Restarting after 5 month break

I’ve just been able to start TR after a 20 week pause. Prior to that, I’d been slowly building my power and endurance (way below most of you lot, but it was great to see my FTP steadily increasing).
I’ve done 3 very short (30 mins) sessions so far, and they’ve all been pretty catastrophic: in fact, I had to bail on 2 of them around minute 25: I’ve noticed a horrible drop in aerobic efficiency in particular. Can anyone advise on a plan to get me back on course. Right now, it’s all about building habits, getting fitter and the huge benefits that TR has brought to my mental health.

What kind of intensity have the sessions you have been doing been at?

Assuming it’s not been z2, perhaps drop the intensity down to that level and get yourself used to being on the trainer again and putting your body under stress.

A off the shelf plan might not be the right answer. Perhaps some self selected workouts at the lower intensity would put you in the right direction. All about building some base I would of thought.

You didn’t mention if you did an FTP test after your break or if you’ve jumped back in with your previous FTP. If you haven’t tested, I’d recommend doing that to help you make sure you’re training in the correct zones.

If a structured plan is too difficult right now, setting up a free ride and going by RPE might help you get back into the habit of things.


I’m in a very similar position, I’ve only ridden my bike about three times since July and they were 30-45min sessions which were a real struggle.

What I can say is that I’ve been here before and a lot of it is mental resilience, sitting on a turbo / rollers is HARD if you aren’t used to it. As I’m also recovering from (very mild) COVID-19, I’ve written myself a progressive programme which takes me from 30min z2 to 75min z2 over the next three weeks before a “recovery” week then TB1MV.

At the moment I’m not sure whether I’ll continue with TB or jump back to SSB but, whatever happens, I’ll have eased myself into training and have some base fitness to work with.

More than happy to share my programme if you’d like to see it but there is little more science behind it than ensuring it is progressive and made up of workouts that look interesting.

Good luck!

Welcome back! Sounds like a retest might help given the long break. If you are doing a workout on a previous FTP which you were trained for, and then you detrain for 20 weeks that would lead to a higher heart rate than previous.

Also, if you are comparing aerobic efficiency, that number changes based on many things, but as a rule aerobic efficiency goes up with intensity, so if you were doing an endurance or tempo session based on a old FTP, that is going to produce a markedly different result than when you were training in sweet spot or threshold.

When I had extended ‘breaks’ from cycling I usually just rode around by feel, mostly z2, for a couple of weeks before specifically brining in any intensity. Even just noodling around felt rougher than I would have thought and power was super low coming off no riding. You’ll probably see some decent gainz just from noodling around a bit before doing a ramp test and jumping back into it.

I would take the same approach with lifting. If someone says to just get back in and blast away, that seems like a recipe for injury and time off due to over doing it.

This is the answer. I’m two to three weeks ahead of where you’re at after a similar seriously long break. I took a ramp test at the start of SSB I and have been hitting the mark. It’s a bummer to see the ramp test result spit out a 10-15% drop in FTP, but it’s the right thing to do training wise.

Thanks for the great feedback - you’ve now given me the permission I need to stop beating myself up! I’ve dropped my FTP by 10%, and just did a successful 30 mins of West Vidette (which I’m guessing is z2). It’d great to be back!

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