Sports during the holidays: Yes or no?

Valentin Belz 5. July 2022


What happens if you don't train during your summer holidays?

The summer holidays are here along with the question as to whether you should take your running shoes or bike on holiday or not. Will you lose your carefully built fitness level if you don't do endurance training for two or even four weeks?

As is so often the case, "it depends" is the answer. Because it makes a difference whether you are specifically preparing for an important race, for example, or whether your next competitive goal is a long way off. If the former applies to you, a long break is certainly counterproductive. However, if you are currently training without a specific competitive goal, you can take a break from your regular training with a clear conscience. Because one thing should be mentioned here: a training break often works wonders. You can recover properly again, you regain your motivation and mental readiness to perform, minor damage to your musculoskeletal system is repaired and your hormone levels are regulated. But it is important that such a break "only" takes place once, maximum twice a year and that consistency characterises your everyday training.

But what if you are unsure? The most important answers:

  • If you skip individual training units, you will be as strong as you were before the holidays due to the greater degree of recovery.
  • If you take a complete sports break of 2 weeks, you will feel a slight difference in your endurance level, because the number of mitochondria that convert the food you eat into usable energy decreases very quickly when you are inactive, which leads to a drop in your endurance performance capability. Flexibility in your hips, spine and torso is also reduced, because the required amount of movement is no longer maxed out.
  • If you are an endurance athlete and your break lasts longer than 2 weeks, you will also notice a loss of strength alongside reduced flexibility and an ever-increasing decline in your endurance performance capability. In fact, the “slow-twitch” fibres that are required for movements with little effort, such as cycling, lose their maximum power.