Recovery week cycling podcast

Do You Really Need A Recovery Week?

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Topics Covered In This Episode:

  • The benefits of recovery
  • What’s the best way to structure your recovery
  • Physiologically what’s happening during recovery
  • Are there ways to improve and accelerate recovery?

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Episode Transcription:

Please note that this is an automated transcription and may contain errors. Please refer to the episode audio for clarification.

Adam Pulford (00:00:07):

As my coaching practices have evolved throughout my career. One hinge point has stayed the same at least by name and that’s called a recovery week, but I’ve noticed over time that certain things about it have changed could be the duration, say a week could be less than a week, or it could be kind of a longer chunk of time. You could be riding your bike or not riding your bike during this time. So to kind of suss this out and shake it out a little bit more, I brought in two professional coaches to talk more about what is recovery week, how best to do it and things to look at to make sure that you come out of a recovery week or block truly recovered. So let’s first meet them and then we’ll get into the show Reed and Nina, welcome to the train right podcast.

Nina Laughlin (00:00:55):

Thanks for having us.

Reid Beloni (00:00:56):

Yeah, thanks Adam. I appreciate it. Yeah. Excited to be on

Adam Pulford (00:00:58):

<laugh>. Well, re uh, I’ll start with you. Could you tell our listeners a bit more about yourself?

Reid Beloni (00:01:04):

Yeah. Um, so I’m Reid Beloni and I’ve been working for CTS since about 2014. Um, and, uh, same with Nina. Uh, we, we both work, uh, started working for CTS around the same time. And, uh, I come from kind of like an exercise outta science background. I’ve got an undergraduate and master’s degree in exercise science and, uh, have kind of raced the whole gamut. Uh, my dimmer switch has moved between, uh, gravel and mountain bike and road. Although I was looking at my old road race results, and I always think I stopped racing road like last year, but according to the internet, it was a long time ago. <laugh> that I lasted a road race. Um, and so, yeah, I’ve PR primarily kind of been in the, the offroad world maybe for the past five years or something like that. Um, and, uh, I, I I’ve enjoyed it. So, and then the types of people that I work with, I mean, uh, typical CTS athletes, right. So we, we get the, we get the spectrum from, you know, elite level racers to, uh, definitely work with a lot of like gravel Fondo, uh, those types of guys who are, who are looking to get out there and just, and just give it some gas after, uh, a long day at work. Um, so yeah, right

Adam Pulford (00:02:19):

On, I love it right on. And Nina, could you tell our listeners a bit more about yourself? <affirmative>

Nina Laughlin (00:02:25):

Yeah, so, uh, like Reed said, started working at CTS in 2014 and, um, I got into cycling in college, went to app state in bud, North Carolina, and, um, graduated with an exercise science degree, got super into cycling so much so that I started racing professionally pretty soon after I graduated college, uh, did that for a couple years on the road and then, um, transitioned into more coaching and gravel racing. Uh, I think my last road race was in 2019 and that was, I only did one road race that year

Reid Beloni (00:03:07):

<laugh> but it was nationals.

Nina Laughlin (00:03:08):

It was nationals. Yeah.

Speaker 4 (00:03:10):


Nina Laughlin (00:03:11):

Uh, so now I’m actually in graduate school, um, getting my master’s in clinical mental health and a doctorate in sport and performance psychology. So, um, I really enjoy working with athletes on the mental side of sport and, um, yeah, so that’s kind of why I’m going that route now.

Adam Pulford (00:03:31):

Awesome. Awesome. Yeah. And this is the, this is the first episode I’ve ever, um, interviewed a married couple together, first of all, and also, uh, somebody who’s side by side sitting on, uh, the same practically chair, uh, as we go. So, um, it’s fun. It’s fun to have you guys on, um, good friends and yeah.

Reid Beloni (00:03:53):

Adam, is this, uh, is this marriage counseling or are we gonna do talk about, talk about bikes exactly. This,

Adam Pulford (00:03:58):

This secret marriage counseling episode. So we’re gonna, we’re gonna pivot to that cuz all endurance athletes need some of that.

Nina Laughlin (00:04:04):

Yeah. Fried doesn’t get his rest weeks, you know, he’s uh,

Speaker 4 (00:04:07):


Adam Pulford (00:04:10):

Everybody’s a little grumpy if they don’t get their recovery weeks that’s for sure. Um, so let’s talk about recovery weeks. How not to get grumpy and how to save our marriage <laugh> yeah. Um, I always like to, whenever we have a topic, I always like to start with with what it is and we’ll kind of evolve into what it’s not and then start picking in apart and get pretty granular at times. So, um, I don’t know, arbitrarily, you guys can decide who goes first, but tell me from the Nina and Reed coaching duo side of things, what is a recovery week?

Nina Laughlin (00:04:48):

I guess I’ll go first. Uh, for me a recovery week is it can differ depending on the person. Um, but in general I would say a recovery three week is a significant decrease in volume and intensity over the past training block that you’ve been doing, uh, that way you give your body time to rest recover and make those adaptations in order to get stronger. Um, so I’ll typically incorporate, uh, few rest days, a few endurance rides and easy rides. Um, and towards the end of the week, depending on where we’re at in our training and what the athlete’s goals are, I may start to, um, you know, get back to more of a normal training load towards the end of the week. So it may not be a F whole seven days. Um, but it’s typically, you know, a couple rest days and a couple easy days to kind of get the legs back underneath you and start, you know, feeling good again.

Adam Pulford (00:05:55):

Gotcha. Gotcha. So a time period where you reduce training load and it could be, I don’t know, a few days, three or four days, or it could be a full, a full week kind of the way that you do.

Nina Laughlin (00:06:05):

Yeah, yeah. Just depending on, on what the athlete’s been doing and what they’ve got coming up and, and you know, how quickly they recovered mm-hmm <affirmative> because, you know, uh, old or athletes may have longer recovery period, or maybe there’s like a younger athlete. Who’s a new parent who, you know, has, or takes them longer to recover cuz they’re not sleeping as much. So there’s a lot of things to take into account.

Adam Pulford (00:06:29):

Yeah. Yeah. And we’ll get in. And I

Reid Beloni (00:06:31):

Think that for, for our purposes, from like a coaching perspective, mm-hmm, <affirmative> something that’s important about this rest or recovery we week is that it’s intentional, right? Yeah. For sure. You can have a rest week because you crashed your bike and you have to take a week off the bike, but that’s not really a recovery week. That’s a

Adam Pulford (00:06:46):

Healing week

Reid Beloni (00:06:47):

Resting healing week. Right. Or you get sick. Are you taking a recovery week? Well, not really. You’re healing from the sickness that you got. So when we’re talking about a recovery week talking about a, a, an intentional decrease, uh, in volume and intensity for the purpose of recovering and getting stronger for the next thing, rather than healing from some other sort of injury,

Adam Pulford (00:07:09):

That’s a really good point read. And I did not have that on my, on my, uh, list of notes here, but in being intentional with it, I think is, um, that’s a defining fact actor of, of what a recovery week is for sure. So what are some, what are either like some goals or some things that each of you look at when you are say in the middle of a recovery week, or maybe toward the end of recovery week, what are you looking for on, at the athlete to indicate back to you that this is this intentional reduction of training load is actually working

Speaker 5 (00:07:45):

Mm-hmm <affirmative>

Reid Beloni (00:07:49):

Um, well I think that, uh, what we’re sort of looking for is them to feel physically and mentally recuperated, um, you know, the, when you are doing hard workout, right. When you’re going for a long ride, like, you know, you should feel some physical fatigue, right? Whether that is, you know, maybe it’s some acute doms or, you know, muscle soreness, um, you know, maybe it’s feeling hungry after you do a long ride. Um, you know, maybe you’ve got some other, you know, you, your you’re, you know, hopefully your sleep is not getting disturbed by how hard you’re training, but like, you know, maybe you’re sleeping better during this rest week. Maybe you’re, you’re, uh, you’re feeling a little bit less hungry. You are, um, you know, you’re feeling just sort of recuperated in a physical sense. Um, and then like in a mental sense too, we’ll talk about how the rest week is the, this decreased kind of, you know, hopefully your training is not a burden, but it’s a, it’s a task. It’s a, you know, it’s, it’s work, it’s, you know, you’re challenging yourself and during the recovery week, you aren’t, you’re not asking yourself to, to press on to the next level. And so sometimes that is a, a kind of a mental, like, uh, relief. And so we’re looking for them to feel physically and mentally, you know, uh, in a, um, you know, heightened or I’m ready to go sort of state after that rescue. Gotcha.

