1st Week back after Hernia Surgery - Heart Rate for Endurance Rides off the Charts - When will it get back to normal?


Had Inquinal Hernia Surgery four weeks ago this past Tuesday. The Doc was adamant I give him four weeks off the bike and to start off slow until at least 6 weeks. I reluctantly followed his guidance and behaved.

So starting on Tuesday I am doing easy Endurance rides. The five weeks prior to surgery I was really working on increasing my aerobic fitness with longer rides and managing rides with a heart rate throttle ala the Fatmax approach while including a weekly VO2 ride as well. Was making noticeable progress with improvement in overall heart rate levels and lower decoupling over the course of this 5 weeks.

Am really concerned about what I have been experiencing this week. Heart rate levels are off the chart for the efforts involved. During the four weeks off the bike, I did do regular treadmill workouts (walking briskly with no running up to 4.4 mph) up to 1 3/4 hour sessions which did get my heart rate up to the mid 140s. I was hopeful this would help maintain my aerobic fitness gained prior to surgery.

The only thing different is that I switched to riding in my small front chain ring for the 3 efforts this week. I cannot believe this would have that much of an impact, but not sure. I will try the big chain ring tomorrow to see if that makes much of a difference.

Here are two rides for your review and comparison to see how big a swing I am having.

Hoping this resolves itself somewhat quickly as I really was happy with the gains made in terms of aerobic conditioning prior to the surgery and hoping it comes back relatively quickly. Any thoughts or insights are much appreciated.

Here are the rides:

Petit 01/10/20

Petit 12/08/2019

Experiences vary, but many people notice that this is more/different effort with lower gearing and the associated slower flywheel speed. It is not absolute, and varies with the trainer, rider history and other variables. There are some length discussions about exactly what is happening and why it varies for some people, but it is more than a subtle difference for some riders.

You have the right idea to return to what you used previously, to reduce the number of different variables.

Are you on any medication from the surgery?

No different meds post surgery. I am on a BP medication, but nothing different than before surgery. Although now that I think of it. I was off of the BP med for most of the time prior to surgery. Went on it just prior to the surgery (like 2 days before) and have been seeking off of it again post surgery. Not sure if that’s it or not. Have never noticed that this medication (Lisinipril) does much on my pulse rate though. But I suppose it could be part of the issue.

Overall, since being off the bike, my heart rate seems to be higher overall. Resting heart rate is up probably 4-5 bpm. And my pulse when starting the workouts gets up to 140+ very quickly…

Your 08dec pettit was after a ramp test and at the end of two weeks that were a local TSS maxima. Overreaching causes a lower heart rate during exertion.

Your 10jan pettit was after more than 5 weeks of complete rest so not only are you completely recovered & have a healthy store of couch muscle. So your heart rate is going to be a little higher. :wink: Do an intense workout…that will destroy your ‘couch muscle’. Then you’ll be back to baseline HR.

Hey! I had one done in May last year. I too took several weeks off per the doc. I had some recurring muscle soreness after training again and the doc sidelined me for another six weeks. That ended the first week in September.

I’ve now completed SSBI and II midvolumes and am halfway through General Build. I am just now feeling the fitness return.

Let your body heal. Even if you had the robotic mesh surgery, there were still steel rods in you, there is a new foreign substance in you (mesh) and your midsection got all kinda moved around. I’d also encourage you to ice the area after longer rides and not hesitate to take a day or two when your body says stop.

Feel free to reach out directly (anyone) to chat on this.

What he said… Inguinal hernia surgery is often not given the regard for the serious surgery it is. I’m glad to hear how your doc is talking… some surgeons will advertise crap like “get back to full speed in a week - yay!” - a recipe for disaster.

My HR’s always spike when I’m fresh. It just means you’re fresh, a little detrained - a non-issue in the big scheme.

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Following this as I have my surgery on Feb 7th. I’m trying to bank as much fitness as I can this month in the same way you did. I’ll compare my last effort with my following post surgery. I’ll do Petit just as you did. Should be interesting.

Given the stress your body went through with the surgery and anesthesia I’m not surprised you’re seeing some weird heart rate stuff. Would be curious to see the next couple of workouts and whether or not your heart rate settles into normal values for the work being done.

How are you feeling otherwise? Did you have pain while on the bike prior to surgery? I’m planning on starting light rides at an yet-to-be determined intensity and time as soon as 3 or 4 weeks after the day of surgery if all feels well.

I was off work before my surgery and did not return until 1.5 months after so I had a lot of freedom. As well my doctor told me I could ride 10 days after surgery.

I concentrated on Recess as my main ride as I did not want to have different changes in effort and just wanted to get my legs moving.

