Newer research shows that exercise recovery is almost as important as the actual training you do. How you recover will either add to, or take away from the gains you make from training. Training really only serves to break the body down, while recovery is what the body does to repair and rebuild itself so you can take on the next workout.
Exercise recovery should be a serious endeavor. After all, if you're going to invest the time (and pain) in 4 hour bike rides and long, lonely runs, make sure it's all worth it by paying attention to your recovery!
“Less is more” is where much of the recovery research is heading. Athletes are typically a driven bunch, and time off tends to be a big source of guilt. However, researchers are learning how important exercise recovery is for your body and mind. Taking some time off gives your body an opportunity to heal, and allows you to have better balance in the rest of your life.