Recovering from serious injury

Hello Sirs, Dames, and Citizens.
Sparing all the gory details, but my (U.S. - based) summer season came to a sudden halt in late May when I had a serious crash. I crushed 5 ribs, collarbone, 2 surgeries, punctured lung. Fortunately, no significant head injury, my bike was less fortunate.

I’ve been necessarily laid up until next week when I can start to ride again on a trainer.

The experience of de-training has been frustrating.

I’m sure others here have started to retrain after more serious or similar events. I am looking for tips, lessons learned, etc. for what has helped, esp when jumping right back in to HIIT workouts probably isn’t realistic. Thoughts on what value could a coach bring to this process?

Thanks in advance,


Hey Sir Dave,
Sorry to hear about your injury. I’m glad to see you are well on the road to recovery. I have both experienced serious injury and the pleasure of being a coach. As you get back into riding, you’ll want to start off ridiculously slowly. Monitoring you body’s response to the workouts is key. The road back will not be linear and you might need to take extra rest. Starting out at 10-20minutes of easy riding is realistic and then increase from there. Keep your increase in volume to no more than 10%/ week . You will come back from this! Let me know if you have any more questions.


The above guideline for 10% per week is a very good one. Maybe every 4-6 weeks just have a week where you dial it back to 50% or so before ramping back up. Depending on how long you had off, and with the extent of those injuries, it may be almost a case of starting from scratch. Even just riding gently for 20mins or so and keeping your HR in check, try keeping in Z2 and just see how you get on. Just do maybe 3 rides per week and just gradually increase the riding. Personally, I wouldn’t be doing anything above endurance power zone and HR for a good couple of months until you are able to ride for 60+ mins without feeling spent. When you do start increasing the power don’t increase the distance/time as well. Having 1 thing increase is 1 extra load for your body to absorb, but having both time AND intensity increase can often be too much.

Once you have been able to do 1 hour+ without too much of a problem then just try throwing in a few short tempo efforts, even if they’re just 60 seconds or so to gauge how you feel.

It is a difficult and long road, be patient, and try to reset your gauge on your fitness. Don’t think of “I used to be so much fitter” but start from a “new you” where you can then just see the gains you’re making.

Good luck, patience and fortitude are your friends.

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Between spencer.roberts and ross you got great advice. As a personal trainer I say “ditto”. Read those posts again every once in awhile to make sure you haven’t gotten ahead of yourself. Too much too fast or too little will extend recovery and return. Best luck.


I really appreciate these comments. I’ve taken to heart the advice about the mental challenge and I am sure I’ll return to these comments in the future.

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Hey @daveschutter, one more reference for you if you’ve not seen it. Good luck on your journey back from Ouchlandria.