Recovery is crucial, and easy to get wrong. Living the balance between optimally stressing your body, and then optimally recovering, is just hard to do I think. My issues are usually that I workout too much, and also don't always eat as healthy as I could (I eat a lot of peanuts and I like drinking beer). I know others who have issues like not having the time to workout enough, or not getting enough sleep.
WHY RECOVER IS HARD
1. FEELING EXHAUSTED FEELS GOOD - Most endurance athletes would rather do another workout than take a day off. The reason most people get into the sport is because they like how it feels.
2. BEER IS FUN - By this I just mean that most of us have things we like to eat and drink that aren't the best thing for your body or for recovery. For some people that's cookies, for others that's IPAs.
3. 24 HOURS IN A DAY - I feel lucky that I get a lot of sleep. I know this isn't the case for many people though, and they just don't have the time.
1. RECOVERY PACE - Instead of putting in another interval workout, just ride slow. This pace is SO slow. It's difficult to get accustomed to. It's the equivalent of walking for a running. Basically, you try to push on the pedals the least amount possible. If you have a hard time keeping it slow, just remember that you're burning more fat by riding slow (when you ride fast you burn more glucose), and that's never a bad thing.
2. STOP EATING/DRINK ONE THING - Usually, just cutting out one or two things from your diet will make a huge difference. This could be cutting out that bowl of ice cream at night, or never eating french fries or anything fried.
3. GET SLEEPY EARLIER - I know it's tough for some people to get to bed, but there are things you can do to make it easier, like no caffeine after noon, turn off the TV/internet earlier, read in bed. I actually believe calmly reading in bed give you 50% of the benefits of sleeping. There's no science behind that, but hey, no science behind wearing race number 13 upside either.