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Old 12-23-13, 08:05 AM   #1
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Do you lose much fitness with layoff?

I had a persistant cough for about 4 weeks, so I took about ten winter days off to see if that would help. It did some. I was just curious how much fitness you lose, if you have to go slow getting back.
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Old 12-23-13, 08:08 AM   #2
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Typically, it takes me as long to get back, as I took off........... but, I'm old! lol
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Old 12-23-13, 08:21 AM   #3
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We were just talking about the topic on Saturday's ride. Consensus was 1 week not too bad and actually helped muscle revival, but 2 weeks had some noticeable impact.
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Old 12-23-13, 08:41 AM   #4
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I think that you start to lose something just about immediately, not a whole lot but noticeable after 10 days. I feel like I've lost a good bit of fitness just going easier this winter and it will take me a couple of weeks of hard work to reverse it.

For me - you may be different - breathing hard from threshold effort, or prolonged effort close to it, in the cold weather causes mucous buildup and irritation in my esophagus, with a persistent cough. Maybe a touch of exercise induced asthma. But going easier it doesn't seem to happen.
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Old 12-23-13, 09:29 AM   #5
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I think it depends on why you haven't ridden. I think there are differences in recovery time when taking time off for simply rest versus sickness or injury. If I'm taking a week off just to rest it doesn't take as long to recover. However if I've been sick or injured it can be 2-3 weeks of recovery for every week I've been off the bike. That's assuming when I return riding it's back to somewhat of a normal schedule of 150-200 miles a week.
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Old 12-23-13, 09:37 AM   #6
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You're better off taking a few days to get well, than to stay sick because you are worried about losing fitness. You're fitness won't drop off significantly because of a week off. It might take a day or two to get back in stride, but overall your performance won't be compromised. Being ill for weeks because you won't take a couple of days off will cost you a lot more.
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Old 12-23-13, 10:44 AM   #7
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Thanks for the answers they were helpful and I am old too lol 60
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Old 12-23-13, 11:21 AM   #8
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Thanksgiving weekend I rode to the top of Mount Diablo, and did it well - I would consider that to be almost at my most fit. The next weekend I did a 5k run for which I hadn't trained at all. The weather was also brutally cold (for the bay area at least) I had severe leg soreness for a few days afterwards, and did absolutely no excercise for a week. At the end of the week I came down with a bad cold that I am still fighting. One weekend ago I went on a group ride and got 7 miles in before I gave up and turned around. I had absolutely no energy or leg strength. This weekend I went 35 miles, and fought the whole way to stay up with the group. It seems like it takes a season to gain strength and a week off to lose it all!
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Old 12-23-13, 11:34 AM   #9
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Yup. A week of taper tends to peak your strength. After that, in my experience, conditioning drops off very fast.
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Old 12-23-13, 11:48 AM   #10
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Due to a clueless pedestrian, a pole and an anchored trash can, I ended up taking October off with a broken rib, punctured lung and broken collar bone. Before the accident I could ride all day without getting winded. I have made a couple of rides since then and find myself huffing and puffing after about an hour. Winter has now set in so iI will not be able get back into shape until March (unless I buy a gym membership).

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Old 12-23-13, 06:12 PM   #11
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Do to a clueless pedestrian, a pole and a anchored trash can, I ended up taking October off with a broken rib, punctured lung and broken collar bone. Before the accident I could ride all day without getting winded. I have made a couple of rides since then and find myself huffing and puffing after about an hour. Winter has now set in so iI will not be able get back into shape until March (unless I buy a gym membership).
Sorry about that accident, maybe you could dress warm and ride 3 or four times a week. I know winter riding is not for everyone, but I love it. Been doing it the last 4or 5 years and I live in Michigan.
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Old 12-23-13, 10:10 PM   #12
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Much easier to lose than to regain. But then, we ride because we enjoy it

