Coachcast Ep 6 Title Card

Determining Recovery Protocols for Training with Coach John Wakefield

BY TrainingPeaks CoachCast Host Dirk Friel

Recovery isn't just about easy days or days off. Explore how John Wakefield optimizes athlete recovery and readiness for performance in Episode 6 of the TrainingPeaks CoachCast with Dirk Friel.

In this episode, we sit down with John Wakefield, the managing director of Science to Sport and performance coach with the Bora-hansgrohe World Tour cycling team. John, from Cape Town, South Africa, shares his insights from years of coaching and an advanced training facility in Girona, Spain. Understand why recovery is the key to progression and how ignoring it can impede an athlete’s performance, no matter their level.

John believes recovery is the critical element in athlete training. He shares details about a routine ‘sub-max test’ he utilizes with his athletes, whether pro or amateur. He can document progression and shape optimal training by using power and heart rate data in concert with subjective feedback from an athlete on wellness factors like sleep, stress, and mood. An athlete with freshness can execute a workout much better and find more adaptations in the future.

Recovery isn’t just about easy days or days off. John breaks down other factors to consider in recovery protocols, like stretching, nutrition, massage, and mindfulness, to fulfill the “Three Rs:” refuel, rebuild and rehydrate. He also takes us inside a team bus to learn some of the cyclists’ critical recovery strategies while competing in a Grand Tour

Standout Quotes

The Importance of Recovery: “For me, recovery is key. If you don’t recover, there’s no progression, essentially, from your stimulus. And I do find that whether it’s a professional or even an amateur athlete, sometimes even more an amateur athlete, because they have a limited time or availability to train, they always remove the recovery side of it.

How to Track Fatigue and Recovery: “As a bulletproof system that we do run is our submaximal fatigue test. Which is obviously power-based or heart rate-based, but it also has a subjective wellness component, which when you correlate the two, it’s a really good way of monitoring athlete’s progression for simply fatigue.”

“Typically if someone is fatigued, their mood is really on the downward spiral. Mood is really important because if you’re not motivated to go and hurt today on the bike, there’s a reason why.”

On the Importance of Recovery

On Nutrition for Workouts: “So, if it’s like a recovery ride, and this is general, as a recovery ride, I like kind of doing 40 grams [of carbs] an hour as a basic nutrition plan. And then obviously, it depends what you can or cannot absorb as, you know, as an [athlete], but on those interval days and on those long rides, you’re looking at sort of anything from 80 to 100 [grams per hour] for a general amateur cyclist.”

The Pressure on Young Pro Cyclists: “These guys can’t even buy something at the shop as an example, but yet you want him to go win the tour at 20 years old.”

John Wakefield Online

Science to Sport
Team Bora-hansgrohe

28-day Training Plan as presented on this TristanTakeVideo

A Coach Using Trainingpeaks On Her Laptop In Her Home Office

Start Your 7-Day Free Trial

TrainingPeaks App

Explore all TrainingPeaks features and more with a free seven-day trial for coaches. Tools built by coaches to make coaching easier.

Coachcast Host Dirk Friel
About TrainingPeaks CoachCast Host Dirk Friel

Dirk Friel is the host of the TrainingPeaks CoachCast and Co-Founder of TrainingPeaks. He is a lifelong athlete with a passion for cycling and ski mountaineering and firmly believes in goal setting, dedicated deliberate training and coaching for all. Learn more about his work at TrainingPeaks and follow his adventures on Instagram @dirkfriel.

Visit TrainingPeaks CoachCast Host Dirk Friel's Coach Profile