Back injury & adapting my plan

Hi FasCats

I am a Coaching Subscription customer on the 16wk Weights & Base plan. Was due to start the Strength phase of weights this week (on Monday, 2 days ago) but I had a nasty crash on my MTB on Sunday morning. Over the bars and head first into a tree, fair bit of concussion and some expected cuts and bruises. The worst part is I’ve sprained my lower back - it literally feels the same as when I put it out deadlifting too heavy without proper form. 3 days on and I can still barely walk, sleeping terribly, maxing out on home painkillers etc. Just twinges super painfully when I bend forward.

I haven’t done any exercise since Sunday morning and I’m losing my mind. Clearly I am going to have to push the rest of the weights plan back a little, but my question is what should I do in the meantime? I feel like I can sit on my turbo and ride reasonably ok without pain, to a point (i.e. no sprints, high torque work etc). Is it worth just trying to bank a few hours of easy riding for the rest of this week to try and maintain a little? Or should I write the week off completely and keep horizontal?

@Jake knows my plans and timing - basically I have a target gran fondo end of May, with no major races planned before then (and it’s reasonably likely to be cancelled anyway, though I’m keeping it as a goal for now). So while I want to keep momentum, my head says I do have a long way to go before race day and maybe a week off the bike completely won’t do me any harm.

As of today:
TSS @ 71
TSB @ 11
ATL @ 66

Target high 90s by late May.

I think I know what’s sensible but would really appreciate the confirmation and validation! Thanks guys.

Hey Thomas!

Sorry to hear about your crash!! I know your back hurts but concussions are pretty serious. I have never had one but I know others who have. If not taking proper precautions it can hurt you in the long run. So that would be biggest concern with any riding at the moment. I would honestly just highly recommend you take at least a week. Also consult with a doctor about resuming activity.

Then this week off can allow you to rest your back. I would recommend some off the bike exercises, stretching, yoga, foundation work and etc to help movement. Sort of like physical therapy. But start slow and let pain be your guide. Nothing should be really hurting. And also the next day if feeling worse obviously it was too much and you need to shut things down.

Don’t lose your mind right now. So I broke my collarbone and scapula in mid February a few years back and had my some of my best races in late April till June. So you won’t loose much. What you don’t want is an injury to linger where you can’t train as strong for weeks as opposed to taking the proper steps to recovering now.

What we do moving forward depends on how you feel come next week. Lifting weights right now seems like it would be impossible, but come next week maybe not. I see right now you have 3 power phase weeks. We would cut that down to 2. So really not missing too much by just doing that. We’d push this week to next and so on. Then just cut the last week of the power phase out. But this depends if you can do that type of work even next week.

There is a chance we might just have to postpone the resistance phase. We can just do some easy riding next week to get back into the groove of things. Then move onto sweet spot training a week after.

We have 16 weeks till your event in May right now. Lets say we take 2 - 3 weeks to fully recover. That still gives you 8 weeks of sweet spot training and 4 weeks of interval training. 12 weeks is plenty of time to build lots of CTL and fitness. We should be able to easily increase 3 - 6 CTL per week. So even if you go down to 50, we should be able to increase around 40 CTL points in 12 weeks.

You will need to just get back to me on Monday with how you feel.

Again with the concussion be very careful! Once symptoms are gone, you can sleep and are cleared by a doctor you can do some easy riding. Start with 30 minutes Zone 1 / 2. See how you respond after doing that once or twice. Then we can increase a bit more to 60 minutes and go from there.

Thanks a lot Jake for the helpful and quick response. Totally hear you on the concussion point and I was very careful for 48 hours after the crash. Working from home so not going anywhere and definitely not riding outside for a while. All makes sense, I just hope I can get back to the weights soon as I was really enjoying them and feeling stronger generally. Off for a short spin on the turbo now, will let you know where I’m at on Monday so we can adapt my plan as appropriate.

Thanks again :slight_smile:



Hope all’s well. Quick update on my situation, as requested.

I still have pain and a feeling of weakness in my lower left back, and also round my ribs on the right. Pretty sure it was a bad sprain which is taking time to heal. Getting there, but it is still not mended. The good news is that even if I can’t put my own socks on, sitting on a bike doesn’t seem to be too uncomfortable!

So last week I was fairly battered and even gentle spinning was difficult, probably just cos the body was in preserve and repair mode? I did a couple of easy spins during the week, and on Sunday I did an online race for a laugh and to see how I held up. It felt fine, I mean I was “too fresh” and struggled to hit numbers but no pain or discomfort from the injury.

So to summarise, I think I am capable of riding properly again but I would prefer to give it another week before lifting heavy weights. I just don’t want to push my luck, even if I might get away with it.

I said my A event was late May. It isn’t, it’s actually late June. So that makes me more relaxed and gives me hope that I can still finish a meaningful weights plan with time to build a really big CTL.

Grateful for advice on how to re-structure the coming weeks. Let’s assume I can lift again by Monday next week. Am thinking there’s no harm in banking a bunch of sweetspot this week to get me firing again?

Thanks for all your help!

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Hey Thomas!

Good to hear you are on the mend and that you can at least ride again!

So what I did was shifted your whole plan forward one week. So that works great for now. Then this week I added some workouts for you. Mostly just sweet spot stuff. Sounds like you can handle that since you did an online race. Those are never easy! Did give you a sweet spot smash workout which an be a good strength workout as well since that is what we are working on right now!

Hi Jake, thanks for that. I see the new SS rides this week which is all good. But there are still strength (weights) workouts in the plan - assume I just ignore those?

Yeah I deleted those now, sorry about that.

Hi @Jake my back is still not 100%, I’m going to give it one more week (which will be 3 weeks off the weights). I would like to jump back into the strength program then if my back allows it, even if we need to curtail something along the way. No racing on the cards for a long time so I would rather do the strength stuff properly to see how it works for me, even if I end up peaking later in the season.

Plan is a bit of a mess at the moment, as you just amended one week when we spoke last week. I am thinking it might be good to get some sweetspot in this week, maybe do a 3-4 weights adaptation sessions next week and then hit the strength part of the plan after that - how does that sound?


Sounds good Thomas. I really can’t go in to TrainingPeaks and make those adjustments. The subscription is once a month and more than that its our one on one coaching

You will need to on your own. You can see what I did last time. I just added sweet spot workouts, which you can copy from the plan that follows and shift workouts one week. On your TrainingPeaks calendar on the desktop you can go to the summary box and hit the menu. Click shift plan. You can move it all of the workouts forward one week.

In a couple of weeks I can go back in there and we can make any more adjustments as needed.

But you are right you need to get your back 100% before doing any weight training. But now after having 2 weeks off you may need to come back to some adaptation to get use to the weights again. Like 2 - 3 build up sessions before doing the strength phase. So next week maybe do a week of adaption phase, then move into the strength phase. Might want to shift the plan forward two weeks to give you that week of adaption.

Thanks. Appreciate that, reassuring to know I had the right idea.

It got messy shifting weeks around so I have simply disapplied and re-started the plan, backdating it by the relevant number of weeks so that the Strength sessions start next Monday. Hopefully will get a couple of re-adaptation sessions in this week and be good to go again from next week.