Runners obsession – running! Just one day of no running and we go ‘oh no, I’m unfit!’. We start to freak out, we become jittery and we begin questioning out fitness. It is all runners’ biggest fear – to lose our hard built fitness. So how much fitness do we actually lose if we take a break from running?

The Good News

Great news for runners – according to running coach Jack Daniels – a 5 day break from the sport will not hurt your running fitness at all. So if you’re down with the flu, a break will do you more good than harm. Fear not, you won’t lose your fitness!

No Running For More Than 6 Weeks?

If injury comes into play forcing you to take a long break from running, how fast you lose your fitness depends on 2 factors – how long you’ve been running and how fit you were when you had to stop running. Someone who is a veteran runner will not lose his fitness as fast as someone who has just started out running – of course.



Photo Credits: Uncyclopaedia 

A study on detraining over a 12 week period was conducted. The results show that in the initial stages, there is steep drop in VO2 Max. Thereafter, the declines were smaller. In 12 days, VO2 Max dropped by 7 per cent, thereafter, it was small declines till it hit 18 per cent. However, there is no loss of capillary density in muscles which is great news!


This study was detraining study was conducted with zero training. If during your no-run period, you cross-train, fitness loss would be far less. Choose a regimen that suits your situation -aqua jogging, swimming or even cycling.


A 5 day break from running won’t cause you to lose your fitness! Don’t freak out about it. Sometimes rest does us more good. Remember that rest and recovery is part and parcel of training. However if you are forced to take a prolong break, do remember to cross-train. This is to slow down your loss of fitness! Your running fitness does stay with you, don’t worry!


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