Coming back after sickness..

It’s January.  The weather on the east coast has been cold and dreary.  Workouts have been relegated to the gym or trainer or treadmill.  And always in the dark.

And on top of that, you come down with some sort of seasonal illness.  For me, it’s been my annual battle with a sinus infection.  It derailed my training, set me back on my diet and landed me in a pretty foul mood for a couple of weeks.  But as I come out of the illness, and get back to training, I thought it would be a good idea to reflect on what happened, and what I’ve learned from it.

I was in the last two weeks of a 10-week long bike focus.  I was hitting my goal numbers on my workouts, staying consistent with my plan and had my diet dialed in and was seeing the body comp numbers moving in the right direction .  I decided to tweak my training to include a bit of running, just to try and advance my run fitness by a few weeks.   Boom.  I fell ill.

What happened?  Clearly the bike build was taking a lot more out of me than I thought.  On reflection, I wasn’t recovering as much as I should have been, as my legs were constantly sore, more than what I would have expected from the training.  That was a clear sign that my immune system was probably compromised.  Adding the runs (just 30 min a day) pushed me over the top.

As a result, I had to DNS the Fat 50 bike ride I had been training for.

Lesson learned:  Stick with the plans, especially when the plan is aggressive.  I had planned the 10-week bike build to focus on BIKE performance.  There was no reason to add in the running at all.

The sinus infection was actually TWO rounds of the same illness.  My normal progression through these is 1-2 days of worsening symptoms, then to the doctor for antibiotics, and 2-3 days later I’m on the mend.  Initially, the infection progressed on these same lines EXCEPT, I jumped back into full-on training within the first week.  And I relapsed, HARD.  More antibiotics (with all their wonderful GI complications) and oral steroids, AND a longer fight with symptoms and OTC meds.

Lesson learned:  Get well first, then get back to training.  Instead of going right back to 100% efforts, I should have dialed back the effort (75-80%) and duration (50-75%).  A few light sessions would have helped with the symptoms, and kept me mentally clear.  Instead, I ended up recording about 10 days of zero workouts.

So now that I’m almost 100% back to normal, I’m giving myself permission to go pretty easy this week.  I have the Tour of Sufferlandria for 9 days starting Saturday.  I am planning to go into this years ToS as part of a new 10-week V02 Max build-out, reserving 100% effort days on the V02 Max workouts, and scaling way back on the other days.  But I will also listen to my body, and scale back further, if there is even the hint of an issue.

Final Lesson:  Train hard, but recover harder.  Rest, easy recovery movement, compression, nutrition all have to be part of the plan.

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