Adam Pulford (00:09:14):

And is it like you pick up the phone, talk to ’em or are you looking at comments on training peaks? Are you emailing, are you texting? How do you, how do you know, what are you looking at?

Nina Laughlin (00:09:26):

Hmm. Um, I, I tend to talk to my athletes more to see how they’re feeling than looking at like numbers or, and comments and training. Petes are great too, but yeah, texting phone calls, uh, looking at comments, just gauging how they’re feeling. Um, I think that is the best metric to look at, um, is how the athlete actually feels, um, versus, you know, what they’re or training stress balances or anything like that. So, um, yeah, I just try to keep in touch with my athletes and, um, the athletes that I’ve been working with for a long time, um, you know, we kind of find out what works well and what doesn’t for recovery weeks. And so, you know, when I first start working with an athlete, uh, I may try to talk to them a little bit more to see like, okay, like, you know, is this structure that I have for the recovery week? Is this working? Is it not working? Do we need more? Do we need less? And so I think the communication is the big piece to make sure that everything is, um, is working out well. And the athlete is recovering and, and ready to get back to it when the recovery week is over.

Adam Pulford (00:10:43):

Yeah. I would agree with that. Um, I mean, when someone’s training and you’re kind of keeping an eye on things and, you know, keeping an eye on the files, coming in, some training, some comments on training, peaks that going good and all this kind of stuff. I think what I’ve been trying to do a better job of is during recovery week is, is like come in a little bit toward the end and, and be very proactive and check in with them to say, Hey, how you feeling? How are things going? And for me, like comments of either comments on the phone or comments on training peaks, like I’m feeling, I’m feeling good, I’m feeling fresh on I’m feeling antsy. I want to go and I try to catch him before maybe, you know, maybe it takes only three days, but I try to catch ’em on that third or fourth day before they start to go hard or before they want to go hard and maybe sneak in mm-hmm <affirmative> little group ride or something like that. <laugh> um, because I would say almost over recovering is definitely not a bad thing, meaning even getting a little stale, you know? Um, and, and so that, that’s kind of the way I do it is is that proactive communication to make sure, yeah. You’re, you’re really not doing too much there.

Reid Beloni (00:11:53):

Yeah. Mm-hmm, <affirmative>, I think as like a, a, you know, a, a ground rule for a recovery week, and we’ll talk about like, where there are situations when you might want to go shorter, or you might want to go harder than this, but as a, like, as a starting point template, you know, you’re talking about a seven day period <affirmative>, you know, uh, but then what Adam is maybe finding is that if you give someone seven days by Sunday, they’re going and doing the bakery ride without telling you, because they’re like, okay, come on, dude. I’m ready to go. Yeah. Um, and so, and, and

Nina Laughlin (00:12:29):

The bakery ride that Reed is referring to is a really hard race, uh, in our area. It’s not just riding to the coffee shop and eating a bunch of donuts.

Reid Beloni (00:12:37):


Nina Laughlin (00:12:37):


Reid Beloni (00:12:37):

Not coffee shop, right. <laugh> yeah. Um, it’s, it’s Wednesday worlds on a Sunday. It just happens to be called a bakery ride. Um, and, uh, so yeah, you’re gonna start with that template of a week of decreased volume and intensity, you know, and then you, I say, you know, what, based on what I’ve been doing, and I, people tend to do pretty similar training year round. Like there, it’s unlikely that somebody has, you know, only eight hours available to them for six months of the year, and they’ve got 30 hours available to them for the other six months of the year, you know, by and large are, you know, a lot of people who are kind of following that time, crunch, you know, methodology or seasonal fluctuations, you know, you’re looking at kind of a, a similar pattern. And so you might find that, you know, okay, well, I’m generally feeling this, person’s feeling recovered after five days, you know, or this feeling person’s feeling recovered four days. So we can bend that a little bit. But at that template you’re starting with about seven days.

Adam Pulford (00:13:34):

Yeah, no, that’s, that’s a great, um, way to frame it as a template. And I’d say let’s, let’s first go with that template of seven days and, and use that as an example, recovery week. And for you, Nina say your athlete comes off of just a threshold, uh, training block, and they’re a typical master’s rider, maybe training 10 on hours a week plus or minus couple. Um, and they come in, do a recovery week. What does that recovery week look like? What’s Monday through Sunday. Um, just give us an example recovery week.

Nina Laughlin (00:14:07):

Yeah. So, um, Monday’s probably gonna be a day off, um, Tuesday, uh, recovery ride, probably an hour max, um, you know, just super easy on the pedals just to kind of get the blood flow in. Um, Wednesday, it’ll probably be an endurance ride. Um, similar length to their typical weekly rides, um, Thursday, depending on how wrecked they are from the previous training block, uh, probably another endurance ride, or if they’re, if they’re feeling, um, you know, like they’re recovered and fresh, we may put in, um, you know, some sort of group ride or, um, intervals that day, or, um, if they’re really smashed, then maybe it’s another recovery ride and then Friday would probably be a day off. Um, and then Saturday and Sunday are probably back to kind of their normal, typical training, longer rides on the weekends. Um, maybe, um, putting in a group ride or an interval ride, um, to kind of get them started back on track. Yep,

Adam Pulford (00:15:28):

Yep. Yeah. I do some very similar, um, in a in fact I, I would, even as I observe myself too, I would say that that’s like a five day recovery week. If we’re getting back to, I say, back to work on the weekend. Right. And mm-hmm <affirmative>, and I think it’s really important to like bookend, you know, that work week with a couple rest days like that. Um, rather than even giving them some recovery miles on Friday, because if you got two recovery days during a weekday, it, it allows ’em to be just like normal humans for, for those two days too, which I think is super important from like the, the mental side of things too. They don’t have to worry about getting their training in and all that kind of stuff. Um, yeah,

Nina Laughlin (00:16:08):

I mean, are everyone’s busy, everyone’s got lives outside cycling, you know, even, even professional athletes, like, um, so having time to do those things that you don’t, you know, that cycling or, you know, whatever sport typically takes up, um, you know, like cooking or playing with your kids or, you know, whatever it is that you like to do, how having extra time, uh, during a recovery week to do those things can be really restful and just, you know, mentally satisfying. And yeah. So I think that’s really important. Yeah.

Adam Pulford (00:16:44):

Reid, do you do anything and for some of the, oh yeah, go ahead.

Reid Beloni (00:16:47):

Yeah. I was gonna add just some of the note takers is that, you know, in, in Nina’s example, maybe she, you know, the frequency of riding, maybe this person was riding for, you know, six days a week. They would normally do like a recovery ride on Friday. And so she like, you know, cut that out. So maybe the frequency has dropped down by just like a day. They do maybe like one less ride than they would normally do, but it’s not like a complete cessation of, you know, they’re not taking rest days on Tuesday, Wednesday and day. Right. That’s gonna add a lot more to that fidgety fidgety nest that we want to try to avoid later in the recovery week, where they might kind of spoil it by going too hard later. And we all do have lives. We also have routines and habits that we’re trying to maintain.

Reid Beloni (00:17:29):

Right. So sometimes there’s this debate between, do you do a recovery rod or you take a rest at, and that’s, you know, that’s the, you know, kind of the athlete’s choice. Sometimes, sometimes it’s nice to kind of know I’m just gonna get on my bike, you know, every month, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and ride. It’s just the, the intensity and duration of that. But I have my routine that I’ve got my hour set aside from the family to ride the trainer. And so we’ll just keep, keep using that time, but we’re just gonna modulate it quite a bit, you know? Um, so the frequency has maybe do, maybe does or doesn’t change depending on, on their habits and their life likes and dislikes. Yeah. What other thing that I think I’ll go ahead. I

Adam Pulford (00:18:07):

Was just gonna say habits are super important for a happiness standpoint cuz you know, as a coach, I try to, I don’t come in and just give ’em work. Right. I want them to have fun. I want training to be fun. I want the races to be fun, not drudgery. And so recovery week, I think people have the it’s oh I hate recovery week. Yeah. Yeah. It’s like, come on man. Like you’re gonna get faster from it. Why do you hate it? And it’s, it’s also, you get more bandwidth, you have a little bit more lateral to kind of do what you want and, and let your hair hanging down. So I think more people and hopefully, I mean, this is kind of my goal with this podcast or this episode is to have people embrace this recovery week a little bit more from that regard because there’s a lot of good stuff that can come out of it. Um, and, but the habits, like I said, super important, like if you take away their, um, free thinking time or their time to get outta the house or get fresh air, um, all of a sudden that becomes a little, you know, more drudgery or less enticing and that’s where I can see. Yeah, sure. I don’t want that taken away from me either. Like, but if you can keep those habits by just decreasing frequency once. Cool. That’s a really good way to do it. Mm-hmm <affirmative> yeah.

