How to know where you’re ready to get back into training after being ill.
This blog is written as I’m just recovering from a particularly vicious bout of food poisoning!
2 weeks ago I was in Angola with work. The hotel had a gym and pool so I had planned on fitting in some aerobic workouts within the week to compliment the start of my winter training. However visits and work preparation led me to only have a 20 minute yoga session in the entire week. This was then finished off by acquiring acute food poisoning at 7,000ft on the flight back. The following 5 days were awful. But to cut things short, it’s now been over 14 days since I’ve done any training and although I feel better than I did, I do not feel like running or cycling just yet. So how do I know if I’m ready to start training properly again?
We’re in the season of colds, winter training is probably underway in many people’s diaries but what do you do when you suffer a set back?
Following a training schedule rarely goes 100% according to plan. You’ll miss days due to work pressures and deadlines, from family commitments or from hours lost sitting on a plane while travelling.
How do you adjust your schedule when you miss training? The following advice is taken from runnersconnect.net which follow general principles and a few steadfast rules that can help guide you back on track. As a runner and cyclist, the principles are the same in both disciplines……
What NOT to do
Don’t try to make up for lost training
Rule #1. Do not try to make up for missed workouts or mileage. That means no squeezing workouts closer together and no adding miles to your warm-up, cool down, or easy days. This is the quickest and surest route to injury and overtraining.
In a well-designed training schedule, each workout has a calculated amount of necessary recovery time. Meaning, whoever designed the schedule has anticipated, either by experience or via physiological principles, exactly how long it will take you to recover from that session. If you squeeze workouts together, you reduce this recovery time and begin your next workout while your muscles are still repairing from the previous workout. This creates a vicious cycle and usually leads to overtraining.
Don’t worry about losing fitness
Unfortunately, cyclists (and runners for that matter) have an irrational fear that missing a few training sessions will ruin all the hard work they’ve put in over the previous months.
Luckily, I’ve got great news for you. While obviously you’re not going to be gaining any fitness during your time off, you won’t lose that much either. Most studies show that you’ll experience a negligible reduction in fitness after taking as many as seven days off. Even if you need to stop training for 10 to 14 days, the amount of fitness you lose is insignificant – as little as 3-4%. Here’s some of the data.
So, don’t fret if you’re forced to take time off for sickness, injuries or travel. You’re not becoming as detrained as you might fear, and with a few quick and easy workouts, you’ll be right back where you left off.
Don’t let missing training get you down
Some people find it difficult to rebound after missing a few days. They get off their routine, lose momentum and struggle to get started again. However, as you now know, it takes more than a few days away from training to lose significant fitness, so you shouldn’t let a few missed days ruin the rest of your schedule.
How to get back on track
Exactly how you get back into training depends on the individual. Your training history, goals and exact reason for missing sessions will all play a significant factor in how you jump back into training. Here are some good guidelines:
If missed training time is 1 to 5 days
If you miss less than five days of training, it’s safe to assume you didn’t lose any fitness and your legs will respond to jumping back into training very quickly. You don’t want your first ride back to be a hard workout, so schedule two or three easy days after which you should be good to jump back into harder workouts without needing to adjust your training paces.
If missed training time is 6 to 10 days
If you miss between six and ten days of training, you’ll likely lose a very slight amount of fitness. This isn’t anything to fret over, but it does mean you’ll want to schedule your first workout back to be pretty easy.
- Keep your first three days of cycling easy. After this introductory workout, you should be all set to jump back into your regular training mileage and intensities.
If missed training time is 10 to 15 days
At this point, you’ve missed a decent amount of training and it’s going to take you a couple of weeks to feel back to normal and be ready to train at your previous intensity and volumes.
- Start with three easy days of cycling. After this introduction, listen to your body.
Thanks to runnersconnect.net for providing the advise
10 minute healthy test
How did you feel during an easy ride? Then straight after? 4 hours later? Upon waking up the next day?
Staying in damp clothing reduces your immune system so change into dry clean warm clothing as soon as possible.
- A fever is a virus which can get onto the heart muscle so NEVER train or RACE it is not worth the risk.
- A sore throat can also be a sign of bacterial strep infection, exercise too hard and it can then lead to respiratory problems so if you must EXERCISE EASY.
- If you are fatigued after a workout, become exhausted or at rest you find your muscles have a deep fatigue or breathing is deeper than normal, then take at least 2 days rest, no training.
- Finally listen to your body and expect to go through a wave of feeling better, Ok, then worse, until you have fully recovered.
Thanks to ironmate for the 10 minute health test.
So my plan for this week is to see how I’m feeling when I take the dog for his longer walks on an evening. If I feel ok, I might have a short spin on the turbo, assess that and then slowly ease back into it. I’ve have to cancel a race I was planning on doing (Open5 Adventure). I was looking forward to this solo adventure, but I know it’s the right decision and will make a faster recovery.
Keep healthy and look after yourselves!