Maybe you've already been there. Maybe you haven't yet.
But trust me, you will someday.
Everything will be hummin' along just fine...training feels great, you feel great. And then one morning, your run seems a little harder than usual.
Hmmmm. That's strange, you think. I wonder why my heart rate was so high, or why I couldn't maintain that interval as easily as I could last week. Ah, well, it's probably nothing...
And then the next thing you know, BAM! For me, it was 103 degree fever and the flu.
Now, if you're anything like me, you're a Type-A triathlete who probably thinks, "No big deal! I can take an Emergen-C and everything will be FINE! I can totally still run (or bike or swim) long tomorrow like I have scheduled....cough cough WHEEZE."
The fact of the matter is, sometimes you get sick. Especially up here in Northeastern Ohio where March is undoubtedly the most unpredictable weather ever. Literally, one day is sunny and 62 degrees...kids are wearing shorts and flip flops, everyone is riding their bike outside, and I swear I even saw some girl sunbathing in her front yard after school. (We get a little excited at anything over 50 degrees here.) And the next? 12 inches of snow.
What to do, what to do?
Well, I'm going to write this to myself, here, because I am TOTALLY awful at following logical advice when it comes to training. I don't slow down well. But here I am, on day 5 in bed and finally feeling a bit like the old me again, so I'm going to give myself a few reminders. Hopefully, if any of you get hit with something nasty, you can find some advice here, too.
1. First of all, STOP. Seriously. You have to stop. No good, I repeat, NO GOOD will come if you try to continue hard workouts right now. A good rule of thumb I've always followed is that if your congestion is from the neck up, you can probably continue some light workouts (but keep them LIGHT!), and if it's from the neck down, you should rest. Chest congestion is nothing to mess with. Neither is a fever. As hard as it is (and believe me, I struggle with this one!), you have to take a few days and just rest and hydrate. Remember, you have a bigger goal here. Most training plans for endurance events last several months. Repeat after me: taking it easy for one week will not make or break a training plan. (And yes, I'm repeating that, too!) That leads me into point #2...
2. Don't let your head mess with you. Again, even with the nastiest of flus (which I am currently getting over), this is one week. I will be the first to admit that I was in full-fledged panic mode last Saturday. All of my friends were racing Saturday, running long Sunday, and my running partner had a good solid run. All without me. It was rotten. I felt like certainly I would never! race! again!, but after another day of thinking and looking at my training log, I was slightly reassured. I've put in a lot of miles to this point, and I still have a lot of miles to go until my big race in May. I've come to terms with the fact that things will somehow work out and be okay.
3. Think positive. For me, I read some of my favorite tri and running blogs while drinking orange juice. I spent time getting lost in Facebook land on the pages of my favorite tri-products, like SRAM, Specialized, Headsweats, Zipp, and CycleOps. I looked at race registration pages for races I plan to do this summer, and signed up for my big team race at Lifetime Fitness. Another way to keep your eye on the prize is to pick up a new book related to your season. For me, I am reading "Training and Racing with a Power Meter" by Hunter Allen and Andrew Coggan. This has gotten me all geeked up for when I finally feel better and can hit those roads again! Another one I love is "Run Like A Mother" by Dimity McDowell and Sarah Bowen Shea. Anything that keeps your mind moving forward about how good you'll feel at races when you're healthy is a great thing to do right now!
So listen up, sicky (and yes, I'm talking to myself here)...this is NOT the end of the world. Get yourself another glass of water, pick up a good book, go register for that race you've been eyeing this summer, and remember, the sun will come out tomorrow. Even if the day after that you get snow.
Happy Spring Training, everyone!