I take 3mos off from the bike (Oct-Dec) for deer hunting. By time I figure out which bike will be on the trainer, all leg fitness seems to have vacated. That first half-hr ride is humiliating but when that first early March ride comes around, I'm grateful to have gone to the depths of boredom.
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Old 12-23-13, 10:13 PM   #13
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Sorry about that accident, maybe you could dress warm and ride 3 or four times a week. I know winter riding is not for everyone, but I love it. Been doing it the last 4or 5 years and I live in Michigan.
I'm in Boyne Country....just cant get myself out there when it's 5deg and snowing 6-10" every couple of days. Good onya, man. Do be careful.
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Old 12-23-13, 11:21 PM   #14
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I shattered my collar bone this summer. 2+months off with a plate put in to hold the bone shards together. It was a pretty bad situation, crashing 6 hours from the hospital over dirt roads. I'm 62 and the recovery wasn't easy but I got on a trainer during the last two weeks a few times. I got my truck out of the garage on the first day back on my bike because I wasn't sure I'd make it back if we (wife and I) went more than a mile or two. We did 32mi that first day at roughly the same pace we normally ride (16-17). I'm no racer to be sure but I really lost very little fitness. I would expect a serious racer to have a noticeable loss simply because they would notice the loss to a much more precise degree but in my case I lost very little fitness.
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Old 12-24-13, 12:47 AM   #15
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I touched wheels, went over the bars, and put several cracks in my pelvis and sit bones 2 years ago. Took months before I could sit on a saddle for any length of time. When I returned, I noticed a big loss in fitness; I also noticed it took longer to regain that fitness over time. Also, I had to be more planful about recovery time. The hardest to regain was climbing. Being old really demands consistency and paying attention to your workouts.

I concluded that the older you get, the faster you lose fitness (aerobic, muscle mass, recovery, etc.) and the more disciplined you have to be to get it back. But, if you're reasonable in your expectations, it's doable. I'm 66 y.o.
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Old 12-24-13, 03:40 AM   #16
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A rule of thumb I read somewhere on Bike Forums is that the half-life of the training effect is about ten days, i.e. half the beneficial effect is lost in the first ten days layoff, then another half of the remaining effect in another ten days and so forth. I can't cite a reference, but it seem reasonable to me, and the thought of such a rapid loss keeps me cycling as often as possible.

BTW, I had a five month layoff due to a cycling accident in June 2012, and as I thought about resuming cycling, I anticipated at best riding a trainer until spring. But by around October I did my first ride, and resumed my 14 mile one way commute all winter, By this past summer I was back up to 60-80 mile rides on the weekend. My own simple metric of fitness is resting heart rate, and whereas it had been about 48 bpm, with the best at 42, I got back to about 52 this past summer. A big limitation though was less riding due to a heavier work load at my job.
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Old 12-24-13, 08:13 AM   #17
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I've read that for the top pros it take them 4 times as long as they were off to get back to where they were.

For me. climbing ability drops off very quickly, even if I have been riding. I was sick all last week and have only been on the bike 1 hour in 9 days. The next ride, hopefully tomorrow, is going to be a challenge.
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Old 12-24-13, 04:19 PM   #18
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Oy, this is all depressing to read. The last time I was on a bike was a Turkey Burner mtb ride the day after Thanksgiving - only 12 miles, at a slow pace, crawling up hills, because the last ride before that was right after Halloween.
Christmas is the busy time of year for my business and I thought I was reasonably well prepared for the season and would be able to sneak a ride in a couple of times a week, but I was not well enough prepared.
I plan on planning better next year because I hate feeling pudgy. Getting back into shape is not something I'm looking forward to, but I am looking forward to riding again!
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Old 12-27-13, 09:24 PM   #19
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We were just talking about the topic on Saturday's ride. Consensus was 1 week not too bad and actually helped muscle revival, but 2 weeks had some noticeable impact.
+1

I was off my bike for 2 weeks mostly due to work and weather. When I finally had the opportunity to take a long ride, I didn't have any real difficulty finishing the ride but I was slower than usual and the final 1/4 of the distance was more difficult than usual.
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Old 12-28-13, 06:02 PM   #20
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The Fox may want to weigh in on this, but at 66 I've noticed that while aerobic capacity may wane with layoff, when it comes to weight training a week or two off can actually be beneficial. I have come back stronger from occasional layoffs. I think an older body appreciates more recovery time, and all those tiny tears in muscles, tendons, and ligaments have time to heal. As for riding, I may have lost some lung capacity after a layoff, but the knees feel better!
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Old 12-29-13, 05:14 PM   #21
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You'll certainly lose a lot when you lay off for a decade I can tell you that. You'll pretty much be starting over from scratch if you quit for that long. I believe my recovery time has been lengthened by either age, the decade layoff or both.....hard to pin down which since I'm still trying to build back up a base with some limited riding time.
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Old 01-02-14, 09:50 AM   #22
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between a cold and travelling, I was off the bike (and no running either) for 3 weeks. I know I lost fitness, but it is hard to say how much. I estimate I was about 90% over the cold when I rode with the group on Tues and Thurs the week of Dec 13, so it was hard to say how much fitness I lost. As of Dec 30th I felt like I had regained the level I had before.
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Old 01-04-14, 10:29 PM   #23
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Car wreck had me totally off the bike two months. Started riding in August, then job change had me off the bike in November and December.

Question: Do you lose much fitness with layoff?
Answer: Yes. Dammit.
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