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Old 01-10-13, 07:03 PM   #1
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How long to get my speed back?

Due to not having health insurance and some other reasons, I was off the bike for a good 3~4 months. Has anyone been off their bike for this long? If so, how long did it take you to get back up to speed?
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Old 01-10-13, 07:13 PM   #2
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I was off the bike with a broken foot for a similar amount of time, and finally got back on the track last weekend.

After I was finally back on the bike I went up north for some work, and brought a bike with me. The only real ride I could do (due to location) was a 30 miler out and back with a couple thousand feet of climbing. When I got back to civilization, I was hitting the highest averages I've ever had on my daily loop.

That being said, climbing worked as great conditioning (for me), and got pretty much all of the lost muscle mass back fairly rapidly.
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Old 01-10-13, 07:23 PM   #3
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Some get it back quicker than others.
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Old 01-10-13, 10:17 PM   #4
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Now you are into the mental part of training.

1) What can you do about things that happened in the past? Nothing. So don't get upset about it.

2) De-training starts after 2 weeks of inactivity. Just take it easy and get on a regular, progressive program. Don't forget to rest. Don't over-do it.

3) The track racing season doesn't start for a few months and it lasts a loooong time (5-6 months in warmer climates like yours).

4) Most trackies aren't "fast" this time of year anyway.

5) Some people take 6 months off from racing. It's a hobby. We aren't getting paid to do this, so year-round training is sorta illogical as it sounds. A friend of a friend once remarked, "Wow, I heard that you train A LOT. How much money do you get if you win?"

6) Don't sweat it. You'll be back up to speed before you know it. Just refer to #2 above.
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Old 01-10-13, 10:55 PM   #5
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Thanks everyone!
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Old 01-11-13, 12:01 AM   #6
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I was off for 25 years and been back for about 8 months. The cycling fitness is returning way faster than I thought and it's clear that the years I spent racing are contributing to the comeback. I would argue that in your situation, big picture, there's no significant setback at all. Suggestion: (and I'm reminding myself of this) focus on the larger "journey" of being an athlete rather than short term successes or setbacks. The guys I've known who could do that were more well adjusted in general. Best wishes bro.
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Old 01-11-13, 12:14 AM   #7
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Oh, and I didn't answer your question exactly. Your legs will come back in a couple months and if you were training really hard before the layoff, there's a good chance you needed a break anyway.
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Old 01-11-13, 01:06 AM   #8
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Thanks!

I see you're in Northern CA too, maybe see you at the track this season?
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Old 01-11-13, 10:19 AM   #9
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Most athletes of all abilities who coach train themselves, often overtrain, the break may have been beneficial unless it was an injury.
I believe strength is lost in 1/3 of the time it took to build up, and endurance/cardio is half that (according to research, and various text books I've been studying -student-). So the fitness will still be there, you'll probably surprise yourself with how much fitness you've kept.
Good luck, you may want to lower the intensity and taper it back up to what you were up to, if you don't feel as strong.
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Old 01-15-13, 12:31 PM   #10
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A good guide in terms of escalation of training is an addition of 10% per week. So if you train for an hour in your first week back, that makes 1 hour 6 minutes in your second week. It might seem tediously slow, but the benefit is allowing your body to keep in sync with re adapting to the training you are doing. Any faster and you are looking at injuries, illnesses etc. Speaking from experience here.

Also, some systems 'lose fitness' quicker than others. e.g. cardio fitness dissapears a lot quicker than muscle strength/ power.

good luck on the come-back, and happy cycling :-)
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Old 01-16-13, 09:48 AM   #11
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this thread is making me happy. I had back surgery last week and wont be on the bike for another 4 weeks, and that will be just gentle riding (6 weeks to be free to ride hard). I had similar concerns as the OP. Seems as though i'll be just fine
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Old 01-26-13, 11:51 PM   #12
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As an update:

I'm on the tail end of week 3, and I did a timed F200M today. Half a second slower than last year. So yea, I've lost some speed, but it seems to be coming back pretty quickly.
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Old 01-27-13, 03:35 AM   #13
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Quote:
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As an update:

I'm on the tail end of week 3, and I did a timed F200M today. Half a second slower than last year. So yea, I've lost some speed, but it seems to be coming back pretty quickly.
Dude, after training all winter, my F200Ms in April are 1/2" slower than normal. So, don't sweat it.
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Old 01-27-13, 10:25 AM   #14
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Quote:
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As an update:

I'm on the tail end of week 3, and I did a timed F200M today. Half a second slower than last year. So yea, I've lost some speed, but it seems to be coming back pretty quickly.
hah i was out there too! good job. flying 200 has a lot to do with technique as well also our track has a lot of wind on the back side.

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Dude, after training all winter, my F200Ms in April are 1/2" slower than normal. So, don't sweat it.
because winter fat hah jk
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Old 01-27-13, 10:32 AM   #15
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hah i was out there too! good job. flying 200 has a lot to do with technique as well also our track has a lot of wind on the back side.
My goal this year is to break into 12.xx haha. I was super close last year, but stopped training. Hopefully I'll see you out there again! I won't be out there Saturday for a beginner session, but I will be out there for pursuit training day on Sunday. You should check it out!

