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  1. #1
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    How much time off can I take from riding\training? (Injury recovery time)

    I currently ride mtb 3-4 days a week (80mi+). I also play competitive soccer. Unfortunately I have suffered several injuries in the last few months. Although none of the injuries are major, collectively they are affecting my performance in both sports. I can still ride and play soccer but I want to give the body some time to rest and heal.

    I was wonderingÖ
    Q-> How much time off can I take from riding before I notice a drastic drop in endurance?
    Q-> Depending on how much time off I take Ö how long does it take to get back into original riding shape?

    I was anticipating taking 10-12 days completely off from riding, playing, training, conditioning and practicing.

    Since itís difficult to give an accurate answer with the few details Iíve provided, Iím more interested hearing other riderís experience with similar situations.

    Thanks

  2. #2
    On your left.
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    it's the mind

    I tore a calf muscle 6 weeks ago. Took 2 weeks off and started riding - I felt like I had good power (although my calf hurt), but I'm sure my endurace was reduced. So I rode lightly for 2 weeks and the calf only got a little better, but I felt reasonably fast. Took another 2 weeks off and actually just rode today. Power, endurance, everything was really reduced. Even my arms, shoulders and neck got sore. It is very depressing. I was a mid-level expert racer, now I doubt I could podium in sport. Plus, my calf still isn't healed. How long will it take to get back in shape? I don't even want to think about it!

    #1 I'd say don't get injured to begin with. Be very careful when changing your training/streching routine. Listen to your body and take care of problems before they become injuries.

    #2 If you can ride at all I recommend occasional light riding to maintain some fitness. Totally taking 2 weeks off is bad. In fact I think you actually heal faster with light riding. Plus it makes it so much easier to deal with mentally. Focus on bike setup, maintenance, skills, etc. to fill the void.



    Quote Originally Posted by mtb_Canuck
    I currently ride mtb 3-4 days a week (80mi+). I also play competitive soccer. Unfortunately I have suffered several injuries in the last few months. Although none of the injuries are major, collectively they are affecting my performance in both sports. I can still ride and play soccer but I want to give the body some time to rest and heal.

    I was wonderingÖ
    Q-> How much time off can I take from riding before I notice a drastic drop in endurance?
    Q-> Depending on how much time off I take Ö how long does it take to get back into original riding shape?

    I was anticipating taking 10-12 days completely off from riding, playing, training, conditioning and practicing.

    Since itís difficult to give an accurate answer with the few details Iíve provided, Iím more interested hearing other riderís experience with similar situations.

    Thanks
    M

  3. #3
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    I agree

    My legs were tapped. I took a week off. the bible made it sound like it can even be healthy. What I found was it was just what my muscles needed to rejuvinate. As motivated said my power actually increased going up hills and short effort top speed was higher. I don't think I quite have my longevity back yet but I'm only off a fraction the rr was just what I needed. Good luck It sounds like you have a great base between both sports you'll be back better than ever fresh from the time off not burnt out and love being on the bike that helps the most. Just don't push it. Peace out

  4. #4
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    A week or two off won't kill you. It might help(or not). People worry about mid season time off, but in fact its not too bad. Endurance is something hard to lose, and surprisingly easy to get back. If a big race is coming up, obviously time off wouldn't help, but youll be fine in the meantime. Whats your competition schedule for both sports look like?

    Two summers ago I was racing in the middle of the sport class. At the end of june I had pretty extensive jaw surgery, which left me immobile for a few days and off the bike for 3 weeks. When I got back on, I had definitely wasn't as fast as I once was, but it pretty easy to get back into shape. If you're on the Bible, do another build phase and you'll be right back in it.

  5. #5
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    I had 2 babies and it took me about 2 years to truly get back the form I had before.

    As a rough rule it takes twice the duration to get back everything you lose. 2 weeks off takes 4 weeks to get it back.

    LW

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by LyndaW
    I had 2 babies and it took me about 2 years to truly get back the form I had before.

    As a rough rule it takes twice the duration to get back everything you lose. 2 weeks off takes 4 weeks to get it back.

    LW
    Where does this rule come from? I've heard it before, but I have no personal experience to back it and have never heard of any study either.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by kbiker3111
    Where does this rule come from? I've heard it before, but I have no personal experience to back it and have never heard of any study either.
    It's coaching folklore and a wide sweeping generalization encompassing a myriad of exceptions. Primarily:

    1. Where you are coming from. If you are over trained or coming off a big training block you can see gains with time off.

