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Rest Weeks - 1 in 3 or 1 in 4

BarbarossaBarbarossa Posts: 248
In the past, I have always based training around a 3 weeks on, 1 week off programme. Friel suggests that over 40's - I'm not far off racing in V50 - will get better results with 2 on and 1 off. Has anyone tried this timing? Did you aim to stay at the same long-term average TSS?


  • mamba80mamba80 Posts: 5,086
    Doesn't he suggest though that the "week off" might be less than a week ? so a 16 or 18 day cycle! and that there are no short cuts in base and build for an older rider, so achieving the same overall load.
    fwiw I find a 1 in 4 ish to be perfect and I am over 50.
  • or, you may not need any planned time off at all, with a correctly ramped training load and the fact that life generally throws in curve balls that mean you miss an odd day here or there.
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  • jgsijgsi Posts: 5,026
    Presumably you are making reference to this ... iodization
    Running is not cycling but there is a reference to the way this block training has been amended for cyclists.
    Plausible to me if its success has been truly validated.
    However, I can already hear the "but low intensity rides are so waste of time" attitude that is oft displayed on here.
  • bahzobbahzob Posts: 2,195
    I like Joe Friel and he has helped me. However I think he is just plain wrong about this. If you think you need more rest you will need more rest. If you feel over 40 you will act over 40.

    I have been training on and off for the past 10 years or so. I started just riding as hard and often as I could including a 5 week 5000km solo tour riding the full 2006 TDF route (including all its transfers with detours to take in some of the climbs like Ventoux that it missed).

    I am very happy I did so in ignorance of worries about "overtraining" and recovery. It is not that I believe these are illusory, just that, for the amateur athlete, it is very hard to actually hit the point where they become a real issue. On the tour above I rode longer and harder than I have ever done before or since. I felt like censored some days and could barely climb the stairs to get to bed. But with a good nights rest I was gagging for more the next day. Even if I felt like censored at breakfast the first few turns of the pedals on the bike got me going. I ended up on a completely different level. Before I had never climbed a single col above 500m, at the end I was going in search of ride with as many HC/Cat 1 climbs as possible.

    I have since found out I am not the only one. Pro riders will be shattered after they complete a grand tour. But still they will also be stronger after a couple of days rest than before they started it.

    As a point of reference look at this article.

    This shows the "training stress" that a pro endures. It is normalised against their capability so 100 on this graph should broadly be the same as for you and me. (Just that for them 100 means doing an hour at 350-400W rather than 250-300W.)

    It clearly shows that one significant reason the trains ride better is because they train longer and harder. Not jut in absolute terms but relative to their capability. This is not surprising, its their job. They spend far more time training and competing. Few if any of the people training here will hit the peaks in terms of training load and depths in terms of fatigue this chart shows. They simply don't have the opportunity.

    So my advice would be train as hard and often as you can and ignore recovery weeks altogether. Real life will enforce days and the occasional week off anyway.

    Instead use workout performance as a measure. As you train harder then you should be doing harder workouts. If you stop seeing progression or find a workout that was easy last week impossible this then skip a day.

    But don't skip a day if you just feel a bit rough. As an e.g. I am 55 and training 6 days a week at 120TSS/day (where 100= stress equivalent 60 minutes at 310W) atm. Yesterday was day 6 of 6 and I felt censored at breakfast. Still I forced myself to do a session that included a season best 8 minute effort and a (simulated) 1.5 hour climb of Le Madeline. I felt great at the end and well pleased that I didn't bunk off.
    Martin S. Newbury RC
  • cswitchcswitch Posts: 261
    it may work for you though some would say if you had more structured rest weeks you'd be faster. Obviously I'm not saying you definitely would, only you could find that out and maybe you already have. However for me when I have rest weeks in a hard build period I very much feel the benefits of the previous training and recovery once I start up with the hard training in the subsequent phase.

    I actually think amateurs are quite at risk of overtraining. Additional stress from work, life etc, lack of sleep, enjoying cycling so much they want to ride all the time, insufficient recovery, riding harder than they should and constantly at hardish level etc etc. Many of us have probably been guilty of this at some point. Sure maybe not actually burying themselves but certainly where it impacts performance / improvements and limiting how hard you go when you are being asked to go hard.
  • JayKostaJayKosta Posts: 635
    bahzob wrote:
    Instead use workout performance as a measure. As you train harder then you should be doing harder workouts. If you stop seeing progression or find a workout that was easy last week impossible this then skip a day.

    Yes, using some type of 'quantitative measurement' of performance is very useful to help determine when a plateau or decline is happening. Find a way to 'write-down' some meaningful numbers that reflect your performance for each session. Then you have something to compare/analyze for a multi week/month period.

    Strength and endurance improvements happen during the REST periods between the STRESS periods of training. Finding a good blend of stress and rest is difficult, but a major consideration is avoiding physical injury due to too much stress.

    Jay Kosta
    Endwell NY USA
  • I go with the 1 in 4 but I'm pragmatic about it .. life can through in curve balls so sometimes my 3rd week is screwed and I'll just consider that to be my rest week and start afresh the week after.

    But if I do get a good run of 3 weeks I will drop the work load and relax for the 4th week. Why? .. because I've tried not doing that and my performance suffers .. maybe not on the 4th week but it will on the 5th. Esp. if I'm ramping up the training load each week.

    I ignore (more or less) how I feel when I get up in the morning .. my legs lie to me .. I just know what kind of training load I've been able to do in the past and fit that into the plan\weeks.

    I do sometimes get very tired .. a full body tiredness and not something just confined to my legs. This I take as a sign that I've miss calculated my training load and will back off any work out I had planned because in the past it's invariably gone hand in hand with a performance drop (or at least I treat it as an alarm bell and monitor my performance more critically). Basically I go with the
    bahzob wrote:
    Instead use workout performance as a measure. As you train harder then you should be doing harder workouts. If you stop seeing progression or find a workout that was easy last week impossible this then skip a day.

    I've still got a way to go in learning more about the types of workouts I should do, how I should measure training load and build that up for races but happy with how things are going and using the 1 in 4 guide.
    Sometimes you're the hammer, sometimes you're the nail

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