PCS Coaching

Work/Recovery Ratio

To optimise your mountain bike training, you need to find the ideal balance between training/work and recovery. While training provides the stimulus, recovery gives us the adaptation and allows our bodies to positively adapt to a higher level of work…also known as supercompensation.

Without sufficient recovery the hard training wears us down and with each passing week we become slightly more fatigued. After 2 or 3 hard weeks of training, the body needs recovery in order to adapt positively and allow our bodies to adjust and ultimately increase our performance.

Training Overload + Recovery = Adaptation

Arguably recovery is the most important part of your training in which the principle of training overload with adequate recovery equates to physical adaptation.  Both parts of the equation must exist for improving performance.

If we are not improving our performance, then what is the point?

The number of training weeks needed before a recovery week depends on several factors. These include how hard the training weeks are, how much you have increased your training from a typical training week and what are our bodies are used to over the long term, lifestyle and genetics. All of these factors determine how well we recover and ultimately help us determine our ideal Work/Recovery Ratio.


When I am scheduling programs for PCS athletes and working out an athlete’s Work/Recovery Ratio, I take the following into careful consideration;

How much time have we got?

If we have only a short amount of time to prepare for an event, then I may use the 3:1 ratio to increase training load over the short term.  If we have a bit more time up our sleeves then I may consider using 2:1 and build up training load over a much longer time which is more sustainable. Think of it like a pyramid, the bigger the base the more stable your performance is going to be. During Corona, since March of this year and with very little racing, the 2:1 ratio has been fantastic at building immense base and fitness for our athletes!

Biological age versus training age

As we age, we have less tolerance for heavy workloads and therefore we consider transitioning from 3:1 to 2:1 when the time is right. If I am working with a Masters athlete who is very fit and has been training for a long time (training age) then I may consider leaving their work ratio at 3:1 but this will depend on their Lifestyle Balance as per below.

Lifestyle Balance

Depending on a person’s lifestyle balance and what is happening right now such as work stress, taking care of a family or if they are lucky enough to be on pro hours and how much recovery gets down during a training week then this will greatly affect whether I choose a 3:1 or a 2:1 ratio.

Supercompensation Reaction and Genetics

Due to genetics some athletes just need more rest whereas others can easily get by with the 3:1 ratio.  Some athletes just do not respond to a typical 3:1 and are constantly fatigued or getting sick. We don’t want this happening and a more gradual build using 2:1 is sometimes necessary.

Female Athletes

Based on the female hormonal cycle it makes sense for these athletes to use 3:1 however as we age this needs to be reviewed very closely and followed up with a custom build with additional recovery.


Ultimately we want to see an increase in our performance, if this is NOT happening then perhaps your Work/Recovery Ratio, among other things need to be reviewed.  I take a look at all aspects of an athlete work/life/training balance and customise where appropriate.

If you would like a detailed review of your training, BOOK IN A CALL WITH ME NOW!  I will take a look at what you’re currently doing and lay out a plan for you to overcome any issues you might be having. This will enable you to hit your performance goals much faster and blow right past them while working SMARTER (not harder) than you are right now!

Want to get fitter, faster and stronger?
book a breakthrough session with me today.

Donna 1
High Performance Mountain Bike Coach

Donna Dall

My speciality is helping serious and recreational mountain bikers break through plateaus to attain higher levels of performance so that they can get fitter, faster, stronger and win more races!

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