In part one of my series on recovery, I discussed recovering from an individual workout. This post will discuss recovering from a series of workouts known as a training block.
In a typical periodized training plan, the volume of workouts increases for a period of time (training block) then a recovery period is taken. During a training block, the volume of workouts (hours) and possibly the intensity of the workouts increases each week. Training blocks can last from two to six weeks (or more) depending on the athlete, the coach, and the athlete’s goals. The most common training block is three weeks of consistent training followed by one week of recovery workouts. There is nothing particularly special about the three weeks on/one week recovery schedule-it just happens to fit into a monthly calendar.
The primary goal of post-training block recovery is to unload the fatigue that has built up during the previous weeks of training.
Guidelines for Post-Training Block Recovery
- Decrease the volume of workouts by approximately 50 percent. For example, if the previous highest volume week was 15 hours of training, then the recovery period might consist of eight hours of training
- All workouts (except testing) should be at steady state intensity or lower. Don’t do any tempo, speed work, hill repeats, etc.
- Don’t do any strength training during this recovery period
- Performance testing/benchmarking should be done at the end of this recovery period
- Pay particular attention to getting plenty of sleep. The workout volume is decreased so you should find more time to sleep.
- This is a good time to see your chiropractor/ART doc, physical therapist, and/or massage therapist. Get a tune up!
By the end of the post-training block recovery period you should be feeling refreshed, energized and stronger. And ready to take on the next block of training.