Reid Beloni (00:19:16):

Yep. I think also to some things that can help combat, we haven’t really talked about the benefits yet of this rest week. So we haven’t fully convinced people we

Adam Pulford (00:19:24):

Haven’t yet, but work it in there.

Reid Beloni (00:19:26):

We will convince you eventually that you should take those rest week <laugh>. But to if we haven’t yet some tools that you can use to, to help fight back against that, losing your patients with the rest week, uh, doing, you know, doing those recovery rides can help. Um, I will often give my athletes, um, workouts that, you know, uh, are, but do not have a lot of physiological load to them. So these are workouts that have things like fast pedals or single legged drills, uh, little like light endurance, roller things where there’s like stuff to do, especially if you’re plugged into swift and you’re like used to always having your programmed workout in front of you, that can be really tricky to avoid. Well, he just told me to ride easy for 60 minutes. Let me hop in the C race instead of the B race on swift.

Reid Beloni (00:20:22):

Right. And then you find yourself, you know, it’s a race, you go as hard as you want. And then things kind of, so I like to still give people, you know, stuff sometimes. And I, I, I, I don’t, I wouldn’t wanna call it fluff, you know, but it’s, it’s, it’s purposeful in the extent that it’s keeping them from going too hard because they have something to do, which is these little exercises, you know, mm-hmm <affirmative> um, and I think that can be, that can be useful. That can be helpful for, for some people who get fidgety during

Nina Laughlin (00:20:51):

That. I have a counterpoint to that

Adam Pulford (00:20:53):


Nina Laughlin (00:20:53):

Away. I think it’s important to be able to sit with the discomfort of, you know, maybe being a little fidgety and wanting to go, but you know, needing to rest. And so I think it’s important for athletes to be able to be comfortable with rest and not always have to be doing something. Um, yeah. And, you know, I think that’s, that’s like a mindfulness, uh, component, but, um, yeah, I think, I think being comfortable with rest is sometimes a muscle that athletes need to train, uh, just as much as they need to train or, you know, their climbing muscles or whatever. Um, so yeah, uh, I think it’s important for athletes to, to be comfortable with rest and, and we can talk about ways that they can make that happen later on. But yeah, I just wanted to mention that. Yeah.

Adam Pulford (00:21:48):

Yeah. It’s, that’s really important as well. And I, and I think I was about to say, I err on the side of Nina, but I’m not gonna take sides here during our marriage counseling session. <laugh> um, but what I think as I observe what I do, I probably take the people who need work or think they need work, right. Need intervals. I need to do this. And I’ll, especially during recovery week, I will tell them this is your work. Right. And it’s just like one block of recovery <laugh> right. And that’s it. That’s what, and just ride, however, the other people who maybe, um, maybe ticed by doing the sea race or something like that. Yeah. I’ll give them some, some fast pedals, um, or something like that to kind of keep ’em game aged in, in that regard rather than just going off on their own and choosing, making bad choices. Um, so with more of a, let’s just call it a structured recovery week read as you made a nod to what the heck are fast pedals and give us an example of what a structured recovery week is and maybe one an example workout and why that’s important.

Reid Beloni (00:22:49):

Yeah. So, um, fast pedals are pedaling your bike fast.

Adam Pulford (00:22:54):

Is it, is it hard or is it easy or is it <laugh> just fast?

Reid Beloni (00:22:58):

It’s fairly easy. Yeah. It’s just fast, you know? Um, so, uh, you know, if, if you had a, a quadrant here behind us of, uh, whether you can pedal ease Z low power, slow pedaling, or low power, uh, fast pedaling, and then you have high power, fast pedaling and then, uh, uh, high power, slow pedaling over here. You know, we’re kind of like doing fast pedals on, on, in this region, right? It’s low power, uh, high leg speed type of stuff. Um, your power, our intervals happen over here and your muscle tensions happen over here. Um, so, uh, the way that I, uh, prescribe the, the fast pedals, um, sometimes there’s like a minute on minute off and, and that can work as well. I’ll give like ladders where you just basically progressively increase your cadence from a hundred to 110 to 120. And my note with that is that it is a sort of a technique based, um, uh, thing.

Reid Beloni (00:23:58):

It’s not a power based workout. Uh, it is it’s technique and form. We want to practice good form. So I will tell people to increase their cadence as high as they can comfortably go without their body bouncing up and down. You know, we don’t want their them bouncing up and down on the saddle to maintain that cadence. So they might find that they can get up to 120, but then they start to lose control after they’ve been there for a few minutes and, or a few seconds even. And so then we back down their cadence and you just try to push that envelope of how fast they can go without, without bouncing around. But we’re talking about maybe 50% of threshold or something like that, um, is what we’re looking for in that workout. Exactly.

Adam Pulford (00:24:35):

So if that’s, if that’s a fast pedal workout in, in, just for the context of, of all this we’re talking, probably, you know, it’s gonna be like 45 to maybe 55 TSS for an hour workout or something like that. So it’s a pretty, relatively easy one. Um, so let’s use that as one of your structured workouts during a, a recovery week, where would you slot that in and what goes around it during your recovery week?

Reid Beloni (00:25:02):

Hmm. So there might be, you know, that might be like their, um, replacing one of their workout days, you know, mm-hmm <affirmative> and then they might also have like just a proper recovery, uh, day on maybe Tuesdays, a proper recovery day, Wednesdays, this, you know, sort of fast pedal workout. Um, and then, um, if you needed another sort of exercise activity workout, uh, I like single lugged, uh, pedaling. So I think they’re good. Um, so these are easy to do when you’re on the trainer. Uh, this is simply just UNC clipping one foot and resting it trainers, you know, maybe you can like rest your foot sort of on the, the frame of the trainer sort of out of the way. Uh, and for a lot of people starting with just 30 seconds of one leg, um, and then switching 30 seconds of leg and you do it back and forth, you might start with maybe it’s just a five minute sequence back and forth, and then maybe you can press progress up to 10 minutes.

Reid Beloni (00:25:55):

Maybe you can go from 30 seconds for a while, and then you can progress up to 45 or, or 60 seconds per leg. Um, and again, you’re looking at low power. Um, uh, if you’re endurance power was 200 Watts, then doing 200 Watts with one leg is really like doing 400 Watts with one leg. So you are probably gonna do about half or maybe a little bit more than half of whatever your endurance power would be. Um, so, you know, maybe a hundred to 120 Watts with a single leg, and that’s another good workout you could put like on your Thursday. Gotcha.

Adam Pulford (00:26:28):

Gotcha. And then back to work over the weekend, or do you, um, bring intensity down a little bit there or what’s what do you do on the weekend?

Reid Beloni (00:26:35):

Yeah. So then you take your, maybe your rest day on Friday again. So you have the book ended Monday and Friday rest days. Uh, and then the weekend again is gonna kind of depend. I’m gonna probably start until I know that athlete really well. We’re gonna start with just maybe if a normal weekend is a four and three hour ride or something like that on Saturday and Sunday, maybe we’re doing two, two and a half Saturday and Sunday, right. Just endurance riding. Yep. And then if I find that they’re able to recover earlier in the week, so then maybe Saturday or Sunday, maybe one of those gets a little bit, uh, longer, or maybe we keep their Saturday group ride on the calendar. Uh, but then Sunday becomes just like a, a shorter endurance ride so they can have a, you know, just depends on, that’s a learned thing. Mm-hmm, <affirmative> based on feedback, uh, that we might be able to give them a little bit less, a bit more on the weekend, but maybe it’s still 50% of at the starting point, maybe 50% of what they would normally be doing on the weekend.

Adam Pulford (00:27:33):

Yeah. So again, overall reduction in training load, and that goes for intensity and volume, both and depending on where your long ride is, you’re just, you’re gonna reduce it from there. Um, one little hack I, I love is giving people a rest day on the weekend. To me, it’s, it’s, again goes back to like just being a human being. And I think when you’re trying to, you know, uh, rest and recover during a work week, I mean, it can be pretty stressful at times, just sitting on zoom and, and, and dealing with the kids and doing all this kinda stuff. So, you know, Sunday can be a very proper rest day as well. We don’t have to be going and chasing miles all the time. And I would say, it’s, you know, I have no data to prove this, obviously, but when I, when I have people resting on a, on a Sunday or a Saturday, they, they come out of there like times two with recovery, meaning they just spike more rejuvenated and fresh. So, you know, people don’t think that the weekends are only reserved for training. They’re not.

