Friday, May 25, 2012

You Don't Lose As Much As You Think!

Good morning!

I'm really tired of saying, thinking, and writing about my most recent injury…Achilles tendonitis.  If you follow my blog on a daily basis, I’m sure you are too.  Starting Wednesday, I decided to give myself a rest from running and take at least five days off to see how it feels.  I also scheduled a doctor appointment for this coming Tuesday with the same orthopedic surgeon who diagnosed my IT band issues back in February.  I want this baby gone and healed ASAP.  Can you tell I’m impatient?  That I'm insanely addicted to this sport, once again?

So, as I was thinking about my little deviation from running, I began to wonder about fitness level loss.  Through research, I found a plethora of articles on this subject and I included a few good websites that contain this exact information. 

First, some of the articles I found are written by, or cited advice of the infamous coach, Dr. Jack Daniels. I actually had the pleasure of meeting Coach Daniels several times in back college while competing at the Division III national level.  At the time, he headed SUNY Cortland's program, where he perennially had athletes attend the national meets both in cross-country and track.     

Coach Daniels wrote an article titled 7 Tips for Taking Time Off.  Here, he recommends logging injuries in a journal by including when and how the injury began, therapies used, and how long it took to heal.  His theory is that a log will help runners handle similar injuries in the future.

Daniels suggests planning solid breaks from running.  Whether it is a break for a long period of time or shorter ones broken apart throughout the year, the body needs rest…injury or no injury.  This concept reminds me of the breaks we used to have in high school or college.  Since most distance runners run and compete year-round, it is common to take a week off after each season to regroup, as well as prepare for the start of the next season.  

I also found a good blog post by Coach Joe English of Portland, Oregon, where he is the managing editor for Running Advice and News.  He included a snapshot from Daniels' book that outlined approximately how much cardiovascular fitness one would lose from down time.  These are the given sample values:

Up to 5 days — no loss
7 days off — 0.6%
14 days off — 2.7%
21 days off — 4.8%
28 days off (one month) — 6.9%
56 days (two months) — 15.3%

Judging from these numbers, I think I will be fine.  It’s funny, as most of you are aware, runners work so hard to gain strength and lower times, so losing any of what was built is a disappointment and a downer. 

An article titled Losing Running Fitness on the Runner’s Connect website stated that there is “little reduction in VO2max in a well-trained runner for the first ten days of non-activity.”  Well-trained means the runner trained consistently for a four to six month time period.  They put together a little chart that outlined reductions in fitness levels over a period of time using a 20 minute 5k runner as a guide.  Take a look:

To me, this is all very interesting, as well as enlightening.  Most runners are dedicated creatures so any time off can seem like it’s the end of the world.  Apparently not!  As always, the purpose of my blog is to share my experiences with you…so if any of this information can help ease the pain of not running, I will be a happy girl.

Make it a great Friday!


PS.  In the next few days, I {hope} to attempt a swimming workout given to me by Jesse.  This {in itself} should be hilarious since I haven't been in a pool to swim actual laps in probably over two decades!  :)

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