Question: l’m training for a century this spring so I trained all winter, following the schedule in your Off-Season Training for Roadies. Things were going great until I got a bad cold and was off the bike for two weeks. Now I feel like I’ve lost all my fitness. Should I start over from the beginning? — Manuel G.
Coach Fred Matheny Replies: Unplanned time off is supremely frustrating,especially if your training has been going well. But it’s rare to lose significant fitness in two weeks.
In fact, the annals of pro racing are full of great performances by riders who missed several weeks (or even months), then quickly returned to form and won big races.
When Greg LeMond took his first professional world road championship, it wasn’t long after he missed several weeks of racing because of a wrist injury. If you’ve been riding regularly for a few years, the time off might even do you good!
Having missed only two weeks, don’t start over at the beginning of the training plan. Simply ride easily for a week, with no efforts above 85% of you maximum heart rate.
Cruise, enjoy the scenery and the fun of being back on the bike. If all goes well that week, resume your training where you left off.
Be honest with yourself about how you feel. Sometimes a cold or flu can leave you weak for days after the stuffy nose and cough have vanished. don’t push it or you’llrisk a relapse.