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How long to get back in form after break

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How long to get back in form after break

Old 10-08-20, 04:23 PM
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xrazer
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How long to get back in form after break

I have been off riding a bit over 3 years due to back surgery etc. I started ride again at the end of June slowly adding length to my rides. The legs and lungs sure have a long way to go before I will be even close to my previous shape and I have 15 to 20 pounds to loose now too. How has your experience being in a similar situation? How long to bounce back? I am in my early 60's.
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Old 10-08-20, 04:50 PM
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You'll never get to be back like you were. Even if you hadn't taken a break, you'd be slower. So don't worry about it, just ride your bike. The more time you spend on the bike, the stronger you'll get - up to a point, which might be a little less than it used to be. I'd say give it a year or 2 to max out again if you ride 12 months/year, though that depends on how close to your limit you were before. I once took a winter off, so maybe 4 months, and I didn't get it back until the next fall. I never did that again.
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Old 10-08-20, 05:12 PM
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I never took a break from riding in 30+ years but the last few years at work before I retired kept me from riding as much as I like. My fitness was lower than any time in years. I started riding more in an attempt to regain fitness and I was able to make gains but it took a long time. It's frustrating at times and I started thinking it might never happen but eventually I could feel those gains.
Be patient and don't overdo it.
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Old 10-08-20, 06:31 PM
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It took two back surgeries and 15 years before I could ride seriously again. For 10 years I was off a bike entirely.
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Old 10-08-20, 07:46 PM
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I broke my neck on a bike crash last October. No surgery needed, but three months in a hard collar and another month forbidden from riding. I'm 60. A month earlier I'd finished a 1000k brevet, and a 1200 before that.

First was just getting some miles on the bike. Then I started doing short intervals, mostly hill repeats, once a week with longer easier rides other days. My first hilly 30 mile ride was super tough. My intervals got longer, using a bigger hill. Long rides got longer, adding more hills. Rinse, repeat.

Next week is a year since the accident. I'm starting to set PRs. I rode a 200k last weekend, an hour and a half ahead of my pre accident time. The guy who said you'll never get back? Use him as your motivation on the intervals.
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Old 10-09-20, 08:20 AM
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It's always one or two more rides more. You never get there, but if you don't ride you'll get further away.
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Old 10-09-20, 08:28 AM
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When I was in my 30s, I could take an extended break and be able to train back up to my previous form. At some point (I think in my 50s) that stopped.
Now if I take a break for even a month, my fitness drops and no amount of training seems sufficient to get back to where I used to be.
I can still ride pretty far and fairly fast, but at 62 I've come to accept that I am never going to be as strong as I was, and also that I can't afford to take any more extended breaks.
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Old 10-09-20, 09:56 AM
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what are you trying to get back to?

You could lose the weight fairly quickly by controlling your diet

Like everyone said. Slowly increase your mileage if you are able and want to do that. Make sure you are enjoying your time on the bike
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Old 10-09-20, 11:12 AM
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Originally Posted by Flip Flop Rider View Post
what are you trying to get back to?

You could lose the weight fairly quickly by controlling your diet
I am trying to at least reach the point that I can ride up hills without too much struggle. Riding becomes more fun when you feel strong rather than huffing and puffing with weak feeling legs. We have lots of hills here and any longer ride takes me on several fairly steep inclines. I also ride because it helps with weight loss in addition to eating habits. Been there and succeeded in the past.
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Old 10-09-20, 11:15 AM
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Originally Posted by downtube42 View Post
IThe guy who said you'll never get back? Use him as your motivation on the intervals.
Funny yes that occurred to me too.
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Old 10-09-20, 12:16 PM
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I went from serious racer to couch potato when I relocated to the UK in 2000. Cycling dropped off and within 2 years I was riding maybe once a month. Then nothing...for 15 years. Bizarre for someone who was a competitive athlete before that. I blamed work, commuting, family commitments, the weather...all excuses that didn't stop me doing at least some training. Anyway, at 51 and after a year and a half of getting fit again I'm in very good shape. It can be done.

I had to lose 21kg - a quarter of my weight. I went from obese couch potato to a cyclist with nearly 120 Strava KOM's and two good regional race results in a relatively short time at over 50. Yep, lots of hard training and specific to someone who has ambitious racing goals but the point being it is possible to get to a pretty good level after lengthy time out even after 50 years of age.
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Old 10-10-20, 09:03 AM
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The year I retired was taken up with a 1,200-mile move. Back and forth. Packing and unpacking. On and on. My mileage went to pretty much nothing after years of riding at least three or four times per week. The loss of physical conditioning was very obvious.