My surgery traditional way was March 21 2019. I took 10 days off. Did 2 outdoor walks over those 10 days and got in trouble from my family for both :). My ftp was around 273 before. On the 10th day I did recess at 129 watts : heart rate 112 max heart rate was 132. I was destroyed and exhausted.
week later 141 watts : Heart rate 130, max heart rate was 138. I felt way worse!
weekish later 163 watts :Heart rate 130, max heart rate was 141. I felt a little better.
Month Later 162 watts :Heart rate was 112, max heart rate was 121. I finally felt good.
I remember feeling quite tired after each ride and thinking it was a much larger effort than it should have been.

I think it will take a month of riding to get your heart used to the effort again at least from my experience. It was a month for me but I was riding 10 days after surgery.

First week after surgery was 1 day riding total 31 minutes. Tss 12 Ride RECESS. Felt destroyed!
Second week riding was 4 days riding, 4 rides total 3:44 Tss 132 Rides WHORL, PETTIT, RECESS.
Third week riding was 6 days riding, 9 rides total 11:16 riding tss 455 Rides 7X PETTIT 2 outdoor.
Fourth Week riding was 7 days riding, 10 rides total 15 hours tss 678 rides 4X PETTIT, RECESS, BOARSTONE, WHORL, and 3 outdoor.
My point is I did all this riding to get back to a lower heart rate and finally feeling better. And that was after only 9 days off. You have been off for 4 weeks. It will take a bit of time but for sure you will get there.
Hard to do but take it easy on yourself. I didn’t the day of surgery and all I did was go to the drugstore to get a pain med rx filled after surgery. I had vasul vagul reaction (first time) and ended up in the ER for 5 hours. Longer than I had been in for my surgery lol.

Hmm, I did have a good number of weeks of progressively higher TSS. Felt good on the bike so never felt I was over-reaching. Didn’t even occur to me really. So I was thinking my endurance riding block was producing some improvement in my cardio, but may have just been fatigue creeping in and impacting heart rate. That’s disappointing…lol. Have never had this happen to me before. Thanks for the input, will have to factor this in to my analysis as I ramp up the training once I am able to do higher intensity.

Could the anesthetic have an effect on you altered HR? I think it’s usually a short-term thing but I know very little about it.

Thank you for your input. I am glad you are finally on track and hope you are past all recovery issues for good. I took your advice and iced up after my ride last night even though I didn’t feel like I needed to. After-the-fact I think it was a good move and will do this for a while…

As this was my second surgery for the year and the recovery from the first (rotator repair) took a lot longer than I imagined it would (I learned my lesson about pushing thing). I felt it best to follow instructions this time. I did try to “negotiate” with my Doc about timing of getting back on the bike. He was adamant and persuasive. In the end he said, give him a solid four weeks of following the restrictions and it will reduce greatly the chance of a recurrence. I decided that it would be silly to not listen to his guidance…

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First off, good luck with your surgery. Hope all goes as planned and your recovery is uneventful!

I am feeling great. Recovery has been really easy. Off pain meds post surgery the next evening without issue. I also did not have all of the bruising and swelling in the nether regions I was warned about which was a nice surprise. Everything feels really good at this point. During the past four weeks, I had to remind myself not to lift anything as I had very little pain or discomfort to remind me about it…Much better experience than the first Hernia repair I had back in 2006 (other side). I think largely due to how much better shape I am in…

I did not have any pain on the bike prior to surgery. I have had the Hernia for a almost two years and just felt like it was time to deal with it. Mainly because I am now getting old and my son would be leaving the house for college this year and wanted his help with shoveling snow during recovery lol. I also thought why let it get to the point it is creating a lot of problems or am having pain because of it before getting it fixed…

Again, good luck with your repair. Keep us posted on your recovery rides and how your fitness responds…

Thank you for sharing. The details help to put in perspective what recovery will look like. It will help me to be patient to allow recovery to happen and not push too hard… Have had four rides this week 4 3/4 hours with 222 TSS so far. Other than the racing heart rate, things felt pretty good. No pain riding so am pleased with that. I have several weeks of planned endurance rides before starting an actual training plan at 7 weeks post surgery. Based on your info, I will definitely reevaluate the timing of starting the plan based on how things go to that point.

Not really sure. I agree, I would think it would have an effect a few days after surgery, not this far out, but don’t know either. May have to undertake some Googlefoo to get some insights…

Just take it easy on yourself. It will come back.

My doctor might have been reckless on the 10 day break… Thats why all I did for a bit was recess. It was all I could manage.

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How much fitness does one lose in 3-4 weeks on the couch? Just had surgery (not hernia) so off the bike a while.
My avg 6 week TSS before the surgery was 800ish.

Take your pick:


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Reading into the details it seems vo2max sees the most loss. So I guess I can start with SSBI at around the same FTP on endurance and SS workouts and maybe decrease FTP on the vo2max workouts.
Will be interesting to try in a few weeks : )