Calculating Recovery Times
Testing your recovery time by timing the rest intervals between tough max efforts is valuable for planning effective zone training, improving performance, preventing injuries, and monitoring progress. It optimises training, reduces injury risks, and ensures long-term development.
To calculate your recovery times from your test session, enter your average recovery intervals (Strava provides the data easily in the workout overview) and click calculate.
How Do I Use These Results For My Athletes?
As a coach, when working with athletes, I use the results from the recovery time test to inform my training decisions. I examine the effort levels during the intervals to identify any unusual spikes or patterns. This analysis helps me gauge the athlete’s performance, fatigue levels, and recovery capacity.
Based on the test results, I may make adjustments to their upcoming training sessions. The goal is to ensure that the athlete has sufficient time to recover and avoid overexertion and to make sure they are having the correct amount of rest for the zone we are training in that session. If the recovery time is too short during a training session they may not hit the right zone and it can compromise their training.
If however, the test indicates that the athlete shows signs of readiness for more challenging training, I may decrease the recovery periods. This approach helps push their limits and stimulate further progress.
It’s worth mentioning that not all training sessions will be altered based on the test results. Some sessions may align perfectly with the athlete’s recovery capacity and for the zone being targeted. In such cases, I would maintain the original training plan without any modifications.
By using the results of the recovery time test and adjusting training sessions accordingly, I aim to strike a balance between providing adequate rest and challenging the athletes appropriately. This approach helps optimise your performance, train in the correct zone with adequate recovery, and minimise the risk of overtraining or burnout.
What Do My Results Mean?
For beginners, it is generally recommended to allow twice the recovery time compared to the duration of the effort. This extended recovery time is necessary because beginners may not have developed the same level of conditioning and physical adaptation as more experienced athletes. By providing ample recovery time, beginners can allow their bodies to adapt and minimize the risk of overexertion or injury.
As individuals progress to an intermediate level, they can typically manage with equal effort to recovery ratios. This means that the recovery time can match the duration of the effort. Intermediate athletes have built a solid foundation of fitness and can recover adequately within the same timeframe as the effort itself. This balanced approach helps maintain performance while still allowing for sufficient recovery.
Advanced athletes, on the other hand, often require shorter recovery periods. In some cases, they may even aim for half the recovery time compared to the effort undertaken. Advanced athletes have developed a high level of fitness, efficiency, and recovery capacity, enabling them to tolerate more intense efforts and bounce back quickly. This shorter recovery time allows them to challenge their limits and continually push for improvement.
These are not always set in stone though. Factors such as age, training volume, intensity, and overall health should also be considered when determining appropriate recovery times. Listening to your body and adjusting recovery accordingly is crucial for optimising performance and minimising the risk of overtraining.
How To Test?
To test your zones I look at 20 minute tough efforts in each discipline to calculate your threshold power, pace and heart rate. It takes some practice and the more you do it the easier it becomes to gauge effort.
I recommend retesting regularly, typically every 4-8 weeks depending on the athlete and their goals. This is a great way to monitor improvements and update your zones so your training progresses along with your updated fitness.
I have a training week available to purchase on Training Peaks for $4.95 using the link below, this will link to your sports watch and Zwift so you can test yourself easily at home.