FAQ ~ Recovering From Sickness
Louise Shaw & Simon Perchard followed by
Ruth Lea & Nick Thompson
Braving the elements, getting the winter miles in
I've managed to catch something that's taken me
out for a week. I feel a little jaded but want to catch up the
lost ground. What should I do, go straight to my Red Week to
recover the time?
From 90% of the people who get ill!
Getting ill isn't nice, but it happens to us all at some point along the 20 week period from November, the start of our training season, to March, the start of our early competition season.
First off, you have to remember, and understand, it's not just you. It's just your turn this week.
It's almost impossible to go through the 20 week cycle, and anywhere from sixty to a hundred training sessions, without missing a couple due to family commitments, Christmas, or illness.
You're ill, it's your turn, get over it. Someone's just had their turn, or is about to get it.
You are not losing any ground to the "perceived" others. This is just your "slot in the programme". Don't get grumpy, rest and recuperate.
First Things First
Your prime objective, when you get ill, isn't to recover, it's to make sure you don't make it any worse than it is.
Your body will go through a repair cycle that has been honed over millennia. Nature must take it's course and there's nothing you can do to speed that process up. It will take time, and that time is almost totally out of your control.
The time it takes depends on your metabolism, your lifestyle, age and various other bits and bobs. You can only make it worse by rushing back to training.
Not resting enough, not helping your body recover and ignoring the signs your body is giving you, will surely lead to making a bad situation worse, and a further week to ten days off the bike.
Riding When Ill
The general consensus is, if you have a cold, and it's above the neck, then you're okay to train. But again, everything in moderation. Just because you can train doesn't mean it has to be a five hour endurance ride in the wind and rain.
A nice steady recovery-type ride, will help speed your metabolism, stop you going stair-crazy and at least make you feel like you're doing something.
It also helps to "clear the tubes"!
Probably sixty to ninety minutes on the road, thirty on the turbo, is a decent enough session to help things along a bit.
Ride fast enough to keep warm, no more. No efforts, no sprinting, no monster climbs. Keep it at or around Zone 1 and you'll be fine.
If the "illness" is below the neck, aching limbs, chesty cough, fever, etc, then under no circumstances whatsoever can you "run it off". Cease all activity and rest up.
Your body can either repair itself or do stuff. The more stuff you do, the less it can repair itself and the longer it takes to get back on it. It's a simple formula.
A good indicator, as if you need one to tell you when you are ill, is your resting heart rate. Anything that's elevated is a sure sign, not everything is right. Again, learn to make best use of the signals your body sends you. It's the best advice you'll get, and it's free!
Again, this is always a difficult one, and it depends who you ask. I'm a week and a day man. You get two days notice of "being ill". Then you get ill for two days. Then you spend two days "recovering". But for me, you're still "not right".
After the six days of not being right are over, I really do (especially for vets (40+) riders) recommend you take another two days to fully clear the system before undertaking proper training.
No one ever wrecked their season, or made themselves ill, from taking a rest day or two. Surely it's better to give it an extra two days and come back stronger, than come back early and ride sub-par for the next week while you "ease yourself back in".
Whenever you think you're good-to-go, give at least an extra day, but two is better. No one, will beat you because you took an extra rest day over a sub-par training ride.
There's information on how to keep healthy, and avoid exposing yourself (any more than necessary) to illness, in our Keeping Healthy Factsheet.
Just because the weather's bad, it doesn't mean you'll get ill
Kirk Graham (far left) on his way to winning the Rush Michigan Fatbike Series