Coming back to training after a two week trip

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  • #17262

    I’ve just returned from a two week winter climbing trip to the Dolomites, which was unfortunately hampered by poor conditions in the mountains. We did a bit of climbing, but ended up mainly skiing, with a few days off here and there.

    However, returning to training this week I’ve noticed a fair decline in my aerobic fitness (struggling to stay in Z1 in training runs at the moment) and in strength (particularly stuff like pull-ups).

    Two questions:

    1. Can anyone point me towards any academic literature on how much strength/aerobic fitness one can expect to lose in a certain length of time after training ceases?

    2. What are the recommendations for getting back into the training cycle? I was 6 months deep in a training cycle so I’m really hoping I haven’t undone too much of the hard work here.


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    Anonymous on #17263

    A couple of general rules:

    #1: Aside from needed rest and recovery days (which increase fitness), additional days off will “cost” you 2.5 times the duration. So if you’re fully recovered and take additional time off, each day off will take 2.5 days to rebuild.

    “Whenever the athlete stops training, a “detraining” process sets in, inducing a relatively rapid loss of the acquired adaptation. For example, half the increase in mitochondria from five weeks of training may be lost in one week of detraining. Since the number of mitochondria substantially determines the endurance capacity of the [athlete], it is obvious that the loss of one week of training will have a marked effect on the endurance.”
    ~ Jan Olbrecht, The Science of Winning, p. 8

    #2: For every unplanned day off, plan on at least one training day below aerobic threshold. You need to rebuild aerobic capacity before adding anything on top of it.

    I hope that helps.

    amathie on #17269

    Thanks Scott, that’s super useful. Just to be clear, are you saying that ideally, one would have 2.5 days per unplanned day off (#1), but you can get away with doing (at least) 1 day per unplanned day off (#2)?

    amathie on #17270

    Just for anyone reading this thread in the future — I’ve just seen this post from September which was also useful (my bad for not searching before posting!)

    When we have to stop training…

    Aaron on #17305

    If you want to geek out more this podcast on tapering is very relevant to the question of volume needed to maintain.

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