Friday, August 17, 2012

Recovery Week? Not really needed.

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
- Weather
- 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.

Coach Vance


Michelle Simmons said...

Totally agree!

Jim Vance said...

I accidentally deleted a great comment on here left by Justin Trolle...

"I dissage, while you can as you say recover with in a few days from the basic principle of overload this is not the point of a recovery week.
The goal of a recovery week is the adaption to training not the recovery from it. Progressive consistent loading without the use of a recovery week will lead to performance improvements, but these adaptions will be slower because the constant loading will at best delay the adaption to training load rather than allowing it to take place during a recovery week. So long story short yes your 1-2 day easy periods are a recovery and allows for enough of a break to keep adding more load, but your recovery weeks are not "recovery weeks" but adaptation periods required to maximize performance gains. "

Great comment Justin. I think I should detail what the term Recovery Week seems to be meaning to many athletes. To many athletes believe you can't do intensity in that time frame, you can. Certainly, you need to remove fatigue and allow adaptation. I just don't believe it takes a week to do that, especially if you're not over-doing the training and just being consistent.