Getting your training schedule derailed for a lengthy period is any OCD athlete’s worst fear. Brought down by 14 days of flu myself, I was grasping at straws to reassure myself I am not losing all my fitness. My Fenix 3 training logs had their own story to tell, and I was forced to look at a different, bigger picture. But how do you find this picture in your training logs?
As a “low volume” athlete, I know I can tackle most races, even Ironman, with 40 hours training per month. With flu setting in, I had 2 weeks of less that 90 minutes training per week. OCD set in and I had to take a look at what price I might pay for this.
Garmin Connect told me my previous 12 month’s training hours were 476. Divided by 12, I got to 40 hours per month. Courtesy of those hours I graced my mantelpiece with 2 Ironman 70.3 trophies and an SA XTerra and ITU triathlon age group title, amongst others. So, 40 hours were deemed a working recipe for this wannabe, but with 14 days of almost no training, my hours have dropped to 27 for the last 30 days. A 30% drop in this month’s hours. Imagine the fear and anxiety. How unfit did I get?
Sports scientists say that within 7-14 days of no training, aerobic fitness starts to drop. Take note, “starts” to drop. Another variable is your base fitness. The longer, the better. Could a 14 day layoff be very negative, or just a blip on the radar?
This was the big picture: I had a year with 40 hours average training per month, and now one 1 month of 27 hours thrown into the mix. That forms a solid base, with one slight dip. The emotional factor was the flu. Feeling like a train ran you over, makes you feel all fitness is gone. With a formula that is a story for another day, a dip of 2,5% fitness is the utmost worst case scenario with the 13 hours I have lost. In terms of resting, it could even have benefited me. All that is necessary, is to steadily get back to my regular hours.
So, if your training gets derailed, look at the big picture. Draw your conclusions in terms of a sensible time period. Rome wasn’t built in a day, neither does it get broken down in a day. The human body is awesome, and tools like the Garmin Fenix 3 help with understanding and managing it. Use it to your advantage.