After yesterday’s post about my specific situation with losing vs. retaining running endurance after our two-week trip to Kenya, one of my running role models and blogger-friends, Amanda, sent me a great link. I wanted to share it with you guys.
The article discusses research on the loss of aerobic fitness in cyclists, beginner runners, and “already-fit” runners. I was particularly interested in the latter of the three.
Research studies monitored the effects of de-training with endurance athletes who have a solid base of training and fitness (i.e., if you’ve been a runner for more than just a few months). They found:
- Initial rapid drop in fitness: after 12 days off…
- VO2 max had dropped by 7%
- Immediate gains from training like glycogen storage and muscle efficiency are reduced
- Enzyme levels in the blood (associated with endurance performance) had dropped by 50%
- Plateau effect of fitness loss: after 84 days off (12 weeks)…
- VO2 max had only dropped by 18% of its initial (pre-detraining) level
- Capillary density (# of small blood vessels that grow into your muscles) did not seem to be affected
- Bottom line(s):
- Decline in your immediate fitness is fairly rapid
- But your cardiovascular fitness (i.e., longer-term fitness gains) remains mostly intact (even after 12 weeks off)
No wonder I was able to jump back into my normal weekly mileage, but speed workouts have been slower than usual! I have some (speed work) catching up to do!
Thanks again for sending me this article, Amanda!
Runners: what’s your favorite hard/speed workout?