    2. Your natural ability. Inherently talented riders maintain fitness longer than lesser ones. They can take more time off and restart where they left off whereas less talented riders have to play catch-up. You know that guy who never seems to train much but is always fast.

    LW

  8. #8
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    I have only had time for 1 ride in the past 2 weeks because I have just been too busy with school, work and life. I thought it was going to massacre my cycling ability, it hasn't.

    Tuesday was my only ride and I raced a local training crit and ended up finishing exactly where I normally finish. My schedule finally frees up a bit this weekend and I am looking forward to riding again knowing that I won't be going out and feeling like crap. Don't worry about it too much.

  9. #9
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    I don't think it will kill you, you will probably come back feeling better than ever. All be it you will probably also be a tad slower, but your body will feel fresh and ready to train hard again. Once you don't go past 2 weeks I think you're pretty much fine and don't loose much, or at least that's what I've found - just takes a couple rides to get it back up to speed, but you just feel great.

    You muct be a dissapointed guy right now going from your avatar, I was backing them too and couldn't believe how they played in game 7.
    One day your life will flash before your eyes, will it be worth watching??
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  10. #10
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    They say you get stronger from the recovery

    looks like you could use some recovery time. competitive soccer and cycling is a lot of excercise. Depends on your age I guess.

  11. #11
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    Hi,

    first I do think you've provided enough info. I'm really new to mt biking but a veteran roadie. All my road bike training is done with a HR monitor and all rides are timed as they ride them all at 88% + of my max HR. The first part of my answer to you is that every individual will have their amount of time in which they could get away with out losing performance. I commonly practice taking no less then 7 days off completely at one time for recovery purposes. I may take as much as 10 days and have taken as much as 14 days. Every time I do take this kind of time off, I come back stronger and faster as my timed rides are improved and I can see the results in my HR numbers. And of course it does help "recharge" your mind, muscles, joints and ligaments. Now...due to unplaned and unforseen life obstacles, i.e. work, family committments etc. I have been off for 3 weeks with only a couple of rides in between. I did notice that my performance suffered and lost about 20% of my "power" if I can use this term. So...for me, I can safley say that if I take 18 days or more off, I will definitly see a drop in performance. But I can also say that if I take 10 days off, I really won't suffer a large measurable loss. But that doesn't mean that after the 10 days I will jump back to training at 100%. What I do, is start training at about 80% effort for a week, then up to 90% the next, and then back to 100% effort. In every instance by the third week I see a gain in my performance which is permanent through my continued training. I always see it as going to the next level. That is what works for me. It's great to take that break because I miss the riding and it's like a surprise to see how much I improve when I return and exciting to return. So far this year I've taken, 3 such breaks, two planned, and one unplanned.
    I think most people will benefit from taking a break ever once in a while. I will admitt that in the beginning, taking a break seems counter intuitive. Almost like you feel guilty, scared that if you take time off, you'll lose everything you've worked for. But that is not the case.
    Listen to what your body tells you and take a break. You'll most likley be rewarded with a higher performance when you resume training.

    good luck.

    Quote Originally Posted by mtb_Canuck
    I currently ride mtb 3-4 days a week (80mi+). I also play competitive soccer. Unfortunately I have suffered several injuries in the last few months. Although none of the injuries are major, collectively they are affecting my performance in both sports. I can still ride and play soccer but I want to give the body some time to rest and heal.

    I was wonderingÖ
    Q-> How much time off can I take from riding before I notice a drastic drop in endurance?
    Q-> Depending on how much time off I take Ö how long does it take to get back into original riding shape?

    I was anticipating taking 10-12 days completely off from riding, playing, training, conditioning and practicing.

    Since itís difficult to give an accurate answer with the few details Iíve provided, Iím more interested hearing other riderís experience with similar situations.

    Thanks

  12. #12
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    10-12 days is nothing. Take up swimming. An excellent low impact rehab exercise with good resistance.
    Hang on, Newt. She's heading for the rhubarb.

  13. #13
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    I lacerated my Liver (riding, well falling).The Doc said no riding for 12 weeks. (but ok'd using a trainer when i felt up to it).

    At a little over 4 weeks, i used the trainer a few times. At 5 weeks I ignored the Doc and went for a road ride. During week number 6 I did my fasted (avg speed) group ride and solo ride.

