Fitness Loss aka how long is a piece of string - Systm settings 100% or reduce?

As the topic title says, how much should I reduce my intensities after a short break and somewhat inconsistent and minimal training? And therefore how quickly is fitness lost?

To contextualise!!

Life sometimes gets in the way and I know that takes precedence for me. Work, family, back troubles, son racing etc. I get it. Recently life has thrown a lot my way, especially last few weeks. But, be positive and move forward.

So, I was existing on a couple/three short sessions a week e.g. Cure/Something FTP based/Half is Easy as a mid week 3 day block. I would switch the order or switch the odd ride if I could eek out a few more mins. This with an hour to two at the weekend zone 2 ish or if no time another short MAP/FTP session.

It kept me moving along and kept me on my last 4DP figures and I could complete workouts ok on them.

That reduced to only doing Cure/Half is easy on Tuesdays/Thursdays with the odd ride at the weekend or again, 30min FTP/MAP session and riding around the circuit in reverse when my son was racing, or indeed just watching and bottle passing. I felt as though I was not going backwards and could complete the workouts on current 4DP settings.

But… I could still manage on the last 4DP figures. Last 2/3 weeks consisted of 4 road rides on vacation in the Italian hills in Le Marche (Tirreno Adriatica territory) and a couple of TT efforts on the flattest bit of road I could find.

Now, back home and a week and a half of work from hell, a bad back and no training at all!!

So, looking to get back into it and looking to be “Cured” tomorrow. I have a short window to blast something out. So, to cut to the chase …

After such erratic training, lack of training and nothing for a week and a half, is the Cure a good idea? If so, what intensity? Give it a go 100% and reduce or start at something like 95%

If not, what to do? Ease back in with No Place Like Home? Or any other suggestions.

Your collective wisdom would be appreciated.

Hey @FatSprinter ,
Welcome back to training! I assume your back is ok and you’ve been cleared to train. If so, I’d recommend doing Recharger instead of The Cure. If you want to get on a plan, I’d suggest Cycling Essentials and definitely doing some strength work especially, activating the core. Not knowing your goals or availability to train I’d say that’d be a starting point. You can also reduce your 4DP numbers by 5% and see how it feels when performing the workouts. Generally it takes twice as long as the layoff to get back to where you were. Hope that helps.



Thanks for the advice coach. Recharger it is and I’ll move up from there if Recharger goes well. I like that session. Cleared completely by physio, but also did a physio session including core and legs yesterday so maybe nothing too hard today. I feel good and ready to train and will ensure I stretch afterwards, this is key for my back.
On another note, being 54 with aches and pains from sat down computer work, I’m now seeing the increasing importance of Core and Strength training. I must admit, being time crunched I had ignored this. Not any more!! Thanks again.


Echoing @Coach.Spencer, but in the mid/longer term, maybe consider retesting rather than constantly tweaking your effort %?

Life very much does get in the way sometimes.


@FatSprinter Core strength is important but don’t forget those hamstrings which is really where back issues usually come from. When you are sitting your quad gets longer and your hamstring shorter. Try to fit the yoga videos in a few times a week. I do it every day along with the mobility videos.


I was thinking this same thing. Would be more efficient and accurate rather than estimating %. And then when you feel the workouts are getting easier again you can retest to see your new numbers.

I was in a similar situation earlier this year. I hit my PR FTP the beginning of December. Then I took the holidays off and rode lightly in January. In February I was riding Defender and 100% intensity was impossible even on the first effort when I was freshest. 85% or 90% intensity felt close to 100% effort. But because I was riding Defender every day I didn’t have the time or recovery to retest.

But since you aren’t in the middle of a situation like that, you have the ability to rest and recover for a couple days and then do HM or FF to get an accurate assessment of your numbers. And that will be the best way to give you the most accurate numbers and set you up correctly for your training.

I know a lot of us don’t like to see our FTP value drop, so we will put off doing a test. But really, our 4DP metric isn’t an innate part of who we are. It is just a snapshot in time of our current fitness level and a valuable tool to give us the best training. So, we shouldn’t be afraid to test more often to improve our training.

