Training After Illness (common cold)

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  • #22607

    Hey all, I’m sure we’ve all dealt with this but I am still curious what others do in these situations.

    I don’t often get sick but when i get a cold it seems like respiratory symptoms always lingers long after my energy levels return to normal. I’m going on day 8 of no training and I’m getting frustrated. I know typical advice is to refrain from training until respiratory issues resolve and then start in with one day of zone 1/2 easy runs for each day of illness. So how about it, do you ease back into training once you feel well (but may still have a cough)? Or do you wait until every last evidence of the cold is gone? If I continue to wait, it seems like this could be a 14 day lull in training. That will royally mess with my season of climbs and running that I have planned.

    Background: I completed a AnT test recently to see if I was ready to progress into base building (I am) and then going into the next week I added a pickup run to the schedule. Following that, I flew (in an airborne petri dish) to Oregon and got a little carried away on a trail I love running there and put in too much duration immediately after a long travel day followed by poor quality sleep. I recognize now my mistakes, naturally.

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    Anonymous on #22640

    Great question. I used to use the “no symptoms below the chest” rule, but I was also worried that it may be too conservative. (Note: too conservative is better than not conservative enough.)

    Now, when my symptoms have improved and my energy level is back to normal, I’ll do a very easy, very short run or walk (20′-30′), and then see how I feel. If I feel fine, then the next day maybe another. If I feel worse, then I back off again. In general, I look at the trend: am I improving or regressing? And then adjust accordingly.

    Again though, it’s far better to underestimate your recovery status than overestimate it.

    Anonymous on #22646


    Bummer. I like Scott’s advice. Its quite individual as to how people respond and I have actually had a few (rare) athletes that seem to be able to train through a cold. The aerobic system is the one that will take the biggest hit during a lay off so getting back to light (rec to Z1) aerobic work ASAP will be good as long as symptoms don’t get worse.


    alexgauthier on #22659

    Thanks for the feedback,(Scotts)

    This is pretty much what I was thinking but sometimes it’s nice to just have reassurance. It feels really lazy not to run when I feel fine (except the cough). I’ll do 30 min at recovery pace today and see how it goes.

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