Will taking time off from training make me slow?

A change is as good as a rest, but can a rest be good? Will taking some time off from training ruin your hard earned fitness?

Recently I had to take some time off the bike. Nine straight days of no cycling plus a further 5 days away from my road bike. In total I had a break of 14 days from training and my much loved road bikes. Two whole weeks of no training! I was a little concerned about losing all my hard earned fitness, but couldn’t really complain as it was a two week holiday in Vietnam! #firstworldproblems

Don’t mind me, I’ll just wait here and put my feet up for a while…

April and I tend to do a lot of walking on our breaks, seeing the sights and exploring by foot away from the tourist traps, plus we were mostly eating healthy and delicious Vietnamese food so it’s not like I was overindulging on sugary cocktails while lazing in a deck chair. For the final five days I had access to a hotel shopper bike – complete with cane basket – so did a few rides on that for fun.

So after two weeks away from training did I lose much fitness?

On my first road ride back I felt great! Refreshed and ready. Even though it was only a cafe ride I still managed some high Strava segment results and my legs felt strong. Back on Zwift I smashed my virtual Box Hill time by 30 seconds, adding 15 watts to my 8-minute power PB. My average power tracked similar to before the break too, so it’s safe to say the time off didn’t negatively impact my fitness much, if at all. :-)

Don’t worry, be happy. You’ll come back stronger than ever!

If you’re worried about taking a break from cycling and losing fitness, worry not my friends. Enjoy that holiday or time away from two wheels. Use it to recover, unwind, spend time with friends and family. Relax. After all, you’ve probably earned it!

5 Comments Add yours

  1. bgddyjim says:

    I had the same experience. Drove me a little batty but when I got back, I felt AWESOME.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yep I was dreading the time off, but then took a step back at realised whinging because I can’t ride my bicycle for a few days is pretty trivial. We lead such privileged lives.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. J.E. Lowder says:

    Good post and very true. Without sounding like the proverbial grumpy old man, I will add that when you get over 50 (i.e., like me!) then you do lose some power/fitness loss when you take that much time off. Of course, one’s memory also begins to slip so you can’t really remember anyway. :)

    Liked by 2 people

  3. mellowdave says:

    Inevitably I convince myself that some small time off will destroy all my hard work, then I roll out and PR my favorite loop. I took a few days off last week because of travel and then I rode Monday and my legs felt endless.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Nothing quite like that fresh legs feeling! :-)

      Liked by 1 person

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