Training when you are Sick

Today of all days? Seriously?

As I sit here and type this blog there is no simpler way to put it, “I feel like crap.” I have a cold. A nasty rhino virus has invaded the fortress. It started Friday night with a mild cough and a sore throat. Saturday I was low energy and had the full blown symptoms. And now there is today. Sunday. The day of my final long run before Disney. Right now I should be at mile 12 of my last 20 miler. It’s not happening today.

I spent the better part of 30 minutes hacking up a lung this morning upon waking. I had my PB & J for breakfast. I had my usual half cup of coffee. I went to the gym with all of my gear, gu, gatorade and gusto. I warmed up and tried to run. Energy reserve to run? Zero. Ability to breathe while running? Non-existant. Feelings of achiness, a raw throat, and huge sinus pressure? Those are in full bloom! It’s not happening today.

Live to Fight Another Day!

As I stood on the treadmill at 8:15am having ran the most painful half mile in some time and then stopping I realized I had to do something. So I walked. I walked for an hour then I went to the bike. I biked for 30 minutes. 3+ miles on the treadmill and 8 miles on the bike. All of it was easy. It’ll have to do.

Research tells us that after a bout of exercise our immune system takes a hit and isn’t as robust as it usually is at defending against little critters like a rhino virus. Don’t read too much into this though as research also tells us that people who exercise on a regular basis have stronger immune systems than those people who don’t exercise regularly. So for us regulars our immune system still takes a dip after a run or other type of exercise, but we are starting at a higher level of immune system strength. Still this is one good reason not to train at an intense level while you are sick. If your body is fighting something off and you decide to go ahead then you may prolong the time it takes to get over the cold or other ailment. If the symptoms are severe then I would take a rest day regardless. If the symptoms are more mild then just take it easy and don’t push it like you normally would. Cut your weights by 25%. Slow down your run. Live to fight another day.

Be Courteous to Others

One more thing. For the sake of others skip the group fitness classes when you are sick. It’s not cool to expose others to your germs just so you get a workout in for the day. If you are going to the gym like I did then wipe everything down that you touch. Every gym now days has the paper towels and the antibacterial spray. I made sure to wipe down my treadmill and bike both before and after my sessions today. I also tried to get away from people as much as possible by using the machines that were away from others. Yep, I was that guy way over against the wall today on that last treadmill. If we all did a little better job of wiping machines down when we’re finished then we’d all write a lot fewer blogs about training while we’re sick. Self serving I know, but this cold is making me irritable.  😉

Happy New Year! Happy & Healthy Training!


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