As you may have noticed from my recent posts, I haven’t been running much over the last couple of weeks due to blisters sustained in a half
marathon. No training and no races, with just a couple of swimming sessions to keep things ticking over.
With my next championship race upcoming this Sunday, I began to panic about if and how my lack of running may have affected my fitness. My last ten mile race was in November 2013 where I got a PB of 66 minutes, so this time I was hoping to go sub 65 (one of my targets for this year).
So off I went to find out how not running for two weeks affects your running fitness!
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.
So according to Geoff I’ll be running my 10 miles 6% slower – so should finish in about 70 minutes.
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!)
“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.”
Well my Blackmore Vale Half Marathon run was probably the toughest run I’ve ever done, mentally and physically so perhaps a little break has been of benefit. My dodgy ankle niggle that I couldn’t seem to lose has certainly disappeared!
Basically it’s largely about 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.
Blisters feeling better so will attempt a leisurely 5 miler this evening. Need to do something before 10 miles on Sunday!