We often say that your training is only as effective as your ability to recover from training stimulus, but what does that mean exactly?
In short, training has two parts: Part 1 is completing the prescribed workouts in your plan. Part 2 is allowing your body downtime so that you can recover from the stress you've gone through. It's also important to remember that it is not just cycling stress that factors into your ability to recover, but rather, the stress of your life as a whole. Your home/family stress, work stress, and other physical activity will all affect your ability to recover, and as a result, will limit how much volume you can effectively handle. See our article on choosing a training volume for more information on this subject.
Q: What is the difference between Rest, Recovery and Taper?
Rest and Recovery:
The purpose of both rest and recovery is to allow your body to adapt to your training; if you do not recover, you simply do not get faster.
Rest is when you spend time completely away from the bike. In TrainerRoad training plans, there is at least one day of complete rest per week to allow the body to "soak up" the training stimulus and adequately prepare for the work to come. We rarely recommend a full rest week off of the bike unless it is in the off-season, or following a very stressful event that demands additional recovery.
Recovery is time spent on the bike at a low intensity. Recovery weeks are scheduled every 4-6 weeks depending on your training plan, and typically have the same number of training rides as a typical week, but all at a low intensity. This reduced training load allows for sustainable progress to be made in your training.
A taper differs in that it is designed specifically to restore your freshness for race day. During a taper, the overall volume and time on the bike are reduced, while keeping the intensity high. During this process, your body goes through a set of physiological changes that will enhance your performance on race day. See the video for more details on this process.
What this means is that a taper completed with proper timing (1-2 weeks leading up to your event) will allow you to perform your best on the day it matters the most.
Taper weeks can be found in Weeks 7 and 8 of each of our Specialty training plans.
Q: Do I need to take an additional week to recover between phases?
Recovery weeks are built into every TrainerRoad training plan, so there is no need to take an additional recovery week if you are managing your training load successfully.
Q: How can I optimize my nutrition for recovery?
Q: What can I do to recover effectively during a stage race?
Q: What does it means if I'm experiencing muscle soreness?