If you are under the age of 30 you can get away with up to 4 weeks of training before recovery is needed. If you are under 40 you get 3 weeks and over 40 you get 2.
These are recommendations of course but its a great format to plan for recovery.
There are two forms of recovery: passive and active. Passive recovery means no physical activity. The old adage lean instead of stand and sit instead of lean. In other words its time to be a slacker. Active recovery does mean that you can ride your bike however I prefer to do auxiliary training such as core, flexibility and balance work. I will also go for walks and hikes.
I was listening to an interview today with Bobby Julich who retired from Pro Cycling last year. He was asked “Are you still riding your bike?” He basically answered ” yes I am riding but I am not training any longer.” He then went on to talk about how he didn’t miss the constant monitoring of heart rate, power output or executing intervals.
The physical stress of training is what I think about the most when considering recovery but working with my coach this season I have come to an even larger realization. The mental stress of trying to monitor fitness, executing form, and managing pain all take a huge toll on the ol’ gray matter.
So the next recovery week you have clean and tune the bike. Then get outside and play.