We all experience extended interruptions in our training at some point in our lives. What does the science say about deconditioning–specifically how long can the body go without exercise/stimulus before performance is impacted? For example, if I stop riding my bike today, how many days before I can expect to see a drop in my ftp or map?
2 weeks rest is not going to do anyone any harm. The only potential risk is if that time away breaks your routine i.e. 2 weeks becomes 3 weeks, 4 weeks and then before you know it 6 months+ I’m sure most of us have been there at some point!
Hi, I’m 56 now and here’s some observations from my experience only.
loss of peak form happens quicker and regaining it takes much longer when older.
doing nothing the day before a race results in a worse performance than a short moderate work out the day before.
I can have a week on low volume/intensity, but any longer and the form drops away.
4 weeks plus of little exercise would result in me needing 4 -6 months of hard training to recoup peak form (instead of 2months when younger). I now lose about 15% ftp, 10% of that returns within 2 mths, but it’s that last 5% that takes the time.
my preferred voluntary recovery periods are kept short as needed, still a little HIIT, but mostly including a few very easy rides for fun and to keep the legs spinning.
At the moment though,just got a cast off after calf muscle tear, so a long road back to form awaits.
Hi @DRT! There are various rates of decay in fitness, where from an absolute peak of fitness you might see a 2-3% decrease in Anaerobic Capacity with just a week of complete de-training, to the potential of a 2-3% increase in MAP and FTP with 2-4 days completely off. Generally speaking for FTP and MAP to decline, you’d need about 10-days of near complete rest to see a demonstrable decrease in either of those two values. Performing 2 reduced training sessions per week for 3-4 weeks would tend to preserve your current level of fitness in those areas with little drop. Of course, there are variations depending on how fit you are when you take a break, but generally speaking a week or two of complete rest from training (but not being bed-ridden) is a healthy part of any annual training schedule. If you have a more extended period of time with limited training, you’d be better off keeping one quality/high intensity session a week than just keeping everything easy or moderate. As a general rule, we usually expect rebuilding fitness to take about 2-4X at long as it takes to lose it, assuming you’re healthy and training with purpose and progression. Hope that helps!