Loss of training gains


From your own personal experience how long of a lay off would result in loss in performance?

How much training is needed during injuries to minimise training losses?

I threw a seasons best after doing no training for three weeks.

But it take me a week to get back into non recovery training

Forum members don’t like talking about anything to do with Injuries! A case of not wanting to tempt faith? Like DMA I’m willing to chance it…

From your own personal experience how long of a lay off would result in loss in performance?

IMO, this depends on three factors:

  1. Maturity of Athlete: The longer gains have been accumalated the longer they will stay with you. This may be vague but I would suggest that an athlete with a large number of training years behind them will tend to suffer less from a time of injury. I can’t quantify it.

  2. Activity during time-off: the more active an athlete during injury, the less marginal losses in performance on return. Obvious, I suppose. But it all adds up: UpperBody Weights (assuming leg injury), Pool Work, Flexibility Work, EMS, Body Weight Excercises, Ab/ Core Conditioning…

  3. Time of Season: Injuries later in the season more detrimental than earlier injuries.

Also, notice how the peak performances of athletes such as Jonathan Edwards, Flo Jo, Ben Johnson coincided with a enforced side-lining through injury earlier in their season. Possible at a certain point in an athletes career that a lay-off may lead to improved performance? Supercompensation on a grander scale?

Back to the original question: after 4-6 weeks I’d be getting worried…

Sharmer It doesnt make any difference really. Unless your talking about a five year layoff. Youll be ok.

Heres a study that provides some answers

Sports Med 2001;31(15):1063-82 Related Articles, Links

Long-term metabolic and skeletal muscle adaptations to short-sprint training: implications for sprint training and tapering.

Ross A, Leveritt M.

School of Human Movement Studies, University of Queensland, St Lucia, Queensland, Australia. angur@hms.uq.edu.au

The adaptations of muscle to sprint training can be separated into metabolic and morphological changes. Enzyme adaptations represent a major metabolic adaptation to sprint training, with the enzymes of all three energy systems showing signs of adaptation to training and some evidence of a return to baseline levels with detraining. Myokinase and creatine phosphokinase have shown small increases as a result of short-sprint training in some studies and elite sprinters appear better able to rapidly breakdown phosphocreatine (PCr) than the sub-elite. No changes in these enzyme levels have been reported as a result of detraining. Similarly, glycolytic enzyme activity (notably lactate dehydrogenase, phosphofructokinase and glycogen phosphorylase) has been shown to increase after training consisting of either long (>10-second) or short (<10-second) sprints. Evidence suggests that these enzymes return to pre-training levels after somewhere between 7 weeks and 6 months of detraining. Mitochondrial enzyme activity also increases after sprint training, particularly when long sprints or short recovery between short sprints are used as the training stimulus. Morphological adaptations to sprint training include changes in muscle fibre type, sarcoplasmic reticulum, and fibre cross-sectional area. An appropriate sprint training programme could be expected to induce a shift toward type IIa muscle, increase muscle cross-sectional area and increase the sarcoplasmic reticulum volume to aid release of Ca(2+). Training volume and/or frequency of sprint training in excess of what is optimal for an individual, however, will induce a shift toward slower muscle contractile characteristics. In contrast, detraining appears to shift the contractile characteristics towards type IIb, although muscle atrophy is also likely to occur. Muscle conduction velocity appears to be a potential non-invasive method of monitoring contractile changes in response to sprint training and detraining. In summary, adaptation to sprint training is clearly dependent on the duration of sprinting, recovery between repetitions, total volume and frequency of training bouts. These variables have profound effects on the metabolic, structural and performance adaptations from a sprint-training programme and these changes take a considerable period of time to return to baseline after a period of detraining. However, the complexity of the interaction between the aforementioned variables and training adaptation combined with individual differences is clearly disruptive to the transfer of knowledge and advice from laboratory to coach to athlete.

I’ll post a more detailed review of the research next time i am online, one thing that is clear is that metabolic adaptations are not lost until 7 weeks to 3 months.

Kit Kat, I seem to remember that Darren Clark had a long layoff and then ran some great time. Can you fill in the details?

Originally posted by dcw23
Kit Kat, I seem to remember that Darren Clark had a long layoff and then ran some great time. Can you fill in the details?

Hi dcw23:

Darren left track to play football (rugby league) in late 1990 and returned in late 1991 to training for track after a solid but mostly reserves-bench experience in footie. He was bigger and slower. He trained for six weeks and then did a 100m time trial in 11.5sec! He also struggled to bench press 10 reps with 100-lbs. His year in league was so destructive. He also played all winter with a strained soleus, overloading the achilles tendon on that leg (forget which one it was now) and, ultimately, also the other ankle. So he was picked for the Barcelona train-on squad for Europe but withdrew for his first achilles surgery.

Anyway he made it back to win the national 400m title in about 45.5 in 1993 and then went on holidays to Toronto where he somehow bagged the bronze medal in an Australian indoor record of about 46.1 (which should fall this year I suspect to Daniell Batman in Birmingham if Batty doesn’t mess up his opportunity this summer).
In around June or July 1993 Darren did some of the best training sessions of his life. hand-timed 31.5 for 300m around two turns (three-step approach), among them.

BUt he went to Oslo en route to Stuttgart worlds, raced Michael Johnson that night and got seriously ill, lost 6kg over the next 10 days and basically came home on empty tanks. He trained well into early 1994 when he ran 400m against Dean Capobianco and lost. It was Darren’s last race. He finally succumbed to achilles surgery on his other ankle which had been plaguing him since his football days.

Was it this lay off or the approach to Seoul you are referring to DCW?

Kit Kat,
I’d be interested to hear what went on in the lead up in 88, i remember you telling me he’d only run a handful of 400’s, being beaten by a school boy in NZ,