Falling Ill During Training–How To Recover?

What do you do when you are too sick to train? I’m trying to figure that out right now. When I am too sick, I don’t train…end of story. But how do I recover? Normally it would be no big deal…I’d take a step back and build up all over again. This time, however, I’m in the middle of training for a half-marathon and I am not good enough yet to skip over the missed days nor to take a step back and reduce my training by a week. I want to figure out how to catch back up.

According to my research, runners should go ahead with training if their illness is neck and above…like a head cold. But if the symptoms are below the neck, take a break. On Sunday, I started to have trouble breathing and knew something was coming on. Maybe a cold, maybe the flu (not likely as I’d had the flu shot in September), maybe some random virus. Sunday was my day to cross train and I like to swim on Sundays. I didn’t feel up to it and skipped it.

By Monday, I was miserable…not just a cold, but a chest and head cold combined…and a nasty sore throat to boot. Thankfully, Monday is a day of rest in my training schedule. I stayed home from work and rested and tried to hydrate. I woke on Tuesday to more of the same. Frankly having decided to follow protocol on exercising (no exercising if symptoms are below the neck) and working (don’t bring your germs to work) I thought maybe I’d get some work done at home. Uh, no. I was truly exhausted, mostly from disrupted sleep due to congestion.

Wednesday and Thursday proceeded in the same way. By Friday, I was stir-crazy and convinced myself I was well enough to go to work. I stayed in my cubicle and attended meetings via the web. I managed to get through some of my e-mail, rescheduled some meetings, and answer my employees questions on-demand. If I’d brought my laptop home, I could have done the same thing. Even so, I felt more  a part of the office by being there in person…even if I interacted with everyone from 10 feet or more apart!

Still, I’m no closer to being cured. I’m not feeling any better than earlier in the week. Fortunately my Saturday run is supposed to be a 5k race, only 3.1 miles versus the normal  build-up of 9 miles. Next week, I have my 3-4-3 miles to run during the week, then the dreaded 9-mile run on Saturday. So far my plan is to continue to skip my current week’s runs and to start up next week as “normal”. I’m basically just skipping an entire week’s training and then jumping back in again.

Find the Joy in the Journey…sometimes that means rolling with the punches.


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