Three years later, all settled in, (sort of), I'm still not back to where I'd comfortably tackle an unsupported century. Metric centuries are fine. Much more than that is too difficult right now.

Getting two rescue dogs has really helped because they require a multi-mile walk every day. Not too concerned because my vitals are fine
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Old 10-10-20, 05:48 PM
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It's awesome to read the various comeback stories here and thanks to all other comments. I will continue my journey to better fitness.
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Old 10-10-20, 09:02 PM
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Originally Posted by xrazer View Post
I have been off riding a bit over 3 years due to back surgery etc. I started ride again at the end of June slowly adding length to my rides. The legs and lungs sure have a long way to go before I will be even close to my previous shape and I have 15 to 20 pounds to loose now too. How has your experience being in a similar situation? How long to bounce back? I am in my early 60's.
For long term health of your body count on building back over at least 6 months, to get back muscles, joints stronger and your bones stronger to anchor all that.

Do it gradually. And cross train. Don稚 bike every day, prob max 3 times a week for first few months. Even just working on weight machines at the gym and building your way up from 15 mins of cardio/heart rate to 30-40-50 mins, will help you get up those hills faster and with less effort and you can re over faster. Also good for the body to have various methods of building the body back.
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Old 10-10-20, 09:05 PM
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Originally Posted by Kanon25 View Post
For long term health of your body count on building back over at least 6 months, to get back muscles, joints stronger and your bones stronger to anchor all that.

Do it gradually. And cross train. Don稚 bike every day, prob max 3 times a week for first few months. Even just working on weight machines at the gym and building your way up from 15 mins of cardio/heart rate to 30-40-50 mins, will help you get up those hills faster and with less effort and you can re over faster. Also good for the body to have various methods of building the body back.
I would go with that ^^^^^^^^^^^^
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Old 10-10-20, 10:33 PM
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Originally Posted by AlgarveCycling View Post
I went from serious racer to couch potato when I relocated to the UK in 2000. Cycling dropped off and within 2 years I was riding maybe once a month. Then nothing...for 15 years. Bizarre for someone who was a competitive athlete before that. I blamed work, commuting, family commitments, the weather...all excuses that didn't stop me doing at least some training. Anyway, at 51 and after a year and a half of getting fit again I'm in very good shape. It can be done.

I had to lose 21kg - a quarter of my weight. I went from obese couch potato to a cyclist with nearly 120 Strava KOM's and two good regional race results in a relatively short time at over 50. Yep, lots of hard training and specific to someone who has ambitious racing goals but the point being it is possible to get to a pretty good level after lengthy time out even after 50 years of age.
Good for you.

But for most people, early 50s and early 60s are not the same thing. It's good that you ddid what you did when you did. You can probably keep pretty good ability for quite some time now. But not indefinitely.
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Old 10-10-20, 10:36 PM
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I've not been off for 3 years, but injuries have kept me off for 1-6 months at various times in my mid and late 50s. I can get it all back, but it takes months.

As previously said, if you really want to improve- intervals. They suck, but they work.

Personally, there aren't many good interval hills near me. Also, very few have ideal conditions of consistent pitch, no stop signs, etc.
I do my intervals on a trainer. Every one is exactly the same (except for my effort and limits).
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Old 10-11-20, 12:01 AM
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All of the above. Been there a few times.
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Old 10-11-20, 12:45 AM
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Originally Posted by MinnMan View Post
Good for you.

But for most people, early 50s and early 60s are not the same thing. It's good that you ddid what you did when you did. You can probably keep pretty good ability for quite some time now. But not indefinitely.
Naturally not indefinitely, age catches up with us all eventually, however...a positive mindset and a willingness to put the effort in will yield good results relative to age. I train with cyclists of all age groups, some of our strongest are late 50's, 60's. A local 55 yr old ex-pro who was dominating local MTB XC racing for a decade in retirement got really fat last winter and during the covid lockdown period - around 12kg overweight! He's nearly race trim again now after a Summer of training.

