Regaining Endurance after Major Year-Long Injury

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  • #16683

    I’m looking for some advice and input on how to get back my endurance. About a year ago, I broke my right femur and fractured my right elbow in 3 places taking a fall ice climbing. To round that out, while biking 5 months later, I did a slow endo over the handle bars, put another fracture into the elbow, re-broke the femur and made my right collar bone into 4 pieces. The femur decided to rebel and not heal after that (clinically called a non-union) until just recently when I used an osteoporosis medication off-label to restart the healing, which it did. I’m now pretty much pain free.
    I’m working hard in the gym with a great personal trainer getting my leg strength, mobility, and overall strength back. I’m back to where I was pre-injury strength wise.
    Here’s the issue. I’m using TrainingPeaks to track my fatigue and fitness levels, doing lots of consistent work through the week on an indoor bike trainer putting in AeT biking for 1 1/2hrs plus, starting some easy treadmill runs at 17min/mile pace, and adding in some hikes (White Mtns NH). I went out for a 3.5mile hike, 15lbs pack, about 1400ft elev gain over about 2.5hrs. I was totally wiped out for 2 days afterward. To put this in perspective, a couple years ago, we did E Ridge Temple car to car in 17hrs.
    Are my expectations too high? I know I’ve got a year ahead of me, but the setbacks from small hikes is tough. OBTW, I’m 65

    Thoughts and input gratefully accepted


  • Inactive
    Anonymous on #16691

    Give it time. It will come back. You’ve put your body through the wringer the past year and I would expect it to take another year to get half way back to where you were when you did the E ridge of Temple (really good time by the way, that’s a challenging climb for route finding). At our age major trauma like this takes a much bigger toll than 30 years ago. I’d suggest dialing back the ago meter a bit too. More years like this and you might no recover.

    Most of your body’s energy has been going into healing this past year. Now that you know that this recent hike was too much, dial back to 1/2 that for a few hikes till those become easy. Overdoing it will not be the most effective way to rebuild your body and it’ll take a big mental toll. Set smaller, more achievable and regular goals.

    It really is going to be more about your mind than your body. Your body will get fitter but you need to not be hard on yourself. In my long history of coaching I have found that I and the those I do much better with positive reinforcement as opposed to negative.

    Good luck and keep us posted.

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