Reid Beloni (00:28:36):

And, uh, we might transition at some point and talk about like how you time these within your training, but using those rest weeks, if you are gonna take a rest day on a Saturday or Sunday and coordinating that with other family activities can be a really nice thing as well. Um, for your spouse, if you, they, if you’re gonna go do something on the weekend and you don’t have to squeeze in a bike ride on top of that, they might appreciate, you know, I, I do this a lot with my athletes sometimes after like we ask a lot, uh, that we, we as coaches ask a lot of our athletes. Yeah, totally. You know, in their training. And then athletes are asking a lot of their families and their spouses. And so, um, while we’re not talking about a transition period per se, but sometimes just those rest weeks can be an opportunity to kind of repay some of those, you know, know familial debts that we, you know, those, those credits that we take out when we’re, when we’re rotting a lot on the long weekends and stuff, to be able to give that time back to our family.

Reid Beloni (00:29:35):

It’s nice.

Nina Laughlin (00:29:36):

Just ideally try to avoid those debts, being like a shit ton of yard work <laugh> on your best day. Right. Stacking logs all day mowing the lawn <laugh> yep, yep. Yeah,

Adam Pulford (00:29:49):

That happens. It’s, that’s a good point. Um, that’s a good point for sure. We’ll get into a little bit of a segue of what not to do during your recovery week. Um, but Reid had a good, uh, transition into the, like when we prescribe this. So, um, Nina to you first, like when you’re, when you’re prescribing that recovery week, what are some factors that you are thinking about or looking at, or, or planning for when you slap the recovery week in there? Or is it just every three weeks? Eh, is A’s an easy one, do you do it?

Nina Laughlin (00:30:23):

Yeah. Um, so when I typically build out training, um, it’s gonna be a block of X number of weeks, typically about three, three weeks of intervals and then a week of recovery to, um, rest and adapt. Um, but I do try to talk to, um, most of my athletes on a regular basis, um, and make sure, you know, check in with them and see how they’re doing. And so if I need to adjust that initial plan of, you know, three weeks on one week off, or, you know, whatever it was to begin with, um, then I’m gonna listen to the athlete and how they’re feeling. And if they have, you know, if they have one off workout, that’s not usually a huge cause for concern. Uh, especially if they can pinpoint, you know, a reason why that may have happened bad sleep or, you know, stress or whatever.

Nina Laughlin (00:31:24):

Um, but if they start to have like, you know, two or more rides in a row where they’re like, man, I just do not feel good. Um, then we’re like, okay, we gotta pump the brakes and, you know, change the plan. Um, because you know, something happened and, um, you know, we need to give you some rest. So, uh, it’s kind of a mix of, you know, planning what I think would work best and working with the athlete and, um, you know, pivoting, if we need to, to make sure that they’re getting the rest that they need and I’m not overloading them with training. And I always err on the, of more rest, um, versus more training, um, just because it’s so much easier to get back to where you were after some rest than to dig out of, uh, a hole of, you know, overreaching or overtraining

Adam Pulford (00:32:20):

Yeah. I’ve always prescribed to the concept. I’d rather train my athletes 10% less than 2%. Overtrained kind of thing. Mm-hmm <affirmative> and I think that applies there, but one thing you said to me is like, you know, if you see two, you know, busted workouts or two workouts where the athletes failed, that’s when you pump the brakes call ’em up or, and then add in some recovery, would you go right into a recovery week then? Or are you just like a recovery block, say of two to three days? How would you handle that situation?

Nina Laughlin (00:32:52):

Hmm, good question. Um, so I would talk to the athlete and see what’s been going on with them. You know, it may be that they started feeling sick and they just didn’t put anything in the comments. Um, and so in that case then it’s like, okay, well, we’re just going to, you know, have you rest until you start feeling better. Um, if it’s, you know, if something was really stressful going on in their life <affirmative> and they think that, you know, um, that it’s passed and, and they can get back on track then, um, I’m fine with like, okay, you can try again. We’ll, we’ll give you another workout and see how it goes. But if, if this doesn’t go well, then yeah, definitely we’re gonna give you a rest week. Um, or it may be the, the case that, you know, they just, um, you know, training blocks and, um, don’t always, they’re not always a perfect three weeks, you know, with a recovery week afterwards. Um, sometimes, you know, with races and different events happening and different things in their lives and maybe, you know, some different amount of time. And so taking a shorter, like, like you said, two or three day, um, rest may be adequate AF if, you know, um, if they had only been training for like two or two and a half weeks, something like that. So it there’s no concrete answer. You just kind of have to like talk to the athletes, see what’s going on and kind of make a call from there. Um,

Adam Pulford (00:34:28):

Yeah. Yeah. I mean, life’s messy, training’s messy and I’ll be real honest. The stuff that I build on training peaks, I don’t know. It, it doesn’t, it doesn’t, it it’s not all green days. Let’s put it that way. <laugh> yeah. It’s, it’s a nice

Nina Laughlin (00:34:42):

It, nor should it be, it

Reid Beloni (00:34:44):

Shouldn’t be,

Adam Pulford (00:34:44):

It shouldn’t be,

Reid Beloni (00:34:45):


Adam Pulford (00:34:45):

It should not be, I’d be real worried. I’d be like, am I coaching a robot or something? Like if I saw all green and yeah. All the perfect comments and stuff. So that, that being said, um, Nina, if you ne if, if you don’t always go, you know, three and one and life’s messy and all this kind of stuff read to you, do you ever run Trey out like, you know, a month or even two months at a time without giving the infamous recovery week?

Reid Beloni (00:35:14):

Uh, rarely. Um, but one of the sort of nuances maybe with how these recovery weeks work is that, um, we’re trying to adapt to training. So that, that, there’s, there’s a saying that Adam might get to later that keys us into this, but, uh, we’re trying to, we’re trying to adapt from, from hard work. So the harder we work, maybe the more rest that we need, right. So if it’s, if it’s two weeks of power intervals and it’s, and you’re doing three sets of power intervals in a week, you might get two, two weeks in, and then you, you gotta take that recipe, you know, whereas on the flip side, you might be in a time of year in fall where you’re not doing a huge amount of volume or intensity because events are really long way away. The weather’s nice. You’re just riding and you might go, you know, over a month or more of just doing endurance rotting and you know, a little bit of tempo here and there. Um, and you could, you could probably get, I, I don’t know if I’ve gone as far as two months, but, you know, you could probably go six weeks or something like that without having a purposeful, you know, uh, recovery per se.

Adam Pulford (00:36:33):

Yeah. And, and all time in here and say, I mean, I have for sure. Um, I’ll, I’ll run it out, but it’s, it, there’s a lot of caveats there and there’s a lot of, um, mm-hmm, <affirmative>, um, it depends sort of situations I’d say. And, and what I mean here is like trained for two months with no quote, you know, let’s just call it recovery week of five to seven days of recovery. Now, here are the implications of one it’s usually with time rich athletes, meaning professionals, or, you know, uh, dins, double income, uh, double income, no kids, I think is what that stands for. And, um, you know, in people who have a lot of time, but also really good recovery habits, um, really good, healthy habit. Right. And say for like, I don’t know, maybe like a pro tour rider, um, or, you know, as we’re building up for the classics, we’ll build, build, build, build, build, you know, just like ramp that CTL way up there, you know, get a hundred plus, you know, on the 100 to one 30 range, bring ’em down and then we race or somebody, you know, like Cape epic just happened.

