Recovery weeks and 2:1 vs 3:1

  • Creator
  • #71103

    I realize this might be too broad and nebulous to pin down but curious on other’s thoughts on how one should feel during a recovery week. Should you

    1) still be chomping at the bit but hold back that week on purpose
    2) feel like you’re pretty fatigued and thank goodness this is a recovery week

    I’m asking as I’m in the middle of a recovery week and am feeling more like #2. I’ll see how I feel after a few more days but trying to decide if I should repeat my last cycle or maybe switch to a 2:1 base:recovery schedule vs. my current 3:1 base:recovery schedule.

  • Participant
    josswinn on #71130

    How old are you? Training Peaks recommends 2:1 if you’re over 40. Or maybe you’re doing too much during your base weeks? I tend to feel somewhere between your 1) and 2). I could keep on training at the usual level, but feel like it would do me no good – old niggles start to reappear, too.

    Jane Mackay on #71148

    What I’ve learnt from my own experience and from three rounds in the Female Uphill Athlete group (all of 2021) is that your 2) and Joss’s niggles are a sign to pull back. I am in my early fifties and I found that I did better on a 2:1 build:recovery schedule. My biggest learning — and continued relearning — is that more recovery = greater strength, stamina, endurance and energy over the long term. The metabolic changes that are taking place in your body as a result of the training do not disappear in a few days or even weeks or months, as I have found in the course of rehabbing an injury since February. You can lose strength more quickly, but the base gains will stick around for a long time.

    As Neil McLean-Martin says at the end of the Chamonix Mountain Fit Videos: “Recovery is when the body adapts and improves. We’ve just given it the stimulus to know what to do.”

    Jane Mackay on #71149

    Another thing to consider is fuelling. If your exertion level and frequency have gone up with this training but your nutrition has remained unchanged, you might need to up the carbs and protein, esp. carbs. TP ran two articles about that this month.

    Dada on #71153

    Yes, fueling could be a problem. Do you do a lot of fasted workouts?

    And sure your AeT is where you think it is? Are you doing too much ME or Z3/4 workouts?

    How do you progress?


    aaholmes on #71165

    Thanks for the replies.

    I’m 48, not new to training but need to get back to a consistent plan for skimo, hike, bike. AeT is about 133 bpm based on drift. Need to retest as my first test had a 2.8% drift (vs. the 3.5-5% target UA suggests). Morning workouts are fasted if <1h, otherwise I bring food. Haven’t started the ME workouts.

    Think I will try a 2:1 base:recovery weekly schedule.

    Dada on #71167

    May I ask what your weekly training volume is? I would give it a try to do all your workouts fueled. You can try that relatively easy for two weeks and if you don’t feel a difference you can still reintroduce the fasted training.

    Another thing, as you age your muscle strength and volume decreases the most. Maybe you should incorporate a weekly max strength session.


    Eddie on #71183

    > how one should feel during a recovery week.

    This is probably something only you can answer by experimenting. The goal here is recovery and to come out motivated and ready for the next build cycle. Modulation is a key principle in training.

    Participant on #71195

    This is an interesting discussion about recovery particularly with regard to how fueling can impact it.
    Dada, do you think fasted training can be replicated by taking in mostly fat calories (e.g. nut butters, low carb granola, low carb bread) prior to the session so that one still gets the low carb effect but doesn’t have the downsides of no calories for recovery?

    Dada on #71209

    In general, fasted training is only feasible for athletes w/ lower training volumes. For athletes with higher volumes, fasted training could impair volume, intensity and even health (RED-S, overtraining, stress fractures).

    In my opinion you can yield the effect with that kinda diet. But the problem with low recovery is not due to low energy availability but low carb availability. But I’d rather recommend this article:

    Participant on #71214

    Thank you Dada. Very informative article!

    aaholmes on #71394

    Original poster here. Definitely appreciate all the conversation. Revisiting my training log I’ve come to realize I need to pay more attention to:

    1) staying in correct zones. I was often in Z2 all the time instead of doing some Z1 and Rec as well
    2) pay attention to fasted workouts – realize I need to be more cautious with these and just introduce them slowly over the next 3 months. I was inadvertently doing all but the longest workouts fasted. I now make comments in my workout log to note this.
    3) ramped up volume too quickly to ~10h/week when I should have been around 7-8 at that point.
    4) may try 2:1 recovery as well but will monitor the above points and perhaps I can stay with 3:1.

    Jane Mackay on #71422

    Those are all important observations. Let us know how it goes after a few weeks.

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