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  1. #1
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    What's your longest break...

    What's your longest break from riding (forced or unforced) and how long did it take you to get back to where you were? I'm having to take 6 weeks off due to a strained IT band (not strained on the bike directly) that is not healing. I'm pretty frustrated and concerned that at 39 years old it'll take a long time to get back in to top racing shape (XC and endurance).

  2. #2
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    I took something like four years off. This weekend I won Iceman. :-)

    Seriously, though, six weeks isn't insurmountable. Yes, you'll lose some top end. But this is the time of year that you should be taking a break anyway, and if you've been racing all summer, your body will thank you for the break. Consider it a long, less-than-voluntary recovery block. Don't stress it, take the six weeks, and start foundation training slow. You'll have plenty of time before race season to get rolling again and the break could quite possibly do you some good!
    Alison Dunlap Coaching
    When you're not paid to ride.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by farmertan
    What's your longest break from riding (forced or unforced) and how long did it take you to get back to where you were? I'm having to take 6 weeks off due to a strained IT band (not strained on the bike directly) that is not healing. I'm pretty frustrated and concerned that at 39 years old it'll take a long time to get back in to top racing shape (XC and endurance).
    Been racing 23-4 years and never (jeesh I may be jinxing myself) had a leg injury. I've had some arm injuries, but I could still ride a trainer. I think I took three weeks off once. Six weeks is about what some athletes take off every year --given short seasons or single championship events. You should be back in shape within 3-4 weeks.

  4. #4
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    I went through a car window this year and was off of the bike for 2 almost 3 months (april-june)... I put in a really good offseason previous to that. Even with an injury I tried to do what i could to keep myself form blimping up. I did a lot of walking (burning calories) and once I could I put about 2 hard weeks straight on the trails... first race back was a victory, and about 2 weeks later I felt back to a comfortable spot fitness wise... I am 23, and I don't know where I would have been without the crash but I was happy to feel like I was breaking even for the season.

  5. #5
    bi-winning
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alison Dunlap Coaching
    I took something like four years off. This weekend I won Iceman. :-)
    Congratulations. It looks like it was a close race with Kelli and Heather too, based on the results.

    It's cool to see people join the action here on MTBR that have experience at the highest levels. I look forward to reading more of your posts in the future.
    When under pressure, your level of performance will sink to your level of preparation.


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  6. #6
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    Years ago I injured my back, and it put me out of training for nearly 6 months, writing off the rest of that season. It was incredibly frustrating, so I feel your pain. But the following season, I was back on track, racing stronger; the time off only motivated me harder to make up for the lost time.

  7. #7
    Brant-C.
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    i took off 6 to 8 weeks also on a strained IT band a couple of years ago. i think i had my best racing the following season. then i moved up and now am sucking...

    family, life, work...i gotta just get my butt in gear to do better.

    i think those long breaks seem really discouraging; but in the long run it actually serves a good purpose.
    I just like riding my mountain bike.

  8. #8
    zrm
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alison Dunlap Coaching
    I took something like four years off. This weekend I won Iceman. :-)
    Those four years where spent keeping up with Frozely so I don't think they exactly qualify as "off"

  9. #9
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    i am currently off the bike for an unknown period of time (knees, have already been off for 3 weeks and they aren't better yet).

    i am starting to doubt if i will get back to where i was this past year. I am 35 and had a great year of racing in CAT1 and was hoping to build on my awesome results. even more frustrating is that the wife starts base training for next year soon and i am just going backwards gaining weight and losing fitness.

    feeling your pain.

  10. #10
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    Since January, I've only done a little riding and zero training due to neck/nerve issues that make it difficult to ride. I've put on 10 lbs. 'cause I like food too much, and I'm trying to fight the despair that it's never going to get better. Since I started riding 20+ years ago, this has been the longest layoff, by far. When I tried riding again this summer, my fitness really started to comeback after about 3 weeks of doing shorter (an hour or so) rides 5-6 days a week.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by farmertan
    What's your longest break from riding (forced or unforced) and how long did it take you to get back to where you were? I'm having to take 6 weeks off due to a strained IT band (not strained on the bike directly) that is not healing. I'm pretty frustrated and concerned that at 39 years old it'll take a long time to get back in to top racing shape (XC and endurance).
    Not to be negative or anything but depending on the severity of the IT band injury you might need a lot longer than 6 weeks. Don't worry about your racing shape right now, worry about getting healed right the first time.

    I went through a cycle of rest - re-injury for 6 months until I realized I needed to rest as long as the injury dictated. I'm on my 7th month of no riding. It wasn't until 1-2 months ago that I felt like I was making progress.

    Don't let the frustration get to you, find something else to do to keep your mind occupied. Anyway that has been my experience, you might be totally different and the injury might go away in 6 weeks. Good luck!

  12. #12
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    Amount of time to get over it 'as soon as possible' - maybe never.

    Amount of time taking it as slowly as necessary - soonest.

    I broke my collarbone, did too much hiking while it was healing up, and resumed activity at my old level as soon as I could. Got some bad tendonitis and I guess other complications, ended up being out 4 years. Inflammation and etc snowballed. At the worst 20 minutes on the trainer was my max (10 blocks of walking per day), beyond that inflammation and soreness, and having to rest even more. I was starting to think my biking days were over, but managed to claw my way back with iron discipline and the right PT program. In short it sucked and don't let it happen to you.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by ingluis
    Not to be negative or anything but depending on the severity of the IT band injury you might need a lot longer than 6 weeks.
    I'm not sure of the severity of the strain, but I pretty much have no pain off the bike, just some tightness. I can ride 20-30 minutes before the pain kicks in. I sure don't want to take 6 weeks and then cause it to flare up again. Any tips on how I know that it's healed by the end of 6 weeks other than heading out for an hour ride and seeing if there's pain?