Obviously, I'm comparing athletes who have a history of athleticism as this is my experience and so one might expect the gains to be greater but most people can improve immensely relative to a couch potato even post 60.
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Old 10-11-20, 04:21 AM
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I have always been surprised by how easy I can snap back if I've been away from riding.
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Old 10-11-20, 09:17 AM
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After declining for about 7 years due to health problems, I took early retirement and figured out how to manage some health issues related to neurological damage. Recently I completed a ride up a mountain I thought I would never do again. It took a little over two years to get where I am now but there was steady improvement throughout that time. Best of a luck!
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Old 10-11-20, 09:28 AM
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Im interested in this topic since I知 52 and will be facing this challenge soon.

I had been riding every other day for 1.5 years, had got into intervals recently, and made some great progress.

However, due to family circumstances, I have been off the bike since late August.

In the meantime, I have been strength training every other day and doing a pretty intense 45-minute , HIIT kickboxing cardio workout every other day.

Im hoping to get back to riding regularly in the next month but then the NE winter will be upon us.

So, I知 anticipating a massive loss of bike strength gains, I hope not to lose all of them. But, my cardio should still be decent and along with my leg work in strength training, hoping to recover reasonably as best I can.
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Old 10-11-20, 09:56 AM
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Originally Posted by CyclingBK View Post
Im interested in this topic since I知 52 and will be facing this challenge soon.

I had been riding every other day for 1.5 years, had got into intervals recently, and made some great progress.

However, due to family circumstances, I have been off the bike since late August.

In the meantime, I have been strength training every other day and doing a pretty intense 45-minute , HIIT kickboxing cardio workout every other day.

Im hoping to get back to riding regularly in the next month but then the NE winter will be upon us.

So, I知 anticipating a massive loss of bike strength gains, I hope not to lose all of them. But, my cardio should still be decent and along with my leg work in strength training, hoping to recover reasonably as best I can.
Best of luck. Consider getting a trainer for indoor riding over the winter. And something like Zwift.
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Old 10-11-20, 11:45 AM
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Originally Posted by CyclingBK View Post
Im interested in this topic since I知 52 and will be facing this challenge soon.

I had been riding every other day for 1.5 years, had got into intervals recently, and made some great progress.

However, due to family circumstances, I have been off the bike since late August.

In the meantime, I have been strength training every other day and doing a pretty intense 45-minute , HIIT kickboxing cardio workout every other day.

Im hoping to get back to riding regularly in the next month but then the NE winter will be upon us.

So, I知 anticipating a massive loss of bike strength gains, I hope not to lose all of them. But, my cardio should still be decent and along with my leg work in strength training, hoping to recover reasonably as best I can.
I'm 75 and had to be off the bike from early June to September 12 due to a saddle sore and sciatica. I have a set of resistance rollers I bought in '97. I've been riding them almost every day since Sept. 12, starting at 15' and quickly moving up to an hour. I'm not doing any intervals, only steady state rides at no more than 75% of max HR or FTP. That's working like a charm. I've just added in 2 days of full-body dumbbell work and thus only riding 5 days/week now. I plan on not doing any interval work until January and am hoping to have increased ride lengths to 2 hours by then. Riding one's bike is the only thing that really works for getting good at bike riding. My dumbbell work is for general health and just feeling good.

A set of resistance rollers isn't cheap, but is less than many fancy trainers, and will last the rest of your life, so amortization looks quite good and no software or computer gear to get outdated or vanish. They're are lot less boring than trainers and improve your bike handling and pedaling skills.
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Old 10-11-20, 12:08 PM
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Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy View Post
I'm 75 and had to be off the bike from early June to September 12 due to a saddle sore and sciatica. I have a set of resistance rollers I bought in '97. I've been riding them almost every day since Sept. 12, starting at 15' and quickly moving up to an hour. I'm not doing any intervals, only steady state rides at no more than 75% of max HR or FTP. That's working like a charm. I've just added in 2 days of full-body dumbbell work and thus only riding 5 days/week now. I plan on not doing any interval work until January and am hoping to have increased ride lengths to 2 hours by then. Riding one's bike is the only thing that really works for getting good at bike riding. My dumbbell work is for general health and just feeling good.

A set of resistance rollers isn't cheap, but is less than many fancy trainers, and will last the rest of your life, so amortization looks quite good and no software or computer gear to get outdated or vanish. They're are lot less boring than trainers and improve your bike handling and pedaling skills.
I know that lots of serious cyclists use rollers and I understand the benefits. On the other hand, they scare the hell out of me. In particular, I use the trainer for intervals, and at the end of a hard set of intervals, I can be close to exhaustion. The last thing I want to have to do at that point is to pay attention to my balance. I put my head down on the bars and pedal in an easy gear.....
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