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Dude, after training all winter, my F200Ms in April are 1/2" slower than normal. So, don't sweat it.
Schwat?? How does that happen?
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Old 01-27-13, 11:31 AM   #16
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because winter fat hah jk
Hahaha!

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Schwat?? How does that happen?
It just takes the body a while to get the muscle timing right. Pre-season and early-season times are usually awful for everyone. So, don't put much stock into the numbers right now. Just focus on doing progressive work. You'll be fast when you need to be.
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Old 01-27-13, 01:37 PM   #17
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Not only that, but weather is a major factor. If you're only 1/2 second down from your best last season in January, you're probably ahead of where you were. Cold=slow.
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Old 01-27-13, 09:46 PM   #18
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My goal this year is to break into 12.xx haha. I was super close last year, but stopped training. Hopefully I'll see you out there again! I won't be out there Saturday for a beginner session, but I will be out there for pursuit training day on Sunday. You should check it out!
under 13 at hellyer is very fast! good luck with your training. i'm not much of a TT. I'm probably going to try and do the early bird crit training. if not i'll check out that hellyer thing. make sure to bring your running shoes i think they do some plyo work.
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Old 01-27-13, 11:57 PM   #19
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It just takes the body a while to get the muscle timing right. Pre-season and early-season times are usually awful for everyone. So, don't put much stock into the numbers right now. Just focus on doing progressive work. You'll be fast when you need to be.
Sweet, will do!
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Not only that, but weather is a major factor. If you're only 1/2 second down from your best last season in January, you're probably ahead of where you were. Cold=slow.
I've noticed that I'm SUPER slow on cold morning training rides. What's the science behind it?
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under 13 at hellyer is very fast! good luck with your training. i'm not much of a TT. I'm probably going to try and do the early bird crit training. if not i'll check out that hellyer thing. make sure to bring your running shoes i think they do some plyo work.
Have fun with that! I know a bunch of friends that have been doing it. One of them I swear is going to be Cat 4 before the season really starts hahaha.

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Old 01-28-13, 12:04 AM   #20
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"Back in the day" I took a couple of months off every year. I can recall doing a January cyclocross ride with a buddy of mine who was great climber. I challenged him to a sprint and he kicked my ass - me the six day rider and him the 140 pound mountain goat. He held that over my head for years.

But after a couple of months of training he couldn't get anywhere near me in sprints or any other "flat land" effort.

Short version: It's awfully hard work to improve from your best. But getting back to your best after a layoff isn't too difficult at all: You know what to do. Do it.
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Old 01-28-13, 04:49 AM   #21
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I've noticed that I'm SUPER slow on cold morning training rides. What's the science behind it?


in brief, and very superficially explained, your body is a chemical machine, and it runs optimally at ~37 degrees C. if its very cold outside, your muscles will be a lot cooler than 37 deg, while your body makes sure your organs and brain keep at the required toasty temperature (by diverting blood flow away from muscles and into these areas). So until you've been pushing hte pedals for long enough to generate enough extra heat (as a byproduct of the chemical reactions driving your cells, make your muscle cells work harder, they'll generate more heat - thats why we shiver, too), your muscles will be too cool for all the little chemical reactions inside them to work properly, and you'll feel like your legs have concrete in them. once you warm up enough, your body also will send more blood to your muscles. If its very cold, your body might not get to the point of sending enough blood to your muscles, either. (if its extreme enough, and for long enough, a person gets frostbite from the lack of blood flow. but i doubt its that cold if you are out training!)
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Old 01-28-13, 08:53 PM   #22
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I've noticed that I'm SUPER slow on cold morning training rides. What's the science behind it?


in brief, and very superficially explained, your body is a chemical machine, and it runs optimally at ~37 degrees C. if its very cold outside, your muscles will be a lot cooler than 37 deg, while your body makes sure your organs and brain keep at the required toasty temperature (by diverting blood flow away from muscles and into these areas). So until you've been pushing hte pedals for long enough to generate enough extra heat (as a byproduct of the chemical reactions driving your cells, make your muscle cells work harder, they'll generate more heat - thats why we shiver, too), your muscles will be too cool for all the little chemical reactions inside them to work properly, and you'll feel like your legs have concrete in them. once you warm up enough, your body also will send more blood to your muscles. If its very cold, your body might not get to the point of sending enough blood to your muscles, either. (if its extreme enough, and for long enough, a person gets frostbite from the lack of blood flow. but i doubt its that cold if you are out training!)
+1

Did you guys notice that for the Olympics, Team Great Britain used battery powered "hot pants" to keep the muscles at optimal temperatures without having to spend energy on rollers/trainers between events?

"Sir Chris Hoy, Victoria Pendleton and every member of the squad will sport individually-tailored and high-tech heating shorts before racing to gently warm their leg muscles to the optimum temperature for success."



"Hoy added: ‘I have definitely been feeling the benefit. As soon as you get them off, immediately before you do your standing start or flying effort, your legs feel like they are ready to go. You feel like you did at the end of the warm-up but not out of breath or fatigued from it. It gets you in the optimum state for competition.’"
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Old 01-29-13, 03:47 PM   #23
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Also air density is higher at cold temps so there's a major aerodynamic component as well.
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Old 01-30-13, 12:32 AM   #24
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Interesting, thanks for that breakdown guys!

I really need to do some intervals before the season starts... lol
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