  14. #14
    LMN
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    Quote Originally Posted by whybotherme
    i am currently off the bike for an unknown period of time (knees, have already been off for 3 weeks and they aren't better yet).

    i am starting to doubt if i will get back to where i was this past year. I am 35 and had a great year of racing in CAT1 and was hoping to build on my awesome results. even more frustrating is that the wife starts base training for next year soon and i am just going backwards gaining weight and losing fitness.

    feeling your pain.

    What is up with your knees?

    Knees are weird. I know several people (my wife being one of them) who have knee problems when they stop riding.

  15. #15
    LMN
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    Quote Originally Posted by farmertan
    I'm not sure of the severity of the strain, but I pretty much have no pain off the bike, just some tightness. I can ride 20-30 minutes before the pain kicks in. I sure don't want to take 6 weeks and then cause it to flare up again. Any tips on how I know that it's healed by the end of 6 weeks other than heading out for an hour ride and seeing if there's pain?

    Try high frequency and low duration. Keep the rides to 20-30 minutes, stop before pain kicks in. Try two or three weeks of doing this everyday, you may find that problem goes away.

    Either that or take a lot of time up let it heal completely and then be really careful starting up again.

  16. #16
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    Hit a boat, was off the bike for almost a month and a half.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by farmertan
    I'm not sure of the severity of the strain, but I pretty much have no pain off the bike, just some tightness. I can ride 20-30 minutes before the pain kicks in. I sure don't want to take 6 weeks and then cause it to flare up again. Any tips on how I know that it's healed by the end of 6 weeks other than heading out for an hour ride and seeing if there's pain?
    Disclaimer: I'm not a doctor, PT, nor did I stay at a Holiday Inn last night...

    IMO there is no way to know with certainty if you're healed without going out and testing it. The thing with IT band syndrome is that sometimes it stays dormant at "recreational" activities but flares up at higher "race" intensities/efforts (i.e. short rides are fine, long tempo rides cause pain etc...)

    LMN's advice is sensible. Start with short rides and increase time slowly and methodically. I've collected a lot of good info dealing with this. PM me your email address and I'll forward you some articles I found useful.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by LMN
    What is up with your knees?

    Knees are weird. I know several people (my wife being one of them) who have knee problems when they stop riding.
    i really don't know what is wrong. initial diagnosis was patella tendonitis, but the PT has been chasing the pain around my knee (it has moved) for the past 2.5 weeks. pain started near IT band connection (outside of knee) and petalla tendon (just below kneecap) and has since moved to the inside of the knee.

    i have ridden twice in the last three weeks when the knees felt like they might have come around, at the end of a 40 min regen spin (only tried this twice with same result) the knees started to have pain (mostly below kneecap, first ride had some pain outside knee, second ride had some pain inside). after the ride both knees felt like there was pressure in them, not so much pain as discomfort. i iced them both times, and both times it took 2 days before they started to feel normal-ish.

    i keep wondering if i should push through the pain and start up training, but it just doesnt seem that it would be smart.

  19. #19
    LMN
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    Quote Originally Posted by whybotherme
    i really don't know what is wrong. initial diagnosis was patella tendonitis, but the PT has been chasing the pain around my knee (it has moved) for the past 2.5 weeks. pain started near IT band connection (outside of knee) and petalla tendon (just below kneecap) and has since moved to the inside of the knee.

    i have ridden twice in the last three weeks when the knees felt like they might have come around, at the end of a 40 min regen spin (only tried this twice with same result) the knees started to have pain (mostly below kneecap, first ride had some pain outside knee, second ride had some pain inside). after the ride both knees felt like there was pressure in them, not so much pain as discomfort. i iced them both times, and both times it took 2 days before they started to feel normal-ish.

    i keep wondering if i should push through the pain and start up training, but it just doesnt seem that it would be smart.
    Try what I suggested above, high frequency low duration. A lot of people have had success in getting over their off-season knee problems with this approach.

    Now, hopefully this nasty flu that I am in process of coming down with doesn't wipe me out for too long.

  20. #20
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    Agree with LMN, stay active if possible - just keep the duration below whatever irritates the injury. That can be hard to judge, and it can be hard to keep from doing too much sometimes. One approach is starting at 20 minutes or whatever and add 15% per week. You may be able to ramp up faster, or slower than that, its important to listen to your body and not stick to the program no matter what. Don't go out and exercise every time until irritation occurs, that's just making things worse - quit before that happens.

  21. #21
    MC Hammer
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    3yrs off serious riding/racing....just now getting back into it

  22. #22
    Brant-C.
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    you'll be back in shape within 6 weeks!
    I just like riding my mountain bike.

  23. #23
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    might get to spin for 15 mins tomorrow morning (hoping the knees will cooperate to do so)

    on the bright side, i am going to take the course to get my moto license this weekend. after that i will test ride a few and then make my purchase. gotta be out there in the hills near my girl one way or another.

  24. #24
    MC Hammer
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    sold my road bike almost 2yrs ago and got this.....tons of fun


  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by whybotherme
    might get to spin for 15 mins tomorrow morning (hoping the knees will cooperate to do so)

    on the bright side, i am going to take the course to get my moto license this weekend. after that i will test ride a few and then make my purchase. gotta be out there in the hills near my girl one way or another.
    I've had a Kawasaki Z750S and 3 Suzuki SV650's. Very fun. If my IT band doesn't recover quickly I may have to get another motorcycle.

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