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Free Stuff Friday: Training Sick

Posted Aug 28 2009 8:18pm
I got an email question from an athlete the other day saying that they were a feeling a bit under the weather. Not full on 'flu virus', but just a little bit under the weather. They asked what to do training-wise.

As usual the disclaimer...I am NOT a doctor, I don't play one on TV or any other time, so DO NOT take this as medical advice. I'd like to think that what I write here is worth more than the $0.00 you pay for it...but we'll just assume that it's not. Make your own decisions or go pay a doctor to help you with them.

As usual, I have an opinion on training when either sick, near sick, or generally compromised. I'll go with the 'rules' method of putting them down.

- Rule #1: Some training is better than no training. That gets you consistency. And, consistency gets you improvement.
- Rule #2: If you'd call in sick to work or miss school or whatever, you probably shouldn't train either.
- Rule #3: Is it in your head only? By that I don't mean are you mental. I mean is the sickness above your neck in that you are stuffy, have a headache, or have some sinus congestion. If the answer to that is yes, then I would train, but at a much reduced intensity. If the answer is that it is in your head AND below your have a cough or wheezing or serious stomach ache or are just running from all ends...go see a doctor.
- Rule #4: IF you decide to train, go easier and go shorter. Maintain the frequency, but don't worry about the intensity.
- Rule #5: What have you done in the days before being sick and what do you have in the coming days. If it's been a week or more without a day off, then maybe take one. If you have a week until your next scheduled day off, then maybe take one now.
- Rule #6: Going slower now or taking a single day off now is better than being put out of comission for a week or more...see rule #1.
- Rule #7: Revert to rule #2 if you aren't sure.
- Rule #8: Is it really 'in your head'? If that's the case, then you've got bigger problems than your little runny nose.

What about taking meds? See the medical disclaimer. I don't like them. I will take an over the counter medication occassionally. I really try to shy away from antibiotics. IF they are necessary, they can help, but I think that they can also really compromise your system. 1/2 the time though, by the time we/you go to the doc, you are probably about 1/2 way through whatever you have 'running its course' as my mom (a nurse) used to you might be better off just toughing it out. If it's sinus related, I'll use a saline/sinus rinse 2x a day to keep things flowing. Generally, we try to stay away from 'medication', but we do take a multi-V and some fish-oil...and probably have expensive pee b/c of it.

So, there you go. What to do if you're sick. Summer is here, flu season should be over, we're all getting our Vitamin D from our outside training, our Vitamin C from fruits and veggies, so we're not going to get sick anyway, right!?
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