    I am assuming if i did a long ride (3 plus hours) I would be feeling it

    But apparently, 5 weeks off didnt hurt my condition for a 1-2 hour ride

  14. #14
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    data on detraining

    Maintaining Training Adaptations When the Competition Season Ends

    By: Bryan Bergman, CTS Pro Coach
    Category: Conditioning
    Sport(s): Cycling, Running, Multisport, Other, Aerobic
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    Many athletes take a break from training when their competitive season ends; for many athletes that is in September, October, and November. Even the most elite athletes need and want to take a break from the rigors of the training they do most of the year. The questions arise, however: How long should that break be? Should athletes perform other types of activity to "stay in shape" during the break? How much fitness will be lost from a 1, 2 or 4-week break? These types of questions are vital for an out-of-competition training program, as this is where next year's success will largely be determined. This is why we no longer call it the "off-season", because for elite athletes, there really can't be one. Take Jan Ullrich as an example: what does he do in the out-of-competition season? Clearly, not enough - and his performance every season is hampered by a lack of organization earlier in the year.

    The out-of-competition season could be argued as the most important time of the training year. Work hard at this time, and an athlete will likely have great success the following season. Plan poorly, with too much time off, emphasis on the wrong types of training and other pitfalls, and an athlete may be mentally broken, or in such poor shape at the beginning of the season that he or she must play catch-up the rest of the year.

    Out-of-competition programs should be designed to allow athletes to mentally rejuvenate, while minimizing the loss of physiological adaptations gained during the season that just ended. Detraining is defined as the partial or complete loss of training-induced physiological adaptations due to reducing or stopping training. Detraining is important to understand, as minimizing detraining in the out-of-competition season is important for maintaining adaptations and building upon the previous season's gains. Thus, by preventing dramatic detraining, athletes can build upon training adaptations and become progressively stronger. How do you think the pros become stronger every year? They minimize detraining in the out-of-competition season, relax after a hard season, build upon their weaknesses and come back stronger the following season. This is the basis of organized, periodized training employed by CTS coaches - progression and improvement from year to year.

    So what happens when a highly trained athlete stops training during the out-of-competition season? The following section summarizes scientific studies that have examined physiological and biochemical responses to detraining.
    VO2max

    Following complete cessation of training, VO2max decreases in previously highly trained individuals after as little as 4 weeks, with the decrease in VO2max varying between 4 and 14% (19, 22, 43, 59). The decrease in VO2max during the first 3 weeks of detraining is due to a decrease in maximal cardiac output. Subsequent decreases in VO2max are due to decreased oxygen extraction, likely from a decrease in mitochondrial density (see figure below).
    Blood Volume

    Detraining of 4 weeks has been found to decrease blood volume by 12%, mostly due to a 9% decrease in plasma volume in previously well trained athletes (19). Thus, most of the loss of blood volume was due to a decrease in the water compartment of the blood, however 3% of the decrease in blood volume could be attributed to a decreased red blood cell mass, which contributes to the decreases in VO2max and performance. Plasma volume will decrease after 2 days of inactivity, and decreases proportionally to the total time of training cessation. The decreased blood volume can also largely explain decreased VO2max and increased submaximal heart rate seen in the detrained state.
    Endurance Time

    Endurance performance of previously highly trained athletes decreases during a period of detraining by as much as 25% in as little as 2-4 weeks of inactivity (44, 55). Decreased endurance performance may be explained by the increased use of carbohydrate as a fuel during submaximal work following detraining (22, 55, 59).
    Lactate concentration during submaximal work and lactate threshold

    Lactate concentration during submaximal work has been shown to increase after as little as 1 week of detraining in previously highly trained athletes (15, 21, 62). However, the mechanism for the increased lactate concentration cannot be determined from the detraining studies. It is likely that the increased lactate concentration arises from a decrease in lactate clearance, which is the main adaptation during endurance training responsible for decreased arterial lactate concentration (6).

