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I am really happy to hear that I am not the only one out there advocating for the less is more approach to training. I used to be a very highly trained and competitive soccer player but burned out in college after I had done several years of non-stop training and playing. If I was not doing something for 3 to 4 hours per day than I felt like I was cheating myself out of improvement. I wish I would have had a coach or a mentor at the time tell me to back it off and add some structured rest periods into my routine. I believe that I peaked much earlier in the sport than I should have because of the overtraining.

Now that I am a competitive cyclist racing with a team in the NW I have taken my past experience and applied it to my training. Alot of guys on my team and other teams wonder why I skip races or use races for training miles when I could or should be in the moves but I tell them I am in this thing to make it last not to get the glory today to find myself burnt out and depressed about what I love to do tomorrow. Age has a way of wising us up.

For me the only way I describe my training philosophy is to make the easy days easy and the hard days hard. Of course listening to your body is critical but even on days when I feel 'good' if its supposed to be an easy day than that is what it is, this often means I ride solo or do a local group ride where I know the pace will be in my recovery zones, although this often means I am riding with guys twice my age and on loaded up randonneur bikes :) Keep preaching the rest as it is the key to success.

Pao Casty

Hi Joe! Do you recommend recovery drinks to the athletes you coach? like after every workout, they drink something like ultragen or any other off-the-shelf liquids for recovery? thanks in advance!

Joe Friel

Pao--Yes, I do. I will write a blog about this soon. For greater detail you can read my co-authored book, The Paleo Diet for Athletes. It's available in paper or as an ebook at iTunes.


Any general tweaks to the recovery week design when it precedes a Peak and Taper sequence for an "A" race?


Joe Friel


Adam Wilkins

I have found (at least personally) that complete time off the bike not only helps my body, but it also helps my mentally recharge. I find that I need a good break after a few weeks of training when I start to feel really tired, lethargic, and have mood changes. I usually take 2-3 days off and spin easy during the week. Friday, I will do a 10 min FTP and a couple 1.5 min VO2 to re-open the pipes for Saturday's FTP test. Then, Sunday is completely off. Monday starts my normal training regimen again for a few weeks.

Fady Megally

Thank you very much for this blog. I had a question about recovery weeks. Mine is usually 3 days off the bike, 1 day with 1h zone 1 ride and another day of speed/handling skills.

I take a recovery week every 3 or 4 weeks.

I'm using training peaks and my weekly TSS total is around 800, 900 at most.

The only problem that I have noticed that I feel more fatigued right after the recovery week more than right before it. I get muscle burning sensations at a power level lower than usual. And usually the first 3 or 4 rides feel harder than usual with legs feeling too heavy.

After a few days into the new cycle, things go back to normal, the fatigue starts to fade away. I also start to see improvements in threshold power or TT.

I'm not sure if this is normal. Am I taking more recovery time than needed ? or maybe less than needed ?

Joe Friel

Fady Megally--I'd suggest reducing your recovery "week" to 3-5 days based on how you feel and what your experience with this discovers. Good luck!

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