How long to rebuild fitness post injury?

Took a bad fall on mtb and broke jaw. I was off exercising for 5 weeks, except some light walking. Two years of consistent training and ftp of 315 pre-injury. Just curious for those with similar experience, how long did it take to regain fitness? I’m just easing into endurance rides right now. And feedback appreciated.

Sorry to hear about your injury; I hope you’ve maintained a fair outlook with the time off the bike doing walking. Everybody knows that building fitness is hard work, but forget that maintaining fitness also takes effort.

One step back, two steps forward tells me you’ll be back in two months. Which mirrors my recent experience with knee ligament damage.

The good thing is that the month off has provided you opportunity to ‘reset’ mentally and otherwise. You’ll be doing work the next month on form, with renewed perspective. Form drills, ILT, positioning, all that stuff can get focus as you build up again. Plus, you’ll be getting lots of positive reinforcement (and TR confetti :smiley:) as you ramp up again. Enjoy!

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I crashed on June 5, 2022 and fractured my hip. I was mostly in bed for the following week and my recollection was that everything - getting in/out of bed, just moving around the house - was massively hard.

I had my first post-up on June 20 and was back on the indoor trainer June 21 with about 30 minutes a day at a very low effort (3 TSS). My focus was simply on movement and blood flow.

My notes in TrainingPeaks for that first ride:

Part of this was mental and getting my legs to spin. I dropped intensity down to 42% and I’m sure my left leg was compensating. Focused on even strokes. Couldn’t get cadence above 80. Kept power low and called it after 30 minutes (wife is also pretty concerned about me over doing it). Leg felt fine mostly. Muscle on the inside that connects to my knee is tight and feels sore (froM yesterday’s walking).

I went from an FTP north of 200w to 20w with real effort.

I also started working with a physio-strength coach (SoCalBikePT crew) which was 100% the right call for me.

By July 11, I was in double-digit TSS efforts. By Sept 5, I was still limping but able to get an hour or hour and a half every day on the bike. Mostly endurance efforts.

I felt mentally and physically recovered by October and have been focused on getting my FTP back to pre-crash levels. And I’m basically there, give or take, but my endurance is much better than it was last June. I can hold 90% FTP for a lot longer than I could have last year, for example.

What has helped me the most was seeing my ride data in either TrainingPeaks or Trainerroad over time. Both were the indicators I needed to show me I was moving in the right direction.

Happy to chat more here or offline. Staring into an abyss like this sucked and at that time, I had no idea if there was light on the other side.

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My rule of thumb is 2x - 2 weeks off requires 4 weeks to return to former fitness, and 4 weeks off requires 8 weeks to return. That’s been true repeatedly over the last 5 years.

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