to a consistent bed times and wake up times.
Darken and cool the room to induce tiredness, drowsiness and lower body temperature
Read a book to help you relax.
Monday: Rest Day
Tuesday: Active Recovery Ride in Zone 1 only.
Wednesday: Rest Day
Thursday: Active Recovery Ride in Zone 1 only.
Friday: Rest Day or Active Recovery Ride in Zone 1 only.
Saturday: Endurance Ride in Zone 2 only.
Sunday Rest Day
How much fitness is lost during a week off the bike?
Very little fitness is lost when taking a rest day, or two, or even a week where you do absolutely no training. The losses felt is insignificant when compared to gains that is made – a week of recovery creates adaptation it gives the muscles time to repair and the body becomes stronger, and the risk of over-training, burning out, getting sick and or injury is lowered.
Being over-trained, burnt out, sick and or injured will require a longer duration of recovery and results in a greater loss in fitness.
That is it. Thank you for reading. I hope you found it to be a useful resource. Questions, comments and high fives! Drop them here.