And as I think Sir Neal has said, testing is training, but training isn’t testing.

So, don’t be afraid to test. Your training and fitness will thank you for it.


You get a +1 to retesting. I recommend it any time you need to “move the needle” over an extended period of time, not just for one or two workouts.


Hmm. Never heard or thought about this quad gets longer and hamstring shorter (when sitting) factor. But I can say that doing the Foundation Training Original 12mins w Dr Eric Goodman video on YouTube as my GO-TO short workout over the last 11 months has radically improved my life as far as low back pain goes, and I’m convinced one of the most important results of that workout for me has been lengthening my hamstrings, as well as strengthening them. I pause the video for a few extra seconds of holds or reps at many points during the workout so I generally do 16-17 minutes of those exercises.

I also do the 6pack Abs 8pt Plank Challenge right after doing the Original 12mins video, which gives a front side of the body balance to the first workout, and only adds 4-6 minutes. I immediately jump forward to the actual 8-rep tabata section, but I now just hold the 8pt plank solid all the way through all the 10-second rests and then extend the time a little longer, as I’ve gotten used to doing it and have a stronger core now.
Together, these two workouts takes about 25 minutes, and I try to do it several times a week. It makes an enormous difference to my well-being and managing low back pain, and it’s as simple as starting the YouTube video and going through them. I feel better afterwards EVERY TIME without fail.
I know I’ve posted these before, but just for easy access, here are the links for anyone wanting to check them out:


Funnily enough, the physio did say I was quad dominant and it was working everything else to correct the imbalance including core and stretching. Must suck it up and find time for core and stretching.


:scream: Maybe retest soon, just need life to let go a little first. I was mentally scared from the last one for not being as fresh and prepared as I could’ve been


@emacdoug Absolutely agree. I suspect the issue for many is that testing often overweights emotions given the effort level occurring making it hard to approach with a balanced view.


:joy: One of the lines Dr. Goodman says in the video as he is explaining the form on one of the stretches is “Cyclists always want to use their quads! Don’t do that!” (on that exercise.)


I think it depends on the duration of the intervals. For instance my best ever sprint power was after a break but there is no way you can do long intervals. I’m having difficulty remembering that video but I think it was mainly VO2 intervals so I’d be inclined to reduce them by 5% whereas if they were FTP I’d reduce them by 10% and sprint intervals by 0%, although once the sprints are close together it become more aerobic and I’d reduce them too because I find recovery between intervals is one of the first things to get worse during a break.

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Actually, you should be using your glutes rather that your quads for maximum power. It’s interesting that i started doing this and my power when up.


Recognising the need for S&C as we grow older is crucial for injury prevention. At 49, I learned the hard way with meniscus tear and rotator cuff tear, both requiring surgery. The cause, 30 year old mind and no S&C. Played cricket and hockey for first time since child. When we are younger we can get away with it, but tendons especially are weak if not conditioned and easily torn. Achilles the most common and a horrible recovery. Plantar fascitis another. Good luck.


Don’t forget stretching and Yoga workouts! They help greatly.


I have to keep reminding myself not do do dumb stuff. Like sprinting for a train (pulled calf), playing in friendly end of season parents and kids softball for my daughters softball team (pulled hamstring), trying to get running again and doing a steady 5k and finishing myself of with a Cure, it was fine that day, but a run for something (can’t remember what now) an another pulled calf. Strength, conditioning, stretching and a warm up warm down all necessary along with not doing dumb stuff 'cos I think I’m half my age!!


What are some cues or drills that would bias you towards glutes vs hamstrings/quads? I’m having trouble visualising what that would feel like on the bike

Elements of Style discusses the various muscle groups used while pedaling.
The Strength workouts emphasize those muscles used in cycling.


Single leg drills in strength training emphasize using the Glutes vice using the Quads as the Glutes are the primary muscles used during the power stroke.