>General Running>Off for three weeks (and counting) - how long till I'm back to "normal"?
Goddess of the Cuisine
I've heard 2 days for every 1 day off, though it differs depending on your level of activity prior to taking the time off. Expect the first week to be a little rough - after that, you may bounce back quicker than you expected. I currently took a month or two off and am getting back into it myself, as I have a race coming up in April and can't slack off any longer. It's rougher going this time because I my training was rather sporadic for most of the year, but I'm hitting my slow paces on the regular. Good enough for me right now.
Good luck with the races, Di!
Probably not long to get back. I quit running in Oct 2010 and started up again in July 2011, 9 months completely off running (except for 1 run in Feb where I failed to convince myself running is fun). After the re-start, it took 1 month to get back to my prior race pace. I was new to running so I had little base, if any, to speak of back then.
Last week was my first week back after nearly 4 weeks off of my "normal" ~30 miles/week, in part due to a trip to Africa as well. It was a little brutal. My HR was significantly higher at my "normal" pace, and workouts/routes that had felt fine suddenly had hills I had never noticed before.
For me, the mental part is the toughest. I want to push when I should be taking it easy. Either way, it might feel harder, but you'll get there.
Cook, Pray, Love
You're normal now. Running is an aberration.
How quickly your fitness returns depends on how hard you work and hou long a fitness history you have. Just take your time coming back and you'll be surprised how quick it is. Rushing recovery can make it take longer.