For a lot of athletes who are preparing for specific events, there is a big question of whether they should keep following their triathlon training plan when they are sick. They do not want to lose the strength and skill they have gained by having to rest. So here is a look at how to avoid and check yourself for sickness and what to do if you already are not well.
On average an adult will get a cold or some kind of upper respiratory illness about two or three times a year. Preventing that is possible, wearing masks, and washing hands often are good steps. You should also avoid overtraining as that tires your body and makes it less likely your immune system can fight these illnesses. It is easy to check if you are over-training. Take your pulse in the morning before you get out of bed and make a note in your training journal. Having a training journal should be a part of your triathlon training plans. You can establish a baseline for when you are healthy and what the rate changes to when you are tired or sore. If your pulse is 5% faster then you need to lower the intensity of your workout plan. If it is 10% faster or more you should take a day or two to rest. Symptoms of training too hard include;
- Not performing as well suddenly
- Having no energy and feeling drained
- Pain in joints and muscles
- Having a lowered appetite
- Not being able to sleep
- Being achy and sore
- Catching more colds and infections
- Being irritable and moody
- Not being able to train at capacity anymore
- Getting yourself injured more often
- Not feeling the enthusiasm you used to for the sport
- Feeling depressed
Two key things to do to prevent illness are to make sure that a part of your triathlon training plan is to eat a balanced and nutritious diet and to get enough sleep. When you have all the minerals and vitamins you need your immune system is better at fighting illness. Not getting enough sleep also impacts how well your immune system performs.
Sometimes you still get sick so then you need to decide whether you continue with your triathlon training plans or rest. It really depends on what is wrong with you and you should see a doctor and ask them. But if you just have something very mild you could continue but keep it at reduced levels of training. If you are sicker than that you should take a break and rest. For every day you were sick you also need to give your body two days of recovery. So yes if you were sick for 3 days that means 6 days of recovery before you get back to it.