Adam Pulford (00:37:39):

So I had a few athletes racing that, and that’s where again, you know, build, build, build, build, you know, monitor a little bit. Um, but I’m, but I also use the recovery blocks and that’s probably where it’s a little bit of a gray area where I might mash in, you know, um, Monday rest, Tuesday, easy Wednesday ride, how you feel that group ride sort of thing. And this is also a little bit in base too, where intensity is fairly low volume high to medium. And depending on how much, you know, CTL you carry over from the year prior, you know, we have, we have some good fitness and good habits in place there. So again, when we’re looking at some of this stuff a little, I mean, it’s, it gets nuanced, but I still go back, you know, to what, you know, Nina was saying with like a three and one four, and one sort of rhythm to life that works pretty good. And it’s, it’s a good safety cuz you, you stay away from the 2% overtrained right. Um, mm-hmm

Reid Beloni (00:38:37):

<affirmative> yeah, I think, um, while we’re talking about some different com populations of this as well, uh, Adam spoke to the rider who has a lot of time and a lot of recovery available to them on the flip side, you know, I might work with an athlete who <affirmative>, uh, is only able to ride inside for 75 minutes at most Monday through Friday. And, um, uh, isn’t able to ride on Sundays. Maybe that’s a family day or something like that. So Saturday is like his day, right? That that’s the, that’s the one day a week where he can get outside and rip it. And I rarely if ever take that away from him, you know? And so that, that person’s recovery week happens during Monday through Friday and it’s a decrease in intensity, but Saturday is like, it’s, it’s all you man. And doesn’t mean that we don’t sometimes just say, Hey, it’s just, let’s just go do endurance today.

Reid Beloni (00:39:32):

Or sometimes it’s, you know, uh, doing a structured workout to get ready for an event or something like that. But there are times then where that block, uh, happens just in a smaller period of time, you know, or maybe in that individual too, like, because they’re because they’re taking Sunday as a rest day, you might be able to do Sunday rest day, Monday, Tuesday, and you might be able to do work on Wednesday again, and that’s still be plenty of rest based on, you know, their, the air previous volume of training. So that’s where you can start to start to bend the rules a little bit and, and either increase the, the time you go between rest periods or, or decrease the rest period length itself.

Adam Pulford (00:40:10):

Yep, yep. Really good points on that really good points. And I think it’s, I think it’s time to talk about that phrase, read that you gave than not too earlier. Um, and, and, but first, like it seems to me, recovery is pretty important to your coaching practice, correct? Scale of one to 10, one being like the least important and 10 being the most important. Where would you rack and stack recovery? Kinda curious, actually don’t know what I’ll get from this.

Nina Laughlin (00:40:36):

It’s pretty up there. It’s yeah, it’s probably, probably like a, at least an eight, maybe a 10

Adam Pulford (00:40:45):

<laugh> 10, not, not a nine <laugh>.

Nina Laughlin (00:40:49):

I don’t know. I don’t like the number nine <laugh>.

Adam Pulford (00:40:52):

Okay. Read, um, don’t choose number nine, but a scale one to 10, where does it rack and stack for you?

Nina Laughlin (00:40:56):


Reid Beloni (00:40:56):

I’m gonna give it more like a seven. Okay. You know, you know, or a five, but, but, uh, not a sex. Yes.

Adam Pulford (00:41:03):

Okay. Good. Very, very,

Reid Beloni (00:41:05):

I, I don’t think it’s that. It’s not that it’s the most important thing. Like clearly, like you have to put in hard work. Right. And, and that has to happen. Um, so we spend a lot more time talking about, you know, how you need to execute this work and how much duration and density you need. And then oftentimes as long as people are, you know, compliant with a arrest week, it’s like, okay, throw it in there. And I probably don’t spend, and maybe I do need to spend more time about recovery methodologies and things like that. And we can talk about some, some little hacks and things, but, um, you know, a lot of times if we, if we focus on the training and it’s good, then people also re like, they look forward to those rest weeks, they respect ’em and then we can get on the next thing. So you can’t skip over it. You can’t not have it, but, um, it’s not, it obviously can’t be more important than the training itself. They, they are, they are in, in, in measure with each other in some

Adam Pulford (00:42:01):

Ways. Yeah. And so like this phrase or this concept, I even talked about it on the podcast before, but it’s the stress plus rest equals adaptation and it’s the general adaptation syndrome. Um, again, that we’ve talked about and, and all, all that means is you won’t get anything that you want without changing something from before you need a stress, then you need to take yourself away from that stress in order to get this thing in endurance training, that thing is a adaptation, right? Some, uh, stronger, faster, more resilient, something like this. Um, and Hans EA was kind of the father of that. And he was, he’s a famous biologist, but without getting into the, the weeds of that, I would say, I, I would agree with, with both of you in terms of trying to rack and stack where recovery is, because in that equation, it’s almost like needs to be stress equals adaptation equals rest or something like that, where it’s like the chemistry equation where it’s get balanced out.

Adam Pulford (00:43:03):

That would almost be a little bit more, um, philosophical that would work out in, in that regard. Needless to say, you won’t, you won’t get anything without the stress. You won’t get anything the rest. Okay. And you could then make the argument that without rest, you won’t form the adaptation. And that’s kind of my point here and read yet hit the nail in the head. We talk, we prescribe training Bibles everywhere coaches are, you know, we’re awesome about prescribing training and talking, training all the crap. So, but we rarely talk about recovery and rest concepts. Right.

Reid Beloni (00:43:37):


Nina Laughlin (00:43:38):

<affirmative> yeah. I think I have, um, his story that could illustrate this point pretty well. I think, um, I had an athlete who, um, who I started working with, who, um, and I’m not working with him anymore. So I can’t, I can’t really remember exactly what he was doing when he came to me. But I do remember that he was like, I think he was following a static plan and it didn’t incorporate any like rest weeks, just like rest days here or there mm-hmm <affirmative>. Um, and I just started incorporating rest weeks into his training. And the training that he was doing was pretty similar to like, you know, the static plan. We didn’t change. I mean, obviously I wasn’t using the static plan, but it wasn’t wildly different from the training that he was doing before. I was just really Inco, like having him incorporate a lot more rest and he just got so much better.

Nina Laughlin (00:44:42):

So, so quickly just by adding rest and, you know, he, he balked at it a lot because, you know, you get used to your routine, you, you know, thinks and things working for you. And you’re like, oh, but if I, you know, if I rest more, I’m gonna just get slow. But no, that’s not the case. You know, if, if you are just constantly like going hard and riding all the time and never resting, you’re not gonna get faster. The rest is so, so important. And so, yeah, I think, you know, the training, the rest should be viewed as equals, like you said, Adam, I think, you know, you can’t have one without the other.

Adam Pulford (00:45:17):

Yeah. Th that’s that’s it. And I’m gonna steal a phrase from Coley Moore. Who’s a coach and he’s been on this podcast before, but he, he calls it the security blanket of fatigue where endurance athletes get that a lot where, you know, if you know, you’re training hard, you’re going good <affirmative> and you’re fatigue, but you can still punch through training. Right. And it’s like, oh yeah, that feels good. Cuz I am doing my training and I’m, I’m still climbing the hill and this is awesome. But if you change it, you add in that recovery, you’ll probably get something more out of the deal. You’ll probably start to go faster and all this kinda stuff. But the insecurities are there, cuz I don’t wanna let off the gas cuz what if it doesn’t work. Right. Mm-hmm <affirmative> yeah. And kind of back to the like stress plus rest equals adaptation.

Adam Pulford (00:46:01):

The extreme example is if you just start riding your bike, you know, across the country take absolutely no rest, no sleep, all the things you’re just gonna get tired. Right. Mm-hmm <affirmative> but if you ride for a day, rest for a day ride for a day, rest for a day. Oh all of a sudden it changes. Right. And those are like super extreme examples of the stress plus rest in adaptation to Nina’s point too. It’s like, oh the train’s not terrible. Let’s just add in some recovery poof away we go. Mm-hmm <affirmative>. And so the reason why I think that people are so scared of it is because it is so <affirmative> right. Mm-hmm <affirmative> I mean, I, I don’t know. And, and like, we don’t want, we want sexy, we want flashy, we want new to improve. And then you say, well, take a rest day or sleep more. And people don’t like that. I mean, do, do you get that too on your end? I mean, do people not like that answer? Yeah. I,

Reid Beloni (00:46:52):

I think so because there’s something as athletes, like you, you, the, the thing that’s shiny is working hard mm-hmm <affirmative> right. And, and, you know, we give kudos on Strava. When a workout looks really hard or a ride looks really hard or people share their epic adventure on Instagram or something like that. Right. And so that stuff, as glamor, as people want that they like it. Maybe it makes ’em feel good. This probably reinforces the security blanket thing, but nobody gives me kudos when I don’t upload a file on Strava because I took a rest day. Right. That, I mean, maybe I could manually enter. I took a rest day guys. <laugh> right. So it’s not very glamorous, but you have to just trust that. And maybe you need to run a little experiment for yourself if you don’t believe in this. Yeah. Run a little experiment. Do I feel better after I take this recovery week? You know? Um, but you don’t get kudos for it. I’m gonna start, coach will give you kudos, but

Adam Pulford (00:47:50):

You won’t exactly. All coaches shoot kudos through the recovery day. I’m gonna start taking like Instagrams of, of like sleep or something like that and be like crushed it today. <laugh> crushed it

Reid Beloni (00:48:00):


Nina Laughlin (00:48:00):

I dunno. I think there was this like long running joke on, I think it was like Twitter. Uh, it was a bunch of runners that were the hashtag was like rust day brags. Yeah. And they would, you know, just try to one up each other on how much they rested, which I think is great. <laugh>

Reid Beloni (00:48:17):

I mean the, the strength and conditioning world, uh, slash dieting world, they love their cheek days. You know, they love, uh, romanticizing, uh, the, the cheat day, which is their sort of recovery day, so to speak. Um, so yeah, maybe we do need glamor eye. Is it in the sport of culture? Oh, diet culture. We don’t want <laugh> but we should. We should, we should, we should, uh, we should glamorize, uh, recovery.

