As I write this, my head aches. My nose hurts. I have a fever. I’m on the couch. Drinking fluids. And using a lot of chapstick from getting so dehydrated. And as much as I’d like to say that this is the first time this year (yes, so far in 2013) that this has happened, it’s not.
I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s been dealing with getting sick this winter. But this year, it’s been especially bad.
I left school to go home in mid-December looking forward to a relaxing break – but also a time to gain fitness and get ready not only for the upcoming important crew season but also for Ironman in July. However, as luck would have it, my body had a different plan for me. At the beginning of break, I was training very hard – two sessions a day (getting ready for the Florida training trip with my college team). But toward the middle of January, I got sick.
Fast forward to now. I had to miss the training trip in Florida because of the flu. I was sick for about two weeks. Which meant going from working out twice a day to becoming sedentary for two or so weeks straight (blahhhh!). Which led to a series of disappointing workouts when I headed back to practice at the end of January; due to the lost fitness from being sick. And here I am, two weeks later, sick again. I’m sure that many of you have either found yourself in a similar position or can relate.
Here’s what I’m learning from this:
1. Getting out of shape is not fun. Especially when it’s not by choice. But, as my college coach has told me, it happens to everyone at one point or another during their athletic career. Although it’s not fun, accept it. This goes along with my next point, but LISTEN TO YOUR BODY.
2. Heal. And no, I don’t mean healing as in going on a tempo run, biking, swimming, erging or anything exercise related to “clear your mind” during this time. Drink fluids. Rest. And ACTUALLY HEAL. Because if you don’t, your body will get you for it later. Pretending that you’re not sick won’t get you better any faster.
3. Don’t be too hard on yourself. Let’s be honest. Not working out can take a toll on both your physical appearance as well as your mental health. It can be hard to imagine yourself back at race weight or performing at your physical best when you’re on the couch sipping a smoothie/praying your headache goes away. But it’ll come back. Not in a day, but it will.
4. Plan. Planning helps my mind focus less on being sick and more about healing. Whether it’s planning a “getting back in shape” training regimen or printing out a picture of Lake Placid to look forward to Ironman this summer, looking ahead can help your mental sanity while you’re not feeling your best.
5. Get in extra cardio. Last week when I approached my coach after a disappointing erg workout post returning to working out after being sick for so long, she emphasized that extra cardio can help a TON in gaining fitness back. So whether it’s some extra hours on your indoor trainer, a slow run, or even a walk or leisurely swim, find time to get in some extra cardio ONCE YOU ARE FULLY HEALED to speed up the getting back in shape process.
…And, before you know it, you’ll be back at race weight, back in shape, and back being your old happy triathlete self 🙂
Until then, it’s time to sleep.
Tri hard (well, right now for me it’s more like sleep hard.)