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Illness, injury and life's curve balls can thwart your best efforts for regular training, but just how long does it take to lose your running fitness?
Being unable to exercise can be frustrating when you've worked hard to achieve peak performance levels. Worry about a decrease in fitness levels can cause an exercise fanatic to return to training before their body is ready, ultimately resulting infurther injuries or an extended recovery period.
Listen to your body's needs and rest up. There's no need to unnecessarily push yourself when the average runner can have seven to 14 days off before their fitness levels will start to be compromised.
It's easier to bounce back when you've maintained a regular daily exercise routine over several years.
As a general guide, try to minimise your time off to no more than two weeks. After this period, aerobic fitness (your body's ability to distribute oxygen to the muscle cells) and structural fitness (your body's ability to withstand the physical demands of running) begin to deteriorate.
Recovery periods longer than a fortnight may take more effort and determination to bounce back from, particularly if you are a beginner.
Remember it's okay to take an occasional holiday from training, but it's easy to fall out of a routine.