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What to do (and not do) when you get sick

Well, you knew it was going to happen. You have the cold that your kid caught from his friend at school, or your sniffly relative at Christmas dinner, or your germy neighbor on the plane. However it happened, now you feel lousy, and the red days are piling up in TrainingPeaks.

So how do you get back on your feet in the shortest amount possible? Should you stubbornly forge ahead with your training, or will that just make it worse? Here are some thoughts on how to proceed.

1. “R… E… L… A… X. Relax.”

As Green Bay Packers MVP quarterback Aaron Rodgers famously said after his team lost two of their first three games to start the 2014 season, relax. Yes, it is time to get back into the rhythm of training, but it’s not like your “A” race of the year is two weeks away. It really is okay to give yourself a few days off to expedite your recovery, so do it, and try not to stress out about the red days in TrainingPeaks. (Maybe your nice coach will even remove them for you!)

2. Don’t train through it.

Could you? Sure. But honestly, what quality workout will you actually accomplish feeling this lousy? Take advantage of the fact that this is the rare time of year when it’s not imperative that you train. Swap that 30 minute spin out for a 30 minute nap, and your body will reap a much greater reward. And speaking of that…

3. Sleep!

The benefits of sleep are innumerable whether you’re sick or not, but in this weakened state, extra sleep is arguably the best thing you can do to speed up your recovery. Make getting to bed an hour earlier a priority for the next few days. You probably weren’t getting enough sleep anyway, so play your current situation to your advantage and use it as an excuse to call it a night early.

4. Hydrate

Another recovery habit that you could probably stand to improve! Hydrate diligently for the next few days. Hot broth or cold water with a packet of Emergen-C are good options. Just cut back on the hydration a couple hours before bedtime so your sleep isn’t interrupted by trips to the bathroom.

5. Ease back into it

Once you’re healthy enough to start training again, try to avoid the temptation to make up for lost time by cranking up the volume or intensity too quickly. This is the time of year for relatively easy, aerobic workouts. Go back to the workouts you missed and just pick up where you left off. There’s plenty of time to prepare for your 2020 campaign.

In summary, getting sick is a bummer, but relative to other times of year, right now is not a bad time for it to happen. Rest up, hydrate, and give yourself the TLC your body needs in order to bounce back. And by the way, how did the Packers end up doing in 2014? They won 11 of their next 13 games and made it to the conference championship game. Sometimes it pays to “relax!”

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