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how long does it take to get back in shape after a winter break?

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how long does it take to get back in shape after a winter break?

Old 12-21-16, 04:38 PM
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RockiesDad
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how long does it take to get back in shape after a winter break?

Just started cycling this past spring and got into decent shape (25-30 miles 2-3X per week) which took about 4 -5 months to get there. Now that winter has come and not riding nearly as much I was wondering if I have to start from scratch again once things warm up again? I am trying to do some short quick rides (5-10 miles) whenever it gets warm enough and maybe do some indoor training stuff but that's about it.

Things take a little long due to our age and was wondering how long does it take to get back to the shape you were in before winter kicked in and you had to hang up your bike? I'm pushing 60yrs and want quick results...
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Old 12-21-16, 04:42 PM
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It won't take you as long this time unless you do dumb things.

In the meantime, watch your diet and do some forms of exercise.

And when you climb stairs, always take them two at a time.
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Old 12-21-16, 05:39 PM
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What winter break? You live in the Bay Area, right? All you need are warmer clothes.
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Old 12-21-16, 05:46 PM
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Why does it have to be warm for you to ride? I don't understand.
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Old 12-21-16, 05:52 PM
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Originally Posted by RockiesDad View Post
Things take a little long due to our age and was wondering how long does it take to get back to the shape you were in before winter kicked in and you had to hang up your bike? I'm pushing 60yrs and want quick results...
Well, I'm now 70 and it usually takes me 4-6 weeks to start over after not riding in the winter season. However, I do try to attend a spinning class once in a while (I don't usually follow the instructor, but just spin at my own speed and resistance).

What has happened a couple times is that I've gone on a multi-day trip early in the season without really being in top shape for it, and then find that after two or three days of high mileage, I've actually "ridden myself into shape." Last June, I finished the GAP-C&O route from Pittsburgh to Washington D.C. in six days. Had some trouble with fatigue on the 2nd day, but when I finally finished it I felt good enough that I could have turned around and ridden back!
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Old 12-21-16, 06:28 PM
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Originally Posted by RockiesDad View Post
I'm pushing 60yrs and want quick results...
I'm only 53 but I feel that I basically have to start over after a couple months of significantly reduced activity. Maybe even after a month. :-( And I find that there is a huge difference between zero activity and moderate activity. If I can retain a moderate level of activity, I can recover much more quickly than I can after a period of zero activity.
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Old 12-21-16, 06:44 PM
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When I didnt snowride it would take me about 2mos to feel that breakthrough ride where you just know you went from conditioning over into training. When I ride at least 2 rides each week in the snow, including some of our steeper hills in town, the conditioning in spring riding is cut in half or better.

Arnolds SchortzRBiggah once said, "muscle has memory". It's true.
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Old 12-21-16, 07:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Biker395 View Post
What winter break? You live in the Bay Area, right? All you need are warmer clothes.
Agree,
What "break"?
Your "winter" is the time to phase into Base Miles mode on the bike: Endurance rides in Zone 1 & 2 if you are at all serious about cycling.
Fitting mudguards & a fixed gear per tradition in your terrain may not be feasible but decent kit and a set of fenders: Good to Go.

Not getting out now on the bike?
You'll not be "in shape" for the next season in your mild climate compared to those who do and those in your age cadre who are cyclists Do.

I'm pushing 60yrs and want quick results...
There is no such thing at any age, much less now.
If serious get a coach, work a program which certainly will not take winter "off", or at minimum get out on the bike now.

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Old 12-21-16, 09:53 PM
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About 365 days so I do not bother to take a winter break. J
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Old 12-21-16, 10:01 PM
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What I do is ride on a trainer 30 minutes a day for five days a week in Oct/Nov/Dec. Jan into Feb I bump it up to an hour as riding season gets closer. March and the outdoors come back. I used to do a computrainer spin class (the best) to get the watts back up, but I have gotten away from that. This fall radiation treatments has kept me away so I have a lot of fitness to get back. But I got thin!
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Old 12-21-16, 10:03 PM
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Six weeks for the bones to heal, but full recovery -- about 4 years.
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Old 12-22-16, 08:51 AM
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Another (maybe more helpful) thought on this.

I think a lot of it depends on how solid your level of base conditioning is.

Thanks to commuting, I ride virtually every day either 15 hilly miles or 35 flat miles. What that does is create a very solid level of base conditioning that doesn't simply vanish after several weeks of inactivity. It takes months and months.

