There is no one way to program these progressions. Here’s what I do:
I typically plan to keep the ME sessions in all weeks (even in de-load weeks) during the ME phase. The way I do this that seems to work for most folks is to cut all the other workouts dramatically especially in the early days of the recovery/de-load week. I make the ME workout “THE” workout for the week and move it to Saturday. This way the athlete has a chance to maximize recovery during the previous 5 days. If he/she is not feeling recovered by Saturday we drop the ME or cut the ME volume significantly. Otherwise the ME on Saturday is the goal of the week. This will focus the athlete’s attention on recovery early on because they want to be ready on Saturday.
As for how to reduce the work in the ME workouts: If you’ve been sick, tired, too busy or for other reasons missed a workout in the ME progression I go back 1-2 weeks and repeat that earlier ME workout. I’ve also cut the ME to a maintenance level by dropping sets or dropping weight on weighted steep hikes by as much as 50%.
You have to play this by ear and be ready to adjust on the fly. That is why we spend so much time and effort here and in our book explaining training theory and how to monitor fatigue. Some folks (mainly those with FT fiber predominance) can crush 2 ME workouts a week no problem. Others (ST fiber types like me) will struggle with one/week.
The recovery rate will also highly depend upon what else you are doing for training. If the bulk of your aerobic training in the winter is ski touring with 1000s of feet of vert a week, you many not recover well from the ME workouts as those ski tours have their own special ME effect.
You can see that there is now ONE way, no simple recipe to guarantee success. I hope that by explaining some of my methods you can see how you might arrange your own schedule.