How a Break in Running Training Affects Your Fitness
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How a Break in Running Training Affects Your Fitness

Not running for two weeks

Not running for two weeks!

A look at how a break in running training affects your fitness.

There’s nothing like running for giving you that incessant, nagging feeling that you really should be out for a run. This is of course no problem when you’re fit and healthy but comes to the fore when you’re laid out with an injury or illness.

How long am I going to be out? How’s it going to affect my fitness? How long to recover?

Well, after an injury took me out of action I had a look at the stats…

Cardio / Breathing

Geoff Gaudette on Runners Connect says that when it comes to your breathing (measured using VO2 Max):

“There is little reduction in VO2max for the first 10 days following inactivity in well-trained athletes. It is prudent here to mention that all of these guidelines assume you are a decently trained runner, having trained consistently for a 4-6 month period. Beginner runners will lose fitness at a slightly faster rate since they have a smaller base of fitness.

After two weeks of not running, studies show that VO2 max decreases by 6%. After 9 weeks VO2 max drops by 19%. After 11 weeks of no running, Studies demonstrate that VO2 max falls by 25.7% from peak physical fitness.

Mental State

There’s also evidence to suggest that having a two week break in your running can lead to increased symptoms of depression such as anxiety or insomnia, although I can’t say I’ve noticed this in general. Only the depressing thought that my times will be getting slower the longer I don’t train for!

Two Weeks Off Running is Fine (yey!)

Matt Johnson at Runners Academy says:

“You won’t lose your aerobic capacity or muscle power as long as your time away from running is less than two weeks.”

He even goes on to say:

“There are times when a week or two away from running is actually beneficial, such as after a strenuous marathon performance.”

So after a week to ten days out, it’s essentially about how it’s affected your confidence. Think you’re going to run a bad, slow race and you probably will. Go in to it thinking “I’ve had a nice break and now my muscles are full of fuel and energy!” and all should be ok.

Rob Murray

Rob Murray

A 100%, bona fide running geek! Rob loves running, running gear, and doing races then writing about them!
Rob Murray
Author: Rob Murray

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