As you all know, recovery weeks are important and are, in fact, a part of training. Here’s why:
- They can help prevent overtraining, which can lead to fatigue, injury, and burnout.
- Recovery weeks give the body time to repair and adapt to the stress of training, which can improve performance over the long term.
- They can also help cyclists maintain motivation and enthusiasm for training by breaking up the monotony of regular training cycles.
- Recovery weeks can be customized to individual needs and goals, and may involve reduced volume, intensity, or both.
- Skipping recovery weeks can result in diminished gains and increased risk of injury, illness, or mental exhaustion.
You all have had several recovery weeks by now. But this week, I’d like to focus on one aspect of the recovery week: how to tell if you are actually recovering as expected?
Here are the signs to look for to know:
A decrease in soreness and fatigue
Resting heart rate back to your normal (lowest average)
Increased HRV (heart rate variability)
Feeling mentally fresh and motivated for training at the end of the recovery week
Factors contributing to the above are:
- reduced training load
- good sleep
- proper nutrition and hydration
Please comment below on how you are feeling this week!
I wasn’t sure if this was a post to reflect on or answer then I read again!
I found some magnesium last night and ordered some to take as my legs were so tired during the WO on Thursday. I did errands on my commuter and they felt better but not 100%
I am not mentally refreshed either. I’ve had some college housing issues and I’m stressed about it so I think that is impacting things.
I think my HVR and resting HR are ok. I’m not sure what my brash should look like over time on the Oura.
Am I looking forward to next week? I guess.
I also feel like with this thigh/quad issue I am in a mentally negative mood about my fitness.
TMI so sorry.
Feeling ok. I haven’t had the second workout of recovery week is really hard and sloggy for a long time but I did this week, which, while it didn’t feel good, is a good thing. I expected to feel really good for today’s workout and enjoyed the blue and green zones but all the rest felt really hard. I was not tempted to go beyond the two prescribed hours!
I’m pretty sure most of it is mental. The weather this week has been cold (30s to low 40s), windy, rainy, and sometimes snowy so mentally I am tired, but it has nothing to do with cycling. I need warmth and sunshine and my garden and this long, colder than normal spring is really bringing me down at this point. Tomorrow is going to be dry and in the low 40s and I will be working outside moving a shrub, planting a new tree, and thinning the raspberry patch and giving the canes to neighbors. This will go a long way to help me feel over all more energetic. I do believe there are some sunny days in the 50s ahead so I keep telling myself to hold on, everything will be ok.
I also just came out of a recovery week. On the bike I felt tired and sore all week, even with the “easy” intervals. On the other hand, my sleep has been amazing. My HRV, resting HR and overall readiness is excellent all week and overall energy is good. The muscle soreness is being caused by a change in my strength program- I went from 3 sets of every exercise to 4 sets each, so it’s an increase in volume- and I didn’t lower the weight from the previous 3 set range, so I suspect also an increase in intensity. I know once I get over this hump, the soreness will go down.
Thanks for sharing @Stefanie and @Gossimrr.
@Stefanie you commute to work every morning, right? Do you wear sunglasses? Is the sun already out when you leave to go to work? If yes to both- try using non-tinted glasses or no glasses at all so that you can get sun rays in your retina first thing in the AM. That does wonders to mood and hormonal regulation, even on very cloudy days. And when you do yard work, also spend a bit of time without sunglasses- on a sunny day, you only need 5 or so minutes of naked eye exposure. On cloudy days 15-20 min.
@Gossimrr an injury can suck all the energy and fun out of cycling. It took my husband 3 years to finally find solution to his back problem (even though now he got himself a brand new injury in the leg ). Keep at it… I think one of the most difficult things about injuries is that it sends us down so many rabbit holes and even what seems to me mystical paths of figuring out what could be causing it. All of a sudden, everything seems to be a potential “offender”. It’s not easy!
I have recently made a few changes that have positively impacted my sleep, recovery and HRV:
- I stopped consuming caffeine past 11 AM
- I started meditating every night (10 min) before bed
- I stopped taking CBD
After these changes, my readiness score has been in the 90s every day, and sleep score between 85-90 every day.
The meditation has been helping tremendously with stress and it was after about 3 weeks of meditation that I realized I no longer needed CBD.
Last but not least: feel free to adjust recovery week as needed! Only you know whether you are recovering/feeling better. So if you need to take more days off, shorten rides a little, and skip some of the workouts, don’t be afraid to do so!
@Coach_Theia thank you for the feedback. Yes, I have been t down the rabbit holes and I’m getting impatient and blame myself for letting this go on for so long and not addressing it.
I feel if I can just get the muscle to release it’ll be fine. It’s like the facia is too tight! I have I proved where everyday things don’t elicit pain. And most riding doesn’t, but I can’t kneel down and I can’t do child’s pose for I stance. But standing up and flexing my knee, fine. I was thinking of I quoting about dry needling perhaps.
I’m also experiencing an over active bladder. I can go for a three hour bike ride before I need to relieve myself, but during any other time it’s over active. I went to a (horrible) urologist and he basically gave me meds and told me to do kegels and sent me on my way. So I also wonder if this could be related somehow or even a pelvic floor issue.
I’m supposed to be trying this mindful protocol for the pelvic floor but I can’t seem to find the 20 minutes to meditate and be mindful! I have so much to do I feel or I need to better organize my time. I’m also feeling that it can be stress induced, the bladder issue. I have a bit of it right now.
I did reorganize my WO this week and I proud of myself for doing some rides alone outdoors. The tricky part is finding a restroom that you can fit your bike in. And with the weather getting better, I need to figure out how to include parts of the WOs in my rides.
I do bike commute to work every morning @Coach_Theia but I am out early and until last week the sun hasn’t been over the horizon until I’m pretty much at work. Now it’s just up when I leave for work and still not bright enough to require sunglasses for now
Take a mini break and step outside in the early AM!
@Coach_Theia this is something I try to do every morning- I get out for my walk in the morning most days to get my ‘sunlight’ exposure - up here at 57 degrees north I reckon it takes more than 10 minutes outdoors though to get what I need most days
@Tracyligemagreen your recovery week is the week we all want!! So awesome that you got to spend it in Girona. I hope to ride there some day!
Good on you about the sunlight. I get it every day even if it is snowing. I just go in my back yard and walk around with the dogs when I am pressed for time.
My recovery week turned out to be more of a recovery break. I was called out of town unexpectedly and stayed away most of the week. Usually I would feel anxious about missing out on my workouts but this time was a little different. I just told myself it would be ok and not to worry about it. But I think the break was just what I needed as I couldn’t wait to get back on the bike again this week. My nutrition is still a work in progress but now that I’m tracking my food I’m making a few adjustments so it will be interesting to see how those changes impact my riding.