I could end this post there… but I won’t! Instead, here’s a little account of how my first week of 2018 went!
It was New Year’s Day and I woke up feeling not that hungover from the night before and I contemplated just popping out for a quick 3 miles but as my training plan had a scheduled rest day I said to myself just follow the plan and rest! So I rested… and ate Chinese! It was total heaven but I was eager to get back into my normal routine.
As I was going back to work the following day this was my last leisurely lunchtime run. Anyone who’s schedule allows for this regularly – I envy you! Anyway, it turns out Chinese and chocolate provide great fuel and I smashed a 3 mile run on the treadmill followed by a 45 minute spin class. The spin class was unplanned but I hadn’t done one in ages and when I still had a lot of energy left after my run, I just quite fancied it! The 700-odd calories that I burned didn’t hurt either. I felt great afterwards and ready for the rest of the week. I was back!!
This is where it all went downhill. My first day back to work and I woke up feeling like I’d swallowed knives in the middle of the night. My throat and my chest were agony. I had to skip my planned 3 miles. I only just about made it through work.
It only got worse from there. Luckily, Thursday was a rest day on my plan so I’d technically only missed one run so far! I went into work and as I was so unwell, my boss gave me the Friday off to recover.
Another 3 miles skipped. I was off work and this was actually the worst day of this dreaded lurgy so I was glad of the rest. Brandon was unwell too but we managed to nip out later in the day and get a big food shop. A fridge stocked full of veggies to aid recovery and lots of healthy food for the following week when we were better – perfect! Then I lay on the sofa and ate half a packet of biscuits… I just wanted to run by this point!!
I was still unwell. Possibly better than Friday but there was still no way I was getting out to run! I offered to go to the Post Office for Brandon just to get outdoors and get some steps in. I tend to get really claustrophobic if I’m in the flat all day. Netflix is now my best friend. By this point I’d watched a a number of very inspiring documentaries from various different ones about the Reebok CrossFit Games to Finding Traction (an account of a woman’s quest to beat the men’s record on the The Long Trail – a 273 mile trail in Vermont). If I couldn’t work out myself, I was going to watch other people do it. This was another scheduled rest day anyway.
Finally I felt like I was starting to get a little better but a pounding headache and a niggly feeling in my chest meant I wasn’t quite ready to lace up my trainers yet. I asked Brandon what he thought and despite hoping he’d say ‘run’ I knew he was right in telling me to rest for 1 more day. I had to skip my 3 miles again but I got myself prepared for the week ahead and I was feeling more positive.
When deciding whether on not to work out when you’re unwell, common sense and knowing your own body goes a long way. However, there’s a little rule that I’ve read about in various different articles/running magazines, etc called the ‘neck rule’. Basically, it states that if your symptoms are above the neck (runny nose, headache, etc) you’re most likely ok to work out if you feel like you can, perhaps dropping the intensity and duration of your workout slightly. However, if your symptoms are below the neck (congestion in your chest, fever, feeling achy etc) then it’s probably best to rest up as it’s most likely a sign of flu or something more serious than a head cold. Working out when you feel like that can increase your risk of dehydration and knock your immune system further – not a good idea! This is obviously just a guide and one that helped me to make the most sensible decision for me but you should do what you feel is right for you. Equally, whilst many people push through illness and ignore all the signs they should be taking a few days off you also don’t need to feel pressured into working out just because an article says you should feel fine. Rest is never going to hurt you.
In total, I missed 3 x 3 mile runs this week. It was frustrating with it being my first week back to normality and I wanted to dive right in. But, I should know by now… things don’t always go to plan. Is the 9 miles I lost going to have any massive impact on my training for this half marathon? I very much doubt it. I have every confidence in myself that I made the right decision in resting up and I’m looking forward to next week!
Do you find it hard to take time off training when you’re unwell?