Recovery from surgery

I had a septoplasty (nasal surgery for deviated septum) two weeks ago. The good news is that I am breathing better than I ever have in my life(I did not know that breathing through the nose was normal) so the surgery appears to have been a success. I was instructed to limit my activity to nothing strenuous and to keep it to some longer walks to let myself heal as the risk of bleeding was high and could be more of a setback. I have followed the directions and based on pre-surgery discussions expect that tomorrow I will be told to gradually start to return to my normal levels of exercise.

I would love some feedback on how to get back into working out and to rebaseline my numbers. Here is where I was and my plan.

First week do some ad-hoc workouts all in level mode where I can back off. Starting with stuff like getting away with it. Add back strength, but at a lower level I was on Intermediate 3-4 and am thinking doing intermediate 1B and if that is good 2A.

Second week if all goes well do a half monty to see where I really am and keep with ad-hoc work going by feel. Strength 2B and 3A.

Third week. I am on a vacation where the goal is to do mountain biking as much as possible. Some lone rides here were one of my season goals. However, I will have to adapt as much as I can to reality.

Fourth week recovery → 4DP to see what my new numbers really are.

FF after 4 weeks imo is extremely optimistic and could do more harm than good. monitor your current training progressions and make sure you’re cleared by the medics who are treating you. be honest with them and tell them you’re planning to go all out on a fitness test, I’m sure they’ll come up with good advice

@MichaelG great to hear that your surgery went well and your breathing has tremendously improved. When you have surgery on a highly vascular area, such as nasal/rhino area you have a high risk of a bleed. It takes 3-4 weeks for your vessels to seal and repair enough to handle rises in blood volume and pressure, without rupture. It is vital that you keep your blood pressure from rising for a few weeks. Your full recovery will aid you not only in surgical recovery but also in you training adaptations and you should be very mindful and take full advantage of this time for recovery.

The most important part of your recovery right now is to keep your blood pressure from rising, which may cause vessel bleeds in your surgical areas. For the next 3 weeks I would do nothing more than starting with 20 minute spins at recovery level and back off if you have any rise in blood pressure or heart rate above recovery. After a week, you can extend these spins to 30 minutes and then the 3rd week an hour. If doing Yoga, eliminate any poses with your head positioned downward or below your waist (eliminating the added weight or pressure on the head). If doing any strength, do not use weight the first week and then transition to 5lb. weights only. No actual training should take place until you are released to do so by your medical team. You should be very straight forward with them when you tell them what you want to resume. It takes 4-6 weeks to fully heal from any surgery that is heavily vascular so I would not plan to resume former levels of training for at least a month. Sorry to be the “Reality Black Cloud” but training too early can really have significant setbacks for your surgery and overall training goals.

Remember that recovery weeks are your most important and no testing should ever be done during, or even at the end, of a recovery week. It takes your body a full 7 days for the training adaptations to take place and complete. Adding intensity or testing, even at the end of the recovery week, will inhibit the competition of the adaptations, rendering your previous training useless. You might find the following article helpful during this time.

Remember to focus on the long term and big picture. A few weeks of lower intensity and rest will give you far more long term benefits than to push your return to intensity and training and cause a longer recovery window and maybe long term damage.

Thank Low and Slow to go Fast in the Future!!!

All the best for your recovery!!


The good news is that I just met with my surgeon. I have an all clear to resume activities. Per her things are looking really good and are going to get even better. That said she also said to not go full bore right away and to ramp up and to pay attention to how I feel. It sounds like from the feedback that a more realistic plan from here is (note I am already 2 weeks post op).

Week 1) Get some recovery/base rides and do not push it, but get some movement back.
Week2 ) add in strength level 1 (those would often be in a recovery week training plan for me before).
Week 3) Start to look to add a bit of intensity, but keep it endurance/base focused and no real time at threshold or map. This assumes that week 1 and 2 feel good.

From there it is really I think going to have to be realistically by feel. If I feel pressure I stop if I feel good I keep going.

One other thing that the Coach didn’t touch on is Yoga. On The Road is an excellent way to retain and regain strength and was my go to routine when I broke my collarbone earlier this year. I worked back to recovery rides and loved the Earth Circle series with the ride from the North Cape to the tip of Sweden. Five ‘reovery’ level rides with a great story.