    Lactate threshold also decreases progressively during 56 days of detraining in previously highly trained individuals (21). However, decreases in lactate threshold stabilized after 3 months of detraining to values significantly greater than untrained controls. Lactate threshold is the most trainable factor influencing endurance performance. High lactate threshold is one of the most important predictors of endurance performance. It takes a lot of time, even years, to increase lactate threshold to an athlete's genetic potential, so it is vital to prevent a large drop during the out-of-competition season. Only by building upon the current season's gains in LT, will LT increase from year to year to an elite level.
    Muscle Glycogen

    Glycogen is the storage form of glucose in the body. An increased amount of muscle glycogen improves performance and is an adaptation to endurance training. As little as a week of detraining results in a decrease in the body's muscle glycogen storage capacity.
    Capillary Density

    Capillaries bring blood and oxygen to muscles. Increased muscle capillary density is an important adaptation to endurance training. Cessation of training in athletes has been reported to decrease or not change capillary density in well trained athletes.
    Mitochondrial Volume

    When training is stopped, mitochondrial content of the skeletal muscle decreases (12, 34, 49, 59). Athletes who have been training for many years experience a rapid initial decrease in skeletal muscle oxidative enzyme activity in the first 8 weeks of detraining, followed by a stabilization of enzyme levels 50% above sedentary controls throughout the remaining 4 weeks of detraining (22). Upon further analysis of single muscle fibers, it is found that in these well trained athletes, the elevation of enzyme activities above sedentary controls is mainly due to the maintenance of enzyme levels in fast twitch muscle fibers. After 12 weeks of detraining, oxidative enzyme activity of fast twitch muscle fibers remained 50-80% above control values, while slow twitch muscle fibers had decreased to control levels (12, 22).

    This effect may be due in part to the large amount of training time that it takes fast glycolytic fibers to adapt to the stress of endurance exercise and take on characteristics of fast oxidative glycolytic fibers. Thus we are seeing minimal fiber type conversion with detraining, possibly due to the length of time the adaptation originally took to occur.

    So what should be done to minimize the loss of training adaptations during the out-of-competition season?

    Reduced Training

    The answer is to decrease, but not stop training. But by how much should training decrease?

    It is impractical and mentally very difficult to maintain race fitness year round. Thus, during the out-of-competition season, training should be reduced in such a way to maintain fitness gains from the current season, allowing the athlete to become stronger every year.

    Of the many components of training, the most important for this discussion are frequency, intensity, and time (or volume). How much can each of these components decrease?
    Frequency

    The frequency of training sessions plays an important role in the retention of physiological adaptations during a period of reduced training. Most studies suggest that when submaximal endurance performances were negatively affected during a reduced training period, training frequency was reduced by at least 50% (42, 62). However, studies that observed no change in athletic performance only reduced frequency by around 20-30% (15, 40). Thus, in order to maintain physiological adaptations to endurance training, frequency of exercise bouts should not decrease more than 30%. In other words, if an athlete currently trains 6 days/week, training should not drop below 4 days/week during reduced training periods.
    Volume

    As long as training frequency does not drop more than 20-30% during a period of reduced training, it can safely be assumed that training volume can be decreased up to 70-80% with no decreases in submaximal exercise performance. However, performance is only maintained when the intensity of training is not reduced from pre-reduced training levels. Considering training intensity will drop during the out-of-competition season, volume should not be allowed to drop by 70-80%. The exact amount volume can decrease is individual, and influenced by training intensity and the age of the athlete.
    Intensity

    The specific effect of training intensity has not been isolated and studied in highly trained endurance athletes. However, Neufer (62) reported that in previously untrained individuals, training intensity must be maintained during a period of reduced frequency and/or duration in order to maintain training adaptations. Similarly, in the previously reported studies where frequency and volume were reduced, training intensity was maintained or only reduced by 10-20% from pre-reduced training levels (15, 40, 42, 46, 62). Therefore, it can be speculated that exercise intensity must be maintained or only decreased by 10-20% in order to maintain training adaptations during a period of reduced training. Greater drops in training intensity will results in proportional decreases in fitness.
    Conclusions

    During a period of training cessation, VO2max, endurance time, and lactate threshold will decrease rapidly in highly trained athletes. Capillary density appears to be maintained for as long as 12 weeks in highly trained endurance athletes who have been training for many years. In highly trained endurance athletes, mitochondrial volume decreases rapidly in the first 8 weeks of detraining, but stabilizes at 50% above sedentary values for at least 4 more weeks of detraining.

    Thus, much of an athlete's performance potential will be decreased after 8 weeks of exercise cessation, yet their capillary density and some of their oxidative enzyme adaptations will be retained through at least 4 more weeks of detraining. Thus, after 2 months of no training, highly trained athletes will lose much, but not all of their physiological adaptations for endurance activities.