Adam Pulford (00:48:37):

We should for sure. And then some of the other applications behind that is usually people are going pretty good after their cheat day too, because it’s all the carbohydrates have filled the system. Right. And they rested. Totally. Um, so, well, I, I guess to that end, I mean, are there any, is there any, anything that we’re missing here too, in terms of like how people can recover better? Uh, so, so back to these recovery weeks, are you two as coaches? Are you prescribing any like, um, different modalities or gadgets like ice baths or pneumatic compression boots? There are guns, infrared saunas. I mean, what, what hacks do we have out there?

Nina Laughlin (00:49:15):

Mm-hmm <affirmative> I think there’s tons of hacks out there. Um, do I prescribe people go to infrared saunas? No. Um, if, if my athletes have recovery tools at their disposal, like, uh, you know, um, pneumatic compression boots or, um, you know, those massage guns or, um, ice baths, anything like that. Um, I think those can be helpful. And if an athlete enjoys doing things like that, um, and they have those tools then yeah, more power to them. I, they can be really helpful. I mean, myself as an athlete, I have found that ice baths, you know, putting my legs up the wall for a while, stretching yoga, um, you know, the compression boots, those things, I think they do, you know, at least anecdotally I feel better. Uh, when I do stuff like that, when I’m really focused on recovery, I think, um, you know, staying really hydrated, eating really well.

Nina Laughlin (00:50:21):

Um, not skimping on food, just because it’s, you know, a rest day, especially after if you’re taking a rest day after a big weekend of riding, you still need to, you probably didn’t eat enough. Um, if you burned a bunch of calories over the weekend, both days, you probably need to, you know, still keep eating a lot. That’s why you’re so hungry after, um, you know, a big block of riding. So like listening to your body and making sure that you eating enough, drinking enough, using the recovery tools that you have at your disposal. Um, I think all of those things are great. Um, but I think there is a thing, um, to be wary of that you can do too much of those things. Um, <affirmative> for example, those massage guns. I have one of them, I think the first time that I tried to use it, I went way overboard massaging my calf and like the next day I could hardly walk <laugh>. So, um, I haven’t really used it that much since then, because that kind of like, I was like, whoa, people like actually like these, but, um,

Adam Pulford (00:51:28):

It’s muscle damage at that

Nina Laughlin (00:51:30):

Point. Right? Yeah. So I think <laugh>,

Adam Pulford (00:51:32):

I said, it’s, you’re just in, uh, you’re creating muscle damage at that point. Right. That’s

Nina Laughlin (00:51:37):

Exactly right. Yeah. Yeah. The, you can, you can do damage by, you know, pressing too hard on your muscles. Um, so yeah, so I think, you know, use the things that work well, um, that, you know, work well, be, be careful about the things that you haven’t used before. Maybe use ’em, you know, when the stakes are low and you can just try it out, um, and see how it works for you. But, um, yeah, I think, you know, just the basics, focusing on sleep, hydration, nutrition, um, just stretching, things like that. I think those, those general unsexy things can be just as helpful as all the gadgets out there. Yeah.

Reid Beloni (00:52:17):

I think, you know, Nina had some opinions about my sort of busy recovery week where I doing fast pedals and some other little things to keep you off. She

Adam Pulford (00:52:26):

Clearly did read. She clearly did.

Reid Beloni (00:52:27):

Yeah. Yeah. I, she, she burned me on that one. Um, but uh, these, these tools are, they, they might be helpful. Sure. You could maybe overdo them, but they are not a replacement for what you really need, which is just time. Right. You need time to create this adaptation. Um, as well as the rest, it’s the I out of time of rest, we talk about time at intensity is what’s creating adaptation. You, you know, if I do a minute steady state, doesn’t do anything for me. I have to do a certain amount of time of steady state to create a trigger. And so same goes on the recovery standpoint, if you do, you know, does an ice bath take a day off your recovery week? Does norm tech boots take another day off your recovery week? You know, and then all of a sudden I’m in negative recovery and I can just do two workouts a day because I’ve done all these other hacks. It doesn’t work like that. You still have to respect. There’s a, there’s still a minimum amount of time. These little other things just might help that time, you know, be more productive, but you still need that minimum amount of time to create, you know, you need that time of intensity. The intensity is rest.

Adam Pulford (00:53:33):

Yeah. That’s, that’s a really huge, important point, um, with the time. And I’d even add to that the time mean, right. So when we’re talking about like, when you do your squeezy boots or, um, you know, the, the post ride nutrition, right? Making sure that there’s a timing, um, or the recovery window, right. About 45 minutes post ride, where you’re putting in some calories and you are relaxing in, in the, with the one hack I have for people don’t do don’t you don’t need any of those things. Just put in some food, Dick shower, lay down for 20 minutes before you go onto your next thing. Right. Lay down, elevate the legs a little bit, but just lay down. And that’s where compression boots or ice baths or whatever it kind of, it makes us still for a moment. Okay. I’d argue that ice baths add in some stress that we don’t need. Right. But the massage that thera guns, it makes us still okay. To do nothing. And that’s some of that recovery aspect. Right. Um, and then the timing say over time of lower intensity where you’re not demanding your body elicit a, you know, a, a performance, that’s what your Reed’s talking about, which allows the recovery to, to take hold and to get the benefits. Mm-hmm <affirmative> so speaking of benefits, why the heck is this recovery so important? Anyway? What do we get out of the deal Reed?

Reid Beloni (00:54:53):

Yeah, we made, we made you guys listen to this whole thing just to get to what, what is it gonna do for me? Sorry.

Adam Pulford (00:54:58):

We, we need consumption, right? Reed. We need to keep ’em to the last moment. <laugh>

Reid Beloni (00:55:01):

Exactly. Yeah. Well, I, I think that the, the outcome is that the person then feels fresher. They might not notice it instantaneously, but they go out and do their next workouts. They should be more productive in those workouts. You know, they should be able to ride, you know, they should be able to progress from, you know, maybe I was comfortable with 10 minutes of cities to maybe I can take on that, you know, the 12 minute or the 15 minute long study state or something like that. Uh, we’re hoping that they, they have, uh, that they’ve adapted in, in some, you know, some amount mentally, physically, so that they can kind of push to the next level after that. Um, and it might not just be one cycle of this. Right. A lot of times I think one of the stats is that, um, training adaptations happen in like six week cycles or something like that is the, is kind of a minimum amount of time. You might need to, you know, it depends on what, what we’re talking about,

Adam Pulford (00:56:00):

But in general

Reid Beloni (00:56:01):

Or something like that. Yeah. So you might do this, you know, a block of three weeks of training and a rest week, and then another three weeks of blocking a rest week. And then after that second one sort of really start to notice things clicking more than just the first bout of it.

Adam Pulford (00:56:12):

So re you know, we’ve talked about the benefits of a recovery week from how an athlete’s gonna perform after the fact, but what’s going on, like from the physiological side of things or from the science side of things that is giving the athlete, the benefit from the recovery weeks,

Reid Beloni (00:56:31):

Right? So when we’re doing the training week, right, or weeks the blocks leading up to it, and it depends on what types of workouts we’re doing. Um, each block is gonna have its own unique strain that you’re applying, but by and large, you’re creating a lot of stress. You’re creating a lot of strain. And when we take this rest week, we are decreasing that strain. And what that leads to is these adaptations. And some of the adaptations that we’re seeing, um, are an increase in muscle repair, assuming that you’re fueling properly. So we do want to continue to fuel properly during this recovery week. Um, so that might be increased muscle repair decrease in doms. If someone has acute, you know, muscle soreness from hard workouts, they’ve been doing, um, a big one is that we are applying a lot of metabolic strain, more so than muscle strain that like a strength, strength athlete might have.

