Nipping it in the bud

I went running the other day and it totally sucked.

I started out fine, running at a good pace but then all of the sudden I felt my muscles… empty. No energy. I stopped in my tracks, waited a few more minutes then started running again. I had to stop twice more during my run but I wasn’t worried. I thought it could be some residual fatigue from my Half Ironman ten days ago. Or maybe it was the humidity. Here in Italy we’re having gorgeous Fall days but it’s still hot and humid.

I didn’t figure it out the next day until I woke up without a voice. I felt fine; just no voice. But I knew that this was just the tip of the iceberg unless I nipped it in the bud right away.

I don’t waste time when it comes to taking care of myself. I take action the minute my body gives the signal that something is wrong, so that it doesn’t snowball into anything bigger.  With a lot of experience (you know, like living in my own body 24/7) I’m pretty good at understanding when something is brewing and the first thing I know to do is rest and not run.

Blackcurrants...they're yummy too!

Most runners totally freak whenever they get sick or injured and rather than take a step back they take one forward. The first big mistake is in continuing to train no matter how they feel, as if ignoring what their body is trying to tell them will make it all go away. If you train while you’re sick not only will the training be inefficient, the illness will most likely last a lot longer. I’d rather get it over and done with in just a few day, so this is what I did:

  • I suspended all my training. Yes, I have a two-day race this coming weekend but I’d rather be healthy and trying to do my best on the course than still sick and unable to give it my all. Also, if I’m not feeling 100% by Saturday I will not go. There will be other races in my future, you can bet on that.
  • I went to the herb shop and asked for something for my voice. The herb specialist gave me a syrup for opera singers made out of thistles and told me to gargle with it three times a day. My voice was back the next day. She also gave me concentrated blackcurrant drops to help rebuild my immune system. They’re delicious!
  • I made the family eat an hour early and delegated the dishes to my husband so I could go to bed as soon as possible. And I slept. And slept. The first night 11 hours. I woke up the next morning feeling better but not healed. The second night I repeated with 9 hours, feeling even better. I think one more day should do it and I’ll be ready to go back to my normal schedule.

Sleep and rest are the key to getting better again after any kind of illness. Don’t stress your body even more by running. I lost a total of four days and now I’m as good as new!