On the other hand, to be in really good shape ... like the kind you need if you want to do your best in a race ... that kind of conditioning disappears after only a few weeks, and for me at least, takes almost twice that long to regain.
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Old 12-22-16, 09:21 AM
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Currently 30 degrees in Vancouver Washington and I'm gonna head out as soon as it's full daylight to sneak in a quick 30 miles before rain rolls in today. what break?
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Old 12-22-16, 09:40 AM
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Originally Posted by PaulH View Post
Why does it have to be warm for you to ride? I don't understand.
Well, I have a problem with Reynaud's syndrome, triggered by cold. Once it hits, it can literally take hours for circulation and feeling to return to my hands and feet. I keep riding short distances at least in temperatures down to the 20s, but not below that if I can help it.
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Old 12-22-16, 09:57 AM
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I ride about 300 miles/month through the winter but it's all low intensity and I still have to get back in shape in the spring. I don't really peak until the fall so it's hard to pinpoint "back in shape" but it's a good month or six weeks until I feel like I'm back in shape.
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Old 12-22-16, 12:31 PM
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In that past 20 years, I took one winter off. I never did that again. I was't back in top shape until summer was over. So just don't. That's what a set of resistance rollers is for. Ride them a few times a week if you can't get out on the road for whatever reason. If I can't get out for a while during winter, I do one interval session/week and the rest mostly zone 2. I also go to the gym and lift weights.
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Old 12-22-16, 03:03 PM
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"Back in shape" is too ambiguous for anyone to answer with any certainty.

What is the goal? Goals are realistic, attainable and measurable. Loose 25 lb or maybe 50 lb? Increase lactic threshold heart rate by x beats per second? Ride a four hour metric century?

What does in shape mean? Get "back in shape" is not a goal.

OP needs to determine for himself what "back in shape" means and then he can answer the question for himself.


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Old 12-22-16, 03:09 PM
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This varies by person, and what the shape was going in.

But one thing I can say, the older you get the longer it takes.

Decades ago, I could get off the bike in November, and jump back on in March and knock out a hundred miles. I'd pay for it later, but getting back into form from there was a snap.

These days, I can't afford to lose too much, because there's not that kind of rebound anymore, and I have to ride at least twice a week through the winter, or may not be back in form until August.

You don't have to do too much, but if you don't ride at all, you'll pay dearly in the Spring.
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Old 12-22-16, 03:12 PM
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Temp is 58 degrees in San Francisco today. Why aren't you out riding?
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Old 12-22-16, 04:00 PM
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It all depends how good of a shape you were before taking the brake?
How long were you riding?
Your age and health of course?
In the bay area you don't have to stop, the weather never get that cold, although the last few days in the early morning I went riding it was 26 degrees but warmed up relatively quickly!
Dress in layers!
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Old 12-22-16, 11:58 PM
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For me the single greatest motivation is the memory of what it was like the spring that I didn't ride the trainer during the preceeding winter. No metrics required.

Around here its tough to get out on the road with the bike lanes filled with snow and ice. Road conditions should be better by the time February rolls around. Until then, it's base miles and intervals on the trainer.
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Old 12-23-16, 12:09 AM
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I would do a light 12 mile stroll every other day for a least three weeks...

If you can hold to that you'll be surprised a how you can power on just like normal...
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Old 12-23-16, 03:45 AM
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I find it so easy to get back into shape after a winter break that I suspect I was never in shape in the first place.
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Old 12-23-16, 04:36 AM
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I'll join the chorus of 'what break?' In MN and NYC I don't ride as much in winter but I do still ride. I'll go about any distance in 40f or above and I'l ride a mile in just about any weather. Between these two it varies. My most frequent ride is 2 miles to my favorite local café and 2 miles back and the cutoff for that is about 5-10f (though high winds or heavy snow can change that). During winter/snow I only ride where I have safe protected bikeways.

In The Netherlands it's extremely rare that weather has any impact on any riding.

I don't do training type rides in MN or NYC after the first snow and until roads have been swept in the spring. This is mostly a safety thing. I really dislike being hit by cars. Then again, the overall number of training rides I do anytime except in The Netherlands has been declining the past couple of years partially due to age and mostly to knowing too many people who've been hit by drivers.

If you really don't want to ride in winter then find other things to stay active. Any daily physical activity is beneficial but ideally you want about 60 minutes per day of moderate physical activity — about 5 days each week. Going for brisk walks or hiking are good options. Also skiing (x-country or downhill), spin classes, riding a trainer at home, or anything that will get you breathing a bit. The more you do the faster you'll regain form in the spring.

Also, a bit of winter break or slowdown isn't bad. Many top pro bicycle racers take a few weeks off completely and then do fairly light training for several weeks. The same to a bit lessor degree applies to average people who are not even amateur athletes.

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Old 12-23-16, 08:19 AM
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With the aging process, the older you get, the longer everything takes. Even to empty the bladder.
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