A week’s visit to a Caribbean island did me in. I didn’t feel like renting a bike to pedal along the oceanfront as I was fearful of traffic patterns I did not know. I was also unmotivated to run on strange roads, or on the treadmill in the hotel fitness center.
What happens when I take a few days off? This is something that all athletes (especially non-professionals) ponder. Although there does appear to be some good evidence suggesting that you begin to “detrain” within 48 to 72 hours, the good news is that for most of us, the loss is minimal and easily regained. For me, the most encouraging part of the article is Hal Higdon’s conclusion:
It’s not your behavior during any two-week period that affects your fitness; it’s more what you do over the other 50 weeks of the year.
And during those “other” weeks, I run, I bike, I swim, I walk, I stretch, I strength train. This provides me with a base that allows me to maintain and measure fitness over periods longer than two weeks, longer than 52 weeks, decades rather than years, an entire lifespan if you allow me the widest screen possible.
Consistency rules the day. That, and the fact that fitness is an attitude as well as being a way of life.
Additionally, with a little planning, it’s not hard to get those vacation weeks to align with needed rest and recovery blocks and enjoy some completely guilt-free time on the beach or by the pool.