Forum home Road cycling forum Training, fitness and health

How much cycling fitness will I lose?

brucey72brucey72 Posts: 1,086
I went over on my knee on Wednesday whilst carrying a bag of cement at work. The result is a suspected tear of my meniscus in my right knee and the doctor has advised me to rest for at least 2-3 weeks although he said I can do some swimming. I didn't bother telling him that I can only swim about 25m max!!

The problem I have is that I am due to cycle the marmotte in 5 weeks time and have been training very hard for this event and am at the fittest I have ever been and was (I hope) on course for a decent time in this event. I was just about to embark on my final phase of training this week having built up my base over winter/early spring and been doing 2 *20's and hill repeats for the last month or so.

Now the question I have is this - if I follow doctors orders, which I will, and rest for the next two weeks and then start cycling again at a presumably much lower intensity than I do at the moment, how much fitness am I going to lose in this time? Will I retain the endurance that I have built up and maybe lose a bit of speed or should I just accept that given the timing of the injury I am unlikely to participate in this event? To be honest the way my knee feels at the moment, cycling again seems like a long way away.



  • cspcsp Posts: 777
    If I were you, I would just forget about any competitive cycling event this season. I know it's hard after all your training, but you might end up with something far more serious if you push yourself with a recent injury.
  • AnonymousAnonymous Posts: 79,692
    Give it proper rest for 3 weeks then tentatively give it a go, you may be surprised. I was out of the game for 10 weeks with a leg broken in three places and I was able to manage a 51 mile club run in just over three hours last Saturday Not quite in the same league as the marmotte but hey! I was told I may have trouble walking for the rest of my life so I'm happy with that. I did some hills yesterday and seemed to do ok, it's coming back quicker than expected.

    With a lesser injury and less time off you should be ok.

    If, however you start riding again and it doesn't feel right, stop!

    Also, don't expect to be at a similar level for a good few weeks..
  • brucey72brucey72 Posts: 1,086
    Cheers Nap D, I have been reading your upddates with interest. good luck with your recovery. Yes, its obviously difficult to tell at the moment how bad it is. I'll probably jump on my turbo next weekend if the inflammation has gone down and see if there is any reaction and take it from there.
  • liversedgeliversedge Posts: 1,002
    In 2 weeks you're looking at falling back to the form you had at the beginning of this year i.e. January/February.
    Obsessed is just a word elephants use to describe the dedicated.
  • freehubfreehub Posts: 4,258
    I actually think something like 2 weeks can make an improvement, after 3 or so weeks not a massive loss.

    Admittedly I have not had 2-3 weeks totally off cycling, but cause of my knee I massively cut mileage and for 2 weeks only did my commuter, about 3 miles each way 3 times a week, after that I started doing rides again and my fitness had actually improved, I managed a 37 mile loop with a couple of short climbs in at 20mph average! Now I know averages are not important but it shown I actually improved as before I could not do that.
  • liversedgeliversedge Posts: 1,002
    i'm assuming brucey72 has a lot of form and has been working hard in prep for La Marmotte.
    Obsessed is just a word elephants use to describe the dedicated.
  • brucey72brucey72 Posts: 1,086
    Yes, I have done a lot of training and have already reaped the rewards so far this season knocking 52 minutes off my time for the Richmond 5 Dale last weekend. I have been following a program that I drew up using various sources since last November and was aiming to peak for the Marmotte so am very concerned by the impact this abstenance will cause.

    I did incorporate "rest weeks" during the program but just cut out the high intensity workouts and cycled at approximately 55bpm below my Max Heart Rate during the recovery week.
  • nmcgannnmcgann Posts: 1,780
    My experience of a couple of weeks off the bike is that base fitness won't be too much affected, but top-end will have gone to pot. I see my HR 10-15bpm higher for the same power, but general endurance on less intense rides is OK. It takes me 2-3 weeks of hard work to get everything back to a reasonably normal state.

    I'd suspect you'd lose some top end speed, but provided you don't have any knee pain you should be OK.

    "Because the cycling is pain. The cycling is soul crushing pain."
  • BhimaBhima Posts: 2,145
    I've just had 33 days off.

    Since i've returned, this is what has happened:

    Day 1 - Went 5 miles in 17 minutes. Can usually do them in 13/14 minutes. When sprinting, my lungs gave in waaaaaaay before my legs started burning.

    Day 2 - Did 10 miles as the hardest pace I could. Can't remember the time but my breathing, again, was the main problem. Felt like a tank on any slight incline.

    Day 3 - Did 20 miles in 1hr 10 mins. Pushed a massive gear to get the legs buring. Breathing a bit better. Got out of the saddle for the first time to sprint and it felt awful!

    Day 4 - Did 20 miles in 1hr 6 mins. Breathing capabilites massively improved. Comfortably climbing/sprinting out of the saddle without trouble - legs burning hard though after 5/6 seconds.

    Day 5 - Did 54 miles. Speedometer battery died 43 miles in so have no time but it killed me! Did about 700m of climbing. The climb was about 25% slower than usual. Descending was good though. Breathing is fine, although still difficult on hills, as my weight has increased.

    Day 6 (Yesterday) - 10 miles in 24 minutes - sharing the work with another rider though. Another 10 miles done by myself in 33 minutes. Managed to hold 26mph for 4 minutes without a tailwind! Managed to equal my best time for a particular hill I go up often. (54 seconds).

    (The above days were not consecutive - I had rest days in there too).

    Today I feel great and it's only been just over a week before i've got back on the bike properly. It's been 36 days since I had a crash and was unable to ride.

    I think the key is to go out and do a very high-intensity ride ASAP. Read this: ... good-20115
  • freehubfreehub Posts: 4,258
    33 days off? It was less than 33 days ago that you came on a ride with me!!
  • BhimaBhima Posts: 2,145
    Last time I went on a ride with you was April 1st. I know because I keep a cycling diary of miles/places/other riders.
  • PomPom Posts: 9
    you might be lucky but i had a "suspected meniscus tear" 2 years ago. I am a keen skateboarder more so than cycling (cycling is a newer thing to me) and I couldn't do either for 6 months. That is because it wasn't a suspected tear after all. but I had fully torn my meniscus and needed surgery. Hopefully you won't have done that. Did your doctor schedule an MRI scan for you? I seriously advise you get it sorted. Because the NHS took so long with me they couldn't do much but if it gets seen to quickly they might be able to hurry the recovery along a bit.

    5 weeks seems to not be amibitious though, depends on the severity. Good Luck :)
  • brucey72brucey72 Posts: 1,086
    Thanks for the replies guys. Bhima - that is very helpful as I have so far been quite lucky with injuries and never actually had an enforced period of time of the bike. Thanks for that link too.

    Pom - my doctor said that if there is no improvement after the two weeks rest then I was to go back and see him. I will ask him about an MRI if I do.

    After sitting in the garden all day yesterday (my pedometer on my phone which is always in my pocket registered only 926 steps) and doing a few ice packs, the inflammation has reduced a bit. More of the same today.
Sign In or Register to comment.