Holiday has killed my running

I only started running in March, and did the 5k Race for Life late June in 27mins which I was really pleased with. However, I've just had a 4 week break from running and now find I can barely manage a mile. Is it normal to lose fitness so quickly? Any suggestions on how to get it back - or do I just go back to walk/run for a while?


  • I am no expert on this but I would imagine that most people start to lose fitness after about 3 weeks or so. Its probably a good idea to ease back into your running and take walking breaks for a week or so. Fitness will come back much quicker than when you first started out in March so keep at it and don't get disheartned.
  • Aye Ive just come back from a 3 week holiday and its hard.

    Ease back in slow and you'll be surprised how quickly it all come back
  • drewdrew ✭✭✭
    You actually start to lose fitness after 3 days inactivity!

    As everyone says, just ease back slowly. You'll probably be back to your pre-holiday fitness level in about 2 weeks.

    Don't lose heart and remember that some elite athletes take 3 or 4 weeks break every year. They too have to start off at a much reduced level.
  • Yep! Drew is rightyou start too lose fitness very fat. If your sensible you will have your old levels back soon enough. It is easier to begin again than it was to build up the fitness originally.

  • I was reading my running bible last night and they reckoned that after 5-7 days there is no noticable loss of fitness - in fact you may even run faster as all those niggly injuries heal.

    After that it depends on whether you go completely sedentary or whether you substitute any other aerobic exercise. However, the (somewhat depressing) conclusion of the book was that after that you would lose broadly 5% of fitness every week of inactivity. Encouragingly though they also say for every missed week it will take you two weeks to get back to the same level. Therefore, after a 4 week break it will probably take 6-8 weeks to get back to fitness.

    Be careful though as they also say that cardio vascular fitness recovers more quickly that musculoskeletal fitness - i.e. you will feel fit enough to run further before your body is ready.

    Broadly this is saying the same as everyone else i.e. ease back in slowly.
  • Jo

    How's it going now?
  • Thats quite reasurring. I've not run for around 7 wks due to various reasons and wondered how long it would take to get back to 'normal'. However, I have been continuing resistance training and found that when I went for a short run this week, my legs were able to carry on, but my lungs cried stop. I guess its obvious really. Its just a bit disheartening.
  • Surprised to see this popping up again! Well, it took me a while to get going again - a combination of non-running on holiday, and hay fever / asthma season. I guess I lost so much fitness so quickly because at the time I had only been running a few months.

    However, I'm over that now. Although I did a lousy 3.5 mile tempo run this evening (not sure why - just a bad day for some reason), I'm running about 16 miles a week now, including one run of 6 - 7 miles.

    Thanks for asking Nick, and Georgia - don't be disheartened , you WILL get there !!

  • Very impressive - more than my weekly average.

    Glad you're enjoying it again
  • Holidays really do seem to be the killer. I'd only just started to run and was determined to continue on holiday in Portugal. Thought if I went earlyish in the morning it might not be too bad - went the first time and this huge dog bounded toward me barking and spitting and that was that for the holiday running. Unfortunately, it seems that was that for running. I just can't get back into it. I bought Bob Glover's Running Handbook which is brilliant but I just keep coming up with fantastic reasons why I can't step out the door - obviously I need waterproof tracksters, its a bit chilly/blowing a gale etc, etc. Any help at all would be very much appreciated. Thank you.
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