We all need recovery, especially when training hard. A common approach is to install a "recovery week" in the training plan. Many do a 3 weeks hard or building intensity/volume, followed by 1 week recovery. Some do a 2:1, or even a 1:1.
But is that really what you need? And how do you define a recovery week? Sitting on your butt? How much recovery do you need? The answer is: it's complicated. It depends on a number of factors, not limited to:
- Amount of fatigue athlete is facing
- History of athlete's response to training
- Stress outside of training
Most of my athletes never take a "recovery week". We do recovery "days", but never a week. Too much good work can be lost if given too much recovery. And if you need an entire week to recover, you likely are training too hard during the week.
I find if an athlete can't have great performances in training after 2 light days of training, 3 at most, then the load the athlete is under is too much.
If you're looking for a jump in performance, perhaps you simply need to reevaluate the recovery you're giving yourself, or the intensity and volume of the training you're doing.