Advice on restarting training after Surgery

I am just completing the last week of SSB LV1 and will move on to SSB LV2 next week, the move on to a build block. My goal is to complete the Maratona Dles Dolomites on 7th July in good shape.
It is likely that I will need to be off the bite sometime between the middle of February and the end of March for 4 weeks due to surgery. So my question is where should I restart my training? Should I jump back in at the point I left off or restart the block or something else?
All advice gratefully received.


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Hi, the rule of thumb is to count back the time you have missed and then start again from there. So in your case if you are only going to be two weeks into SSB2 then effectively you are going back to SSBV1 following surgery.

On top of that, you need to think about the effort your body will be putting into healing, and also the loss of fitness over those four weeks.

Your race is the first week of July, if you take that first week as a taper you have roughly 12 weeks from the beginning of April. That is not enough time to complete build or speciality on top of SSB.

so, I think you have a few options.

restart at SSBLV1 and complete that plus LV2
restart at SSBLV2 and complete that then build.
Create your own modified plans based on a shortened mix of SSB1 & 2 plus build.

Ultimately I think your physical shape and retained fitness after surgery will have a lot to say in which option you take (or even a different one). If I had to choose for you I would say go back and start at LV1 again.

Some good reading here.


Good advice above. You can also give yourself a couple of rides to see how things feel and where you might be. Mainly to see if you need to re-test.

I had a forced time off of more than 3 months. Was brutal getting back on the bike. 10 minutes of easy free riding was pain. But one day at a time and things came back quickly.

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I had an injury that forced time off for 5 months. My FTP went from 315 w to 270 w. I started slow, with roughly 10% less volume and intensity workouts shorter than pre-surgery training. I gradually increased the volume, checking to be sure I didn’t overdue it and re-injure myself, for 5 months. By month six, I was doing pre-surgery volume of intensity workouts with still slightly shorter endurance workouts. Improvements started to come faster after that and one year later I was back to 300 w FTP. This year I plan to do full high volume endurance training and intensity work to get back to 315w FTP.

Agree with @Jonnyboy. Just to add, depending on what surgery you’re having, the recovery and what you doc recommends, being off the bike doesn’t have to mean no physical activity at all. Recover from surgery then see what you CAN do. Maybe there are other activities (ie; swimming, gym work) that will allow you to keep up some of your aerobic capacity, strength, flexibility, etc. You could also use this time to dial in your nutrition (eat as clean as you’ve ever done) and possible even use this surgery as a time to refocus on other aspects of training.

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Please don’t go by what you’ve read in this forum. You can’t possibly know until you know what surgery you’re having, precautions, contraindications, future expectations and consulting with your medical professional.

This should absolutely be your first step before embarking on any training plan. We can advise on what plans to do. but all recommendations are contingent on you being officially cleared to begin structured training by your physician.

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Agree, and this is the context against which I gave my advice. It is assumed the OP is fit to recommence training


Agree 100%.

A huge factor is what “surgery” you will be having done. Recovery can vary tremendously between different types of procedures.

It is very common for individuals to return too early to activities because the “feel” good. For example there are countless athletes across many sports who ignored physicians’ advice and trained after knee surgery only to re-injure the knee again.

Thank you to everyone that has taken the time to reply. I will definitely be following my Surgeon’s advice as to when to get back onto the bike.
Hopefully I will able to build enough fitness to enjoy the Maratona in July, although I am not sure ‘enjoy’ is the right word.

@Jonnyboy and @Phil_Bilton came across this post and keen to hear how your event was in the Dolomites? What approach did u take to training post surgery?

I have a Grade 3 shoulder separation which does require surgery but has not been impacting my current training and event participation. I have completed SSB1 low volume and now three weeks into SSB2 low volume, with a number of outdoor century rides increasing overall TSS.

My related query to the thread above is whether there is any studies or training science about what training to do leading up to a known break/surgery? I expect like Phil I will be off the trainer for a month and probably off the outdoor bike for an additional month. I can pick the timing for surgery (sometime in the next 6months) and so am trying to work out the best training approach. I am aiming to head to the Dolomites in May 2020 for an 8 day riding experience built around the Giro.

Should I aim to increase intensity and/or TSS significantly prior to surgery or continue on the workout plan as outlined and then work backwards as noted above post surgery, to pick up again?

Welcome any thoughts and views.

Hi Robin,

In the end I bailed on riding the Maratona and deferred until 2020. It took me longer to recover from my surgery than I anticipated, so didn’t get back on the bike until 8 weeks later. As my partner was still riding the Maratona, I went along and rode the climbs over a few days. The scenery is beautiful, but the climbs are brutal, think 10km at 9.3% average.
My advice would be to not be too optimistic in terms of your recovery time. It will probably be longer than you hope. Once back in the saddle, I would start with Base followed by build, getting in as many weeks of your plan as you can. Then don’t sweat it, just go and enjoy The Dolomites with the fitness you have.
When will you be there? I will be there for the Maratona on 5th July, unfinished biusiness!!

Thanks @Phil_Bilton, think I need to schedule surgery and just get it done! Glad you got to head to Maratona to support the ‘better half’. Hope training going well. Hoping to visit during the Giro…