Wednesday, October 5, 2011

13 Days

Unplanned. Unscheduled. Unwanted. Thirteen day layoff.  Uggh.

Today... back on the saddle for a wandering ride. Three hours. No goals. I just wanted to be on my bike. And it felt gooood.


A couple of things became clear today. The better your fitness the faster you lose the peak, and stress is like a fitness eraser. I've spent longer periods away from the bike. But I lost more fitness than usual. Partly because my fitness was pretty good going into the break. But primarily I think the stress level causing the break was a strong factor.

Interestingly, there isn't much published research on the effect of stress on fitness. The other direction... the reduction in stress as physical activity increase is very well documented however. Does stress affect the ability to acquire fitness? This was the best study I located... PDF file link. This one about the effect of life events on injuries was also interesting. Athletes tend to get injured more when stressed out about life events. PDF file link.

For my n=1 sized study... stress appears to be a strong fitness antagonist. Looking at today's data... in a mere two weeks I've quantifiably lost as much fitness (%-age of specific power), and gained as much weight as I did during a four-month long (but low stress period) injury layoff. These are quantified numbers. All this has me trying to devise a research method to test this. It's not an easy experiment to design.

Stress creep from the office into personal life is always a bad thing. This is going to mean missed races. Going to set priorities a bit different for 2012.