As we enter the darkest days of January the assault of germs reaches its peak as a trip on public transport can feel like a warzone of bacteria coughed and sneezed at you from every angle. Get off me you sick puppies, can you not see I am an athlete in training and I have my mileage targets to reach for this week and a training plan more critical than Donald Trumps incoming manifesto. Forget it. That sickness bug will hunt you down and bury itself into your bones leaving you feeling broken and unable to tackle a flight of stairs let alone a brick session. It Is at this point you lie awake at night debating if you crack on with your training mindful that any training is likely to be pretty pathetic or listen to your mother and rest with your comforting bowl of chicken soup until the illness has vacated your body?
All sense and logic should result in the outcome that you rest giving your body sufficient time to recover reducing any potential risk of injury and return to training fully refreshed and able to pick up where you left off. What you will more than likely do is come back too early and push yourself taking the view that its long overdue the old “kill or cure” mantra where you will sweat it out. But why does a bout of ill sap us of energy so badly and why like a hangover does this seem to get worse with age? Specific illness diagnosis aside there are some general signs to be aware of and as slags listen to your body. Depending what your illness was try to review your fluid intake during this period. If you suffered lower levels of water consumption for whatever reason you need to address this before your body can adjust. Second factor to consider is how much sleep have you been having? And we’re not just talking hours amassed with your eyes shut. Question needs to consider quality hours of sleep here and how close this has been to your normal levels. Five days of broken sleep will take some time to catch up from. Final one to consider which is much harder to measure is how hard was and is your immune system working in the background to help rid you of this bug?
All these factors inevitably leave us feeling run down and unable to train to our best. Don’t be a pussy and use it as a reason sack off your training for weeks on end raiding the kids sweetie jars but equally don’t hit that three hour bike session in January on day 2 of the Black Plague. Listen to your body and give it a chance coming back to full training progressively.
About the author – With three kids and no time to train sickness bugs are a regular thing and a constant interruption to carefully carved out time for training.