Reid Beloni (00:57:26):

So a lot of metabolic strain, what that translates to is that, you know, decreased muscle glycogen storage during hard workouts, um, or because they’re, cuz they’re burning their glycogen during workouts. And so we’re gonna see muscle glycogen reform. Um, that’s gonna lead to them feeling like they have maybe an extra cog on, on their bike when they go back to doing hard workouts the following week. Um, there’s a lot of like hormonals, uh, strain that happens from hard workouts. So an increase in, in like hormonal stress, cortisol levels and things like that. Um, so we’re gonna see those things kind of like decrease in, flush out during that, uh, recovery period. Um, and, uh, so if you’re tracking your, uh, training and training peaks, you know, you might see during the hard weeks that your CTL is going up, your TSB, which is training stress balance is decreasing and that is to accumulate fitness. Uh, and then what we’re doing during this recovery week is that we’re trying to shed fatigue in increased freshness. So, um, you would see like your, your training stress balance or your freshness increase during that, during that rest period as well. So, um, yeah, we’re trying to kind of flush out the fatigue and increase the freshness and, and those are some of the physiological adaptations that are happening.

Adam Pulford (00:58:41):

Gotcha. Yeah. So, I mean, it’s, it’s really hitting the reset button all on every aspect of the human being itself. Mm-hmm <affirmative> um, Nina, any, anything else that we forgot that goes on into the, like that scientific benefit of, of the recovery week?

Nina Laughlin (00:58:59):

Yeah, I think, um, it’s important to not overlook like the cognitive of benefits of a recovery week. So, um, you know, you’re not gonna be, uh, you’re not gonna have that stress that like, oh man, I’ve got this really hard workout on my plate and you know, I’ve gotta work, also work my nine to five and I’ve got a deadline. Like you can, you know, take that stress of the training off the table for the recovery week and, um, cognitively that can just really help kind of just overall help with relaxation, reduce cortisol, things like that. So I think that’s important to take into account too.

Adam Pulford (00:59:38):

Yeah. So the bene the benefits of recovery week are, are vast and wide. And, um, you know, from the, you know, the feel side of things of, I’m just feeling better to the scientific, knowing that, Hey, my body is actually repairing and replenishing to now I can leap to the next level of, of training or the next phase of training. I think it’s really important to understand how everything works from your mind and your body standpoint.

Nina Laughlin (01:00:11):

Yeah. And another thing I thought of is that it, it can be a way to help, um, mitigate injury as well. You know, if you, if you feel like you’ve got, you’ve had had like some nagging pain, like I’ve had this nagging, like shoulder pain lately. And, um, I find that if I, you know, if, even if I’m like massaging it, stretching, you know, putting on some like lotion that’ll help, like make it heal faster or whatever. Um, if I’m riding every single day, like it still flares up. But if I have a week where I’m just, you know, chilling, relaxing, recovering, um, and can spend, you know, more time kind of like working out those knots in my shoulder, then, um, I find that, uh, the next time that, you know, I’m in a training block or something like that, it’s it flares up a lot less. So, you know, being, having that time to kind of like really let any like nagging injuries kind of like calm down can be really beneficial too.

Adam Pulford (01:01:15):

Yeah. And I think we’ve all had like that friend that has a big wreck and they like break their ankle or clavicle or something like that in, you know, it’s like three, four weeks off and then they start to back, come back up. And then by the end of the season, when everyone’s blowing out, they’re just riding stronger than ever. I mean,

Nina Laughlin (01:01:33):


Adam Pulford (01:01:34):

And, and when you’re, and so like, we all know those examples and yet we all freak out when we get that injury and we can’t ride for two weeks. Right. But it’s like, if you do it right, that rest is super important. And, and they super adapted throughout that recovery process. Right. So it’s something to,

Nina Laughlin (01:01:53):

Yeah, definitely.

Adam Pulford (01:01:56):

Uh, the last little bit here that I want to cover is maybe a little bit more philosophical of, of sorts, but I do want some clarity on this. So how would you define like a recovery period? Is it just like when we’re not training? So we unclip and we walk into the house and do we automatically start recovering when, when does that start and when does it end?

Nina Laughlin (01:02:24):

I think, yeah, I think it’s not just a week out of, you know, a block of training it’s recovery needs to be something that, you know, an athlete is always focused on, you know, right after they unclip, you know, how soon are you, you’re gonna get your, um, your post ride meal in, or post run meal in and, um, you know, replenish that glycogen and, um, you know, what are you doing off the bike or when you’re not, um, when you’re not running or whatever you’re doing, um, to make sure that, you know, you’re not further taxing your body and to, to help, um, you know, increase that recovery. Um, because even in a block where you’re training really hard, you know, sometimes you’ll have back to back workouts and the difference between not focusing on recovery between one workout and the next and focusing on recovery can make a huge difference in whether you can do those back to back workouts or if you fail. So I think, you know, recovery is always something that needs to be on your mind and always something that you’re paying attention to, because if you’re not, then it’s just, you know, um, you’re gonna implode at some point, <laugh>

Adam Pulford (01:03:50):

Give for sure. And I, for you read, I mean, is it ones and zeros in as simple as that, or is it, do we have to be mindful all the time, like, uh, kind of need to alluded to,

Reid Beloni (01:04:02):

Yeah. I think you be mindful and you’d be like listening to, uh, if the amount of stress that’s coming in versus what’s going out your equation that you kind of referenced. Right. So if there’s, uh, if it’s not just a, you know, if there’s a one coming in one workout, one recovery day, right. Type of thing, maybe just as an example. Right. But then you have the, some sometimes where like the amount of load coming in requires much bigger amounts of recovery coming out of them. And I can think of like some of the extreme examples that happen out there, like some of the, these popular events that people like to go to, uh, Unbound, Cape, epic, Leadville, these hallmark events, these bucket list events that I think a lot of our athletes are working towards. And, you know, those are the, the efforts that people put out during those events are big legendary efforts, right.

Reid Beloni (01:05:01):

Mm-hmm <affirmative> and sometimes like the a will mess you up <laugh>. And so, for example, Unbound, I’ve had people come out of Unbound and they aren’t right on the bike for a month afterwards. So we’re not just talking about a recovery week, you know, from this event, you’re talking about maybe upwards of a month where they’ll, they’ll get on the bike and they’ll feel good one day. And the next day they’ll feel like they, they just, they, they just did a whole nother week, long stage race, and they feel like crap again, you know, and I think there’s a lot of like hormonal dysregulation and things like that out. I’d love to see someone’s like cortisol levels for the, you know, and the, every day after an event like that. Um, and so at a minimum, sometimes at a big event like that, it might take, you know, two, two weeks to recover.

Reid Beloni (01:05:48):

Um, and then sometimes it might take upwards of a month. I think, um, Unbound, I think is unique in how long it is, but there are, are there events that like Unbound, right? Unbound, isn’t the only one, maybe a Leadville isn’t quite as extreme as that. But, um, you know, some of these events might take more than just your typical, um, seven day kind of period to recover from. So the one coming in is a hundred coming in and so you need to match it with a hundred going out recovery wise, um, just to be, and, and that takes a lot of listening to your body and kind of wondering, okay, when am I ready to start to, you know, ramp things back up again?

