Okay, I'm officially sick of being sick. I've been diagnosed with sinusitis and as I swallow another antibiotic with my beer (Leffe Blonde is fantastic stuff, not as good as Leffe Brune but still good!) as I finally start to feel better after nearly 3 weeks of feeling like hell I'm left to reflect on what it's been like training whilst ill.
Thankfully I've had nothing serious (only Sinusitis and a mild case at that by some of the accounts I've read!) but even so it's clearly taken a toll on my body. Oddly enough I haven't raced badly at all but this mays imply be a funciton of me being in very good shape and it feeling like I'm racing okay despite actually racing badly because of the shape I'm in. Does that make sense? Possibly.
What it's really hit me on has been the steady running. Those who know me know tha ti am a massive proponent of lots of very slow running and that has been fine on me. Similarly whilst some interval sessions have been poor provided I haven't tried to push myself they actually haven't been too bad as long as I accomodate for an extra second or two a lap. The steady running however has been horrendous with me hobbling around like a drunken imbecile. Going on the club run on Sunday I was falling badly off the pace at something near 7 minute miling having previously raced at close to 5 minute miling the previous day!
Despite symptons being fairly easily masked by vast quantities of Lemsip and later Sudafed and me actually feeling okay over the weekend I could definitely tell that something wasn't right. Running unfortunately reveals all the problems, aches and pains in your body that you'd like to pretend weren't there. In some ways that's what I love about the sport that it strips you bare, but sometimes I really would like to just hide!
Okay. So having run through the sickness more or less (one additional rest day) a few pointers that I think may well help someone else with a bad cold or the like. Not something as minor as a headache or the sniffles but something not quite as bad as the flu!
1. Don't do steady running with groups. Even if it normally feels at an easy pace for you either run with just one other person or on your own. Trying to force your body to run with others (especially if a lot of talking is required!) can cause a lot of problems. Just relax and run your own pace.
2. Interval sessions: temper them down by another second or two a lap if you have to do them. Understand that your body won't be able to take the strain and if you're "fighting" to stay on a pace then drop off. Accept that you won't be able to run withthe people you usually would.
3. Keep runs short and preferrably once a day - even if you usually hit big mileage with double runs you will still maintain fitness and I now believe that illness is something you need to "get through" rather than be trying to improve still within.
4. Think about whatever else you could be imporving right now that isn't aerobic. Whether that's core, balance, drills, light weights etc. Even strides will probably not be too bad. Concentrate on all the subsidiary areas of training that we usually ignore.