Above all, obey your body and the thermometer–not your training program. – Marc Bloom, Runner’s World
The last two weeks have been rather still due to a bad cold, fever, fatigue, a throbbing headache and pain when I turn my neck. It was really hard not to be frustrated in the waiting. My body screamed rest but my mind worried that I was falling behind, way behind. After seeing so much about pushing through and mind-over-matter I looked for some scientific articles. Surely I shouldn’t run with a fever or when it hurts to turn my head but how long should I wait to return to training? I came across these two that I thought were helpful – Should You Run When You’re Sick? and Principles of Detraining: What happens if you stop training? Missing two weeks of training means my aerobic capacity is ~8% less, my cardiac output is reduced by ~10% because my stroke volume is decreased (even though my HR was higher), my muscle capillary density is decreased by up to 7%, the lactate level in my blood during exercise now is almost 88% higher while my lactate threshold has dropped by almost 7%. If that wasn’t enough negative change my ability to use fat for fuel during exercise has decreased ~50% while the time it takes me to be fatigued is now ~10% shorter. Seriously? I was only three weeks in and now I have to back up a week and omit a week or two in the future.
Awesome. Thanks to The Triathlete’s Training Bible for helping me map out a new game plan.
Before getting sick I had one of the best training runs I’ve ever had and posted my first negative splits. I started with a 5 minute warm up walk then jog/walked intervals of 3 min/4 min for 35 minutes.
I worked the next day then came home exhausted with an incredibly sore throat. I’d feel well enough to return to work for a 12 and 24-hour shift then crash to recover for the next shift. My resting heart rate was higher and I wore out quickly. My chest finally felt light enough to go out for one jog last week. I planned on participating in the Worldwide WordPress 5K, September 23 – 29, but I missed the allotted week due to illness so I counted this training run as my WWWP5K. I ran 3 of the 5 intervals but accidently took my “long” route – almost 4 miles. At mile two my HR peaked at 205 after running uphill. I kept pushing until my hands went numb. Okay body, you win! I considered stopping at a random person’s home to ask for water and to take a breather. At mile three I almost layed out on the sidewalk and wanted to call my boyfriend to pick me up. I was exhausted and parched. I walked the rest of the time and made it home without stopping thanks in part to some encouragement I received from Mandisa on my new jog intervals playlist. The title track of her new album, Overcomer, is an upbeat encourager. I’ve included a few lyrics (written by Christopher Stevens and David Garcia):
Everybody’s been down
Hit the bottom, hit the ground
Oh, you’re not alone
Just take a breath, don’t forget
Hang on to His promises
He wants You to know
The same Man, the Great I am
The one who overcame death
Is living inside of You
So just hold tight, fix your eyes
On the one who holds your life
There’s nothing He can’t do
He’s telling You
You’re an overcomer
Stay in the fight ‘til the final round
You’re not going under
‘Cause God is holding you right now
You might be down for a moment
Feeling like it’s hopeless
That’s when He reminds You
That you’re an overcomer
You’re an overcomer.
I think about Hebrews 12 when I hear this song, specifically verses 1-3: “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on JESUS, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before HIM, endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of GOD. Consider HIM who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”
This is one of my favorite passages in Scripture. There’s so much packed into those three verses! More on Hebrews 12 and my spiritual journey to come.
Training has not been easy and getting worn down by illness is getting OLD. I thought about biking before my neck and spine hurt but I had no energy. It was hard to imagine swimming while I battled the cold. I’m hopeful that a visit to the chiropractor tomorrow will help my neck and back. This journey is painfully slow and I know there will always be challenges but I’m not giving up. And now that I feel well enough I’m getting my flu shot this week. Have you gotten yours?