How long should I wait before doing another hard workout?

Don’t miss out on the latest CyclingTips updates.

Jump To Comments

Every week, Alison Powers and her fellow ALP Cycles coaches — Jennifer Sharp and Patricia Schwager —share their experience, stories and advice with Ella readers in a ‘Weekly Wisdom’ training tips column. Additionally, Alison is happy to respond to your training, riding or racing questions. 

Got a question for Alison and her team? Simply post your question in the comments below or send it to us on Twitter or Instagram using the hashtags #weeklywisdom or #askalp.

– Anne-Marije Rook

We received this questions on Twitter:

“I heard you should wait till your legs feel springy before doing another hard workout. I can wait a whole week and still not feel good, but my coach says to ignore it. Am I missing something? #askalp”

Good question! The most important aspect to riding and racing success is hard training. The second most important aspect to riding and racing success is recovery because you can’t ride hard unless you are rested and ready to do so.  But, how do you know when you are rested and ready to ride hard?

First, we must define what riding hard or doing a hard workout means. People have different opinions, but for us at ALP Cycles Coaching, a hard workout is one with intervals at Lactate Threshold and/or above, or endurance  training rides with a Training Stress Score (TSS) of 200 or more.

There are a couple of ways to know when your body is ready for a hard workout.

  1. The ‘sensations’. How are your energy levels? Are you motivated to ride hard? When you lay in bed, do you feel tired? Does riding feel like a struggle? What is your resting heart rate? There are signs and symptoms your body gives you, and if you are good at listening to your body, then you know when you are ready to ride hard again or perhaps need another recovery day. However, most people are not good at listening to their bodies.
  1. Thus, another way to know if you are recovered and ready to ride hard again is the data. If you use TrainingPeaks or WKO, you can look at your training load and your training stress balance (TSB). If your TSB is below -15, there is a good chance you need some rest and recovery before riding hard again. Secondly, if you are doing a VO2 workout and are not hitting the numbers, then shut it down, stop the workout and head home. You’re tired. If you are hitting the numbers and finishing the workout, then all signs show that you are rested and ready to ride hard.

Rest is more important than many people give it credit for. A recovery ride one or two times a week is crucial.  In general, recovery rides promote blood flow which helps decrease inflammation, remove waste products, and loosen stiff, sore muscles.

For a recovery ride to be productive it has to be an easy, mellow, short ride.  If you ride any harder than “recovery pace” (zone 1 >55% of LT) you are putting a training stress on your body instead of recovering.

So, to answer the question above, if you go an entire week and not feel good then I’m guessing that you are not resting hard enough. You’re stuck in the middle of half-ass resting and half-ass training. Rest up!



Your questions for Alison or any of the other ALP Cyles coaches don’t need to be limited to the topic at hand. Ask them anything! Post your question in the comments below or send it to us on Twitter or Instagram using the hashtags #weeklywisdom or #askalp.

ALP Cycles Coaching alpcycleslogo - edited is a Boulder-based coaching company with three female coaches at the helm: Alison Powers, Jennifer Sharp and Patricia Schwager.

Each coach brings her own coaching strengths and personal experiences. Roading racing, track, endurance mountain biking, time trialling, making the leap to living and racing in Europe – they’ve got you covered. Find out more about Alison Powers and her Alp Cycles coaching company at here.

Editors' Picks