Sunday, February 28, 2010

Setbacks suck. Being sick sucks. Getting sick is a part of life, and for most non-athletes, being sick means missing a few days of work while they recover by resting. For athletes however, getting sick can have a huge negative impact on training progress,momentum and competitive goal achievement.

Early last week, my youngest developed a case of pink eye and a cough. It seems that when the pre-schoolers get sick, the parents do too. I've had flu-like symptoms now, going on four days. Sore throat, coughing, night sweats (and day sweats), 'achy' muscles and dizziness are just a few of my problems. Training this week has been next to nothing as I try to rest enough to kick this bug. I'm not one to go to see the doctor unless I absolutely have to , but it looks like I might be making a visit soon to get some medication. Ugh... put me out of misery!

I'm curious to know how others handle illness and training?

I have always taken the approach that rest is key, because you want to bounce back to 100% health asap. Training at all when sick, if it's even possible, seems to prolong the illness, unless you have a simple head cold and you keep your intensity/volume low. When it's time to return to training, using a sensible approach is important. The first couple of days back should be light aerobic and fairly low volume. My experience is that it takes a day or two to get your groove back. The worst thing to do is try and 'catch up' for lost training volume as this could lead to another set back like an overuse injury or even getting sick again.

Getting sick around the time of an important race is a REAL bummer. I've tried to 'race through' an illness before and it's always had negative results. It's probably a wise decision to scratch if you are ill a few days before a race. After all, you race to perform your best and when sick, you're never at 100%. Worst yet, you can dig yourself into an even deeper hole as the intensity and effort on race day can seriously compromise your immune system even further - especially long course racing!

So, I'm hoping to bounce back in a couple of days and get my mojo back. Until that time, please stay healthy and keep your training momentum.

- Coach Troy


  1. Hey Troy, feel better. Watched your Tucson video today. I am 5.5 weeks out from major spine surgery (14 screws, 2 plates and 4 rods later). Your videos are great and it was nice to get back on the bike (even if I am weak and out of shape).It's going to be a long journey back but I am dedicated to getting back on the racing circuit.
    When sick, it's better to rest especially if you have a fever. Easy said than done though. Get well soon.
    -Cristin Van Driel

  2. I'm just getting over some chest congestion myself. I couldn't do anything all week. Ironically, my last work out was Spinervals 2.0 Time Trial Special on VHS believe it or not. Today I was finally able to get out and ride for about an hour or so. It felt good to be out. I just took it easy like you recommend in your blog post. I've got a swim workout planned for tomorrow morning. Just going to rest today and see how I feel. Get well Coach Troy.

  3. I didn't have the flu, but I did have a cold and congestion this week. I discovered a great solution...I call it the "executive workout." A friend of mine and I were both ailing, so we met at the gym, whirlpooled for 10 minutes, suana-ed for 10, steam room for 10, back to the sauna for 10, and finished back at the whirlpool. Since then I have still been clearing some stuff out, but have felt AWESOME; Tuesday i could barely keep my eyes open...Wednesday I was ready to rock and roll. The Native Americans and their sweat lodges had the right idea!

  4. Hi Troy! Feel better!

    In my living room, I have been cursing your name and on my blog too as I work your spindervals DVDs pre and post shoulder surgery! I am two months out of surgery now and about to get on the road this week. Was released by my surgeon at long last!

    Really I love to hate your videos and I often curse and talk back to you... just when I am about to die from fatigue ...when you make us stand or make us suffer oh so much more! You are mentioned a lot on my blog!

    Thanks for pushing me to get better!

  5. Hey Troy, being sick sucks, feel better soon. I usually try to run/bike it off, which either makes me forget I am sick for the time I am running/biking, or it makes me worse. I amp up on the vitamin C, sleep more, and get outside as much as I can, even if it is just for an easy run or walk. I find if I wallow in my own crappy feelingness I feel worse. Plus, I am a terrible sit-stiller.

  6. that how I looked?!? That's nasty! :D

    Get better - I need more videos to do!

  7. I have two little crazies, boys who are marching on to 2 and 4 years old this May. Both developed colds a couple of days after our visit to the Phoenix Children's Museum (and yes, we did disinfect and wash our hands after we visited). A couple of days after that, I am hacking up gunk from my chest and coughing. I am on day 5 of feeling like crap. My 12 week training cycle starts one week from today luckily, so until then, I am taking Guaifenesin 400 mg, Dextromethmorphan 20 mg and/or phenylephrine 10 mg every 4 hours. Then at night, I take the offbrand equivalent of NyQuil. In my experience, since my boys were born, this stuff lasts 5-7 days. If you rush into training before that time is up, you'll extend the illness possibly another week. I try to just be patient, read, rest and say no to exercise for the entire 5-7 days. I like the "executive workout" above.