    Highly trained endurance athletes must stay active in the out-of-competition season in order not to lose their training adaptations over a period of reduced training. They can decrease training volume by up to 70-80%, but the frequency of the training bouts can only be reduced by 20-30%, or in other words taking 2-3 rest days per week instead of one. While scientifically unstudied, it is speculated that training intensity must be maintained at close to pre-reduced training levels to prevent a drop in performance. However, maintaining training intensity year-round is impractical. Thus, less of a fall in training volume may help prevent the loss of physiological adaptations with decreases in training intensity.
    References

    1. Bergman, B. C., E. E. Wolfel, G. E. Butterfield, G. D. Lopaschuk, G. A. Casazza, M. A. Horning, and G. A. Brooks. Active muscle and whole body lactate kinetics after endurance training in men. J Appl Physiol 87: 1684-96, 1999.
    2. Chi, M. M., C. S. Hintz, E. F. Coyle, W. H. d. Martin, J. L. Ivy, P. M. Nemeth, J. O. Holloszy, and O. H. Lowry. Effects of detraining on enzymes of energy metabolism in individual human muscle fibers. Am J Physiol 244: C276-87, 1983.
    3. Costill, D. L., W. J. Fink, M. Hargreaves, D. S. King, R. Thomas, and R. Fielding. Metabolic characteristics of skeletal muscle during detraining from competitive swimming. Med Sci Sports Exerc 17: 339-43, 1985.
    4. Coyle, E. F., M. K. Hemmert, and A. R. Coggan. Effects of detraining on cardiovascular responses to exercise: role of blood volume. J Appl Physiol 60: 95-9, 1986.
    5. Coyle, E. F., W. H. d. Martin, S. A. Bloomfield, O. H. Lowry, and J. O. Holloszy. Effects of detraining on responses to submaximal exercise. J Appl Physiol 59: 853-9, 1985.
    6. Coyle, E. F., W. H. d. Martin, D. R. Sinacore, M. J. Joyner, J. M. Hagberg, and J. O. Holloszy. Time course of loss of adaptations after stopping prolonged intense endurance training. J Appl Physiol 57: 1857-64, 1984.
    7. Henriksson, J., and J. Reitman. Time course of changes in human muscle succinate dehydrogenase and cytochrome oxidase activites and maximal oxygen uptake with physical activity and inactivity. Acta Physiologica Scandinavica 99: 91-97, 1977.
    8. Houmard, J. A., D. L. Costill, J. B. Mitchell, S. H. Park, R. C. Hickner, and J. N. Roemmich. Reduced training maintains performance in distance runners. Int J Sports Med 11: 46-52, 1990.
    9. Houmard, J. A., J. P. Kirwan, M. G. Flynn, and J. B. Mitchell. Effects of reduced training on submaximal and maximal running responses. Int J Sports Med 10: 30-3, 1989.
    10. Houmard, J. A., M. H. Shinebarger, P. L. Dolan, N. Leggett-Frazier, R. K. Bruner, M. R. McCammon, R. G. Israel, and G. L. Dohm. Exercise training increases GLUT-4 protein concentration in previously sedentary middle-aged men. American Journal of Physiology 264: E896-901, 1993.
    11. Houston, M. E., H. Bentzen, and H. Larsen. Interrelationships between skeletal muscle adaptations and performance as studied by detraining and retraining. Acta Physiol Scand 105: 163-70, 1979.
    12. Johns, R. A., J. A. Houmard, R. W. Kobe, T. Hortobagyi, N. J. Bruno, J. M. Wells, and M. H. Shinebarger. Effects of taper on swim power, stroke distance, and performance. Med Sci Sports Exerc 24: 1141-6, 1992.
    13. Klausen, K., L. B. Andersen, and I. Pelle. Adaptive changes in work capacity, skeletal muscle capillarization and enzyme levels during training and detraining. Acta Physiologica Scandinavica 113: 9-16, 1981.
    14. Madsen, K., P. K. Pedersen, M. S. Djurhuus, and N. A. Klitgaard. Effects of detraining on endurance capacity and metabolic changes during prolonged exhaustive exercise. J Appl Physiol 75: 1444-51, 1993.
    15. Moore, R. L., E. M. Thacker, G. A. Kelley, T. I. Musch, L. I. Sinoway, V. L. Foster, and A. L. Dickinson. Effect of training/detraining on submaximal exercise responses in humans. J Appl Physiol 63: 1719-24, 1987.
    16. Neufer, P. D., D. L. Costill, R. A. Fielding, M. G. Flynn, and J. P. Kirwan. Effect of reduced training on muscular strength and endurance in competitive swimmers. Med Sci Sports Exerc 19: 486-90, 1987.

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