Tag Archives: illness

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!


Training during the “Cold Season”

Yes, it’s cold outside here in Indiana as we move into December, but that kind of cold is not what I’m talking about. Over Thanksgiving I was able to spend time with friends and family which means being around a lot of little ones, lilliputians…aka, kids. Ahhhh, they can be so cute in their little holiday sweaters. That is until they sneeze on you.  That was not the case for me though, no! I was the victim of a rhino-viral terrorist attack.  You see the kids LOOKED healthy but hid a dark secret within. As I spoon fed pumpkin pie & chocolatey cake goodness to my GF’s niece & nephew I took a couple bites myself and that is where I made my mistake. Way back in the day I worked fast food and I remember something about transferring germs or something…lesson lost.

So the Saturday after “The Attack” I started to have a little bit of a sore throat. My GF who is way smarter than me let me in on the whole rhino-virus formula of 3 days in, 5 days to stay, 3 days out. So Saturday was Day 2 of the arrival. Lesson RE-learned!

This is a good time to let you in on a secret.  I had childhood asthma. As a matter of fact, as an infant I spent a lot of time in an oxygen tent. This may explain why I’m not a fan of camping to this day. Growing up on a farm my parents barely let me outside as a small child during the harvest season due to the extra amount of crop dust in the air. The asthma contributed to a recurring theme of upper respiratory infections including but not limited to bronchitis on an annual basis until I was well into my teenage years. It was rough, but I survived to run four half-marathons this year. 🙂

So why mention all that? Well, I am very sensitive to any type of upper respiratory issue including the common cold so I tend to take a proactive approach (Big Surprise There!) when I feel a cold coming to visit and that day Mr. Rhino-virus was knocking at my door.

My Plan of Attack when I feel under the weather:

  1. Sleep (9 hours/night if possible, but an extra 90 minutes at least)
  2. OJ (Vitamin C) – Morning, after work and before bed.
  3. Yogurt (Helps the immune system) 1-2 servings/day
  4. …..no training or limited training. I know, I know….horrible to say, right?
  5. Finally, I take Zicam or a generic version of Zicam if it’s a common cold getting me down. Your decision though!

Why no/less training with an illness? Ever had a cold that lasted weeks or seemed to last for weeks? I’ve had that and it’s horrible! A single bout of exercise does effect the immune system.  Immune response drops or is less after a single bout of exercise. Now if you are a regular exerciser  your immune system most likely is stronger than Joe Couch Potato, but the dip in your immune system that you get from a good run may just be enough for that rhino-virus to stick around longer than me at a buffet last year…too long!

During the onset of a cold may be the perfect time for you to get a little extra rest and come back recharged after your exercise hardened superior immune system sends out the hunter-killer drones for ol’ Mr. Rhino.

Happy Training & wash your hands!  🙂