Adam Pulford (01:06:23):

Yeah. That’s, that’s a super important point. I’m glad you brought it up because, you know, taking the recovery, you know, post Unbound, post Leadville, or post Cape epic, uh, for example, I mean, that’s, that’s nuanced for sure. I, I would agree with you. It messes people up. I think for my rider, like north American rider who gear up for Cape epic, which is typically in March, so it just, it just happened. Um, yeah, they’re not, they’re not right. Meaning motivated and on it and all this kind of stuff for probably good three, four weeks. And I, and I bet there’s some psychology around that too, in terms of like building, building, building all of a sudden that main thing, and this is a, it’s a, that’s an eight day stage race. Right. And so just this huge epic mega effort that goes into it, but also the thing that you’ve been dreaming about for probably a year or maybe longer. Right. And almost a sudden it’s over. Yeah. And then you’re just,

Nina Laughlin (01:07:13):

It’s kind of like an Olympic letdown, you know? Right, right. Um, there’s been a lot of talk about that recently, but

Reid Beloni (01:07:19):

Yeah, you’re left wondering what’s next. And sometimes it takes a really long time to, to rekindle that up again. Um, you know, this, isn’t a, a talk about those events in particular, but I think sometimes it’s important to be aware if you’ve never done that before then to be aware that that come down is gonna happen afterwards. And it’s gonna take a while physically and mentally to recover from those types of events in a way that you probably won’t have anticipated. If you’ve just done your, you know, kind of normal training, getting ready for it. It’s a, it’s a unique

Adam Pulford (01:07:49):

Experience, a hundred percent. I try to get ahead of it. Um, as a coach and just say, Hey, you know, in, you know, a couple, try not to tell ’em like the two weeks leading up into it cuz you just want the emotions and all this kind of stuff. But when they sign up for it and all it’s like, okay, just so you know, you’re gonna do this. You’re gonna be messed up for a long time. Cool. Okay. I got, I got it. And then they get through and they’re like, oh, why am I not Rico? You’re right. Coach. It’s like, okay, good. Yeah, yeah. I suppose set opposite. Yeah. I’m glad you brought that up. That was a really important read. Um, it’s all about recovery then all about recovery. Well, to kind of recap, cuz um, in, in summarize we’re at the top of the hour, um, we, we know we need stress, right?

Adam Pulford (01:08:32):

We can’t move the needle without, without the train and stress going on. We also need rest to form that adaptation. Um, we spent a lot of time, you know, talking about training typically as coaches and as athletes and we’re always reading and learning more about it. However, you know, this conversation I think was fruitful and talking about the, that other part of the equation, the recovery, the rest, the habit that go on and it, and how to change it too, cuz it doesn’t have to be a week. You know, it can be shorter, it can be longer. Sometimes it has to be super long if the event was super epic. So I, I think hopefully, you know, our listeners get a lot out of this. Um, and a turn over to you Nina first and then read, uh, anything else that you wanna recap or kind of let our listeners take away from this, this combo?

Nina Laughlin (01:09:22):

Uh, I think we covered a lot. Um,

Adam Pulford (01:09:27):

We did actually

Nina Laughlin (01:09:28):

I think

Adam Pulford (01:09:28):

Rip through it. Yeah.

Nina Laughlin (01:09:29):

<laugh> I would encourage, um, listeners that struggle with, uh, recovery weeks, uh, feel antsy, things like that. I would encourage them to maybe, uh, challenge themselves to incorporate some sort of habit or something that they’ve been trying to incorporate, but failing. Um, so if they, if they’ve been trying to implement like a stretching, your yoga practice or meditation, something like that, um, spend your time that you’re not training doing something that’s still gonna help you. Um, you know, mentally, physically with recovery and that’s gonna benefit you as an athlete. So, you know, maybe sitting down and meditating or, you know, spending the hour that you were gonna ride or run doing, you know, um, a 10 or 20 minute meditation practice and then some yoga. And I think if you do this often enough, you’ll find that, um, <affirmative> you really enjoy it and you’ll wanna start incorporating it more often. Um, so that would be, I guess my challenge to the listeners, um, especially those that, that struggle with rest weeks because I know so many athletes struggle, um, because they like their routines. They like going hard, they like challenging them. But um, I think if you challenge yourself with, with something else that, um, you know, maybe you’ve wanted to try or um, you know, something like that, that, um, it, it could be could, could turn into you looking forward to recipes.

Adam Pulford (01:11:16):

Yeah. That’s yeah. Great point. I, I like the turnaround on that. Um, Reid, I’m gonna give you kind of final word on it, but one thing I’ll, I’ll pose it more as a question is if we have an athlete that is going on a week’s vacation and they got the green light from the spouse to bring the bike, but they only got about 90 minutes, maybe two hours at most. Should we bring the bike or should we just lay on the beach and hang out for the recovery week? Yeah. Or should we do train through or, or, or not,

Reid Beloni (01:11:48):

You know, uh, I’ve I’ve had a lot of athletes kind of pose this question to, and uh, I think it’s taken me a long time as a coach to learn when I need to speak up for the athlete when they can’t advocate for themselves because they get kind of like, they, they, they just want to go and they want to do more. And I have to, you know, be that, that, that person that, you know, holds them back, right. We’re not always pushing people forward or sometimes we’re holding people back. I would say that there might be a few circumstances where you can go ahead and bring your bike, say for example, your trip happens to be, you know, in the three weeks before you’re really important race. And so maybe then you go ahead and bring the bike and you get your workouts and you make the most of it.

Reid Beloni (01:12:31):

But I think that for the most part, um, if you’re just in a normal build block or you’re, you’re more than a month out from, even if it’s a pretty big event, you know, I think that time on the beach with your feet up is gonna be really well served. And uh, because the alternative is that you go on vacation, you burn the candle at both ends by rotting your bike and trying to, to hang out with your family and do all other stuff. And then, you know, you, so you ride hard during that week. You push yourself to get the most out of those, those weeks. And then a week or two later, a rest week has to pop up on the calendar anyways. Right. We’re talking about every, every three weeks or something like that. So just go ahead and embrace the rest week and, uh, enjoy it.

Reid Beloni (01:13:15):

I think that you, uh, you’ll appreciate, um, the time with your family and, and enjoying the downtime. So, um, it might be, uh, one of these practices in, um, in moderation that Nina was kind of insinuating earlier. Sometimes it, you have to, you have to be okay with the, with, with doing nothing, you know? And so, um, what a worst place to, to have to practice that right, is, uh, is at the beach with your, with your margarita. So good point, good point. Yeah. So I think, I think that there are, you could do it either way, but, but I, I, I would challenge someone to just enjoy, enjoy the time of the beach.

Adam Pulford (01:13:50):

Yeah. Makes me wanna book a trip for a recovery week to the beach, do it All right. You to, uh, well, if our listeners, uh, want, you know, more Reed and more NEA, where, where can they find you, uh, on the socials and whatnot?

Reid Beloni (01:14:07):

Yeah. So, uh, I’m, I’m Reed Bani, uh, on Instagram and, uh, I work for CTS and, uh, so you can, you can find, find my email there, or, uh, look me up on, uh, Instagram or Strava and, uh, give a follow, uh, and you can check out pictures of my dog and me doing stuff and Nina doing stuff. My wife perfect. <laugh> perfect. She can gave up to the dog, unfortunately. <laugh>

Adam Pulford (01:14:31):


Nina Laughlin (01:14:31):

Not in real life, not in real life.

Speaker 6 (01:14:33):

<laugh> fair enough.

Nina Laughlin (01:14:36):

Uh, I’ll forgive you. Yeah. Um, yeah, I, on Instagram, I am Nina the ninja for, and I also have an account called athlete mindspace, which, uh, talks a lot about different, uh, um, issues that athletes experience and, um, has some tips and things like that. So check that out if you’re interested and, um, yeah, I don’t think I have anything else to plug

Adam Pulford (01:15:03):

<laugh>. Well, I, I, I do actually. Um, are you guys, are you two taking on athletes right now? And if somebody heard you here and they, they want to start working with you, are you taking on athletes or how does that, how does that work right now for you guys?

Reid Beloni (01:15:17):

Yeah, I am, uh, I’m taking on athletes right now. Okay. So, um, yeah, people can, can connect with us and be happy to chat, uh, Nina, um, I’ll let her speak for he all.

Nina Laughlin (01:15:27):

Uh, I, I could probably take on one or two athletes right now. Um, yeah, yeah,

Adam Pulford (01:15:34):

Yeah, yeah. You guys both have a full, full schedule, but, um, you guys balance it well and are awesome coaches. So, um, speaking of the busy schedule, I will let you to get back to it, but thank you for taking your time to be, uh, on the train right podcast and talk about recovery stuff with me.

Reid Beloni (01:15:51):

Yeah. Awesome. It was amazing, Adam. We really appreciate it. Thank having us. Thanks, Adam. Yeah. And, uh, we we’ll rejoin you. We’ve got a couples therapy coming up, uh, in, in another hour with you, right? Yeah.

Adam Pulford (01:16:00):

So exactly. We we’ll be go back to zoom for that one. So <laugh>

Reid Beloni (01:16:04):


Adam Pulford (01:16:06):

All right. Thanks you too.

Reid Beloni (01:16:07):

Thanks you. Thanks,

Nina Laughlin (01:16:08):


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