I don't do ill!

Last week I wasn't 100% and maybe that should have been a sign to rest but instead I went out and had a horrific 20 mile run on Sunday. Yesterday I ran home from the office and felt OK but took a couple of photos along the way and one of them was a photo of me...that was when I knew something wasn't right, I looked rubbish. I am full of the cold and coughing and sniffing and now missing a hard track session this evening and probably tomorrow and maybe Thursday!

There is a slight panic in my voice and in my head just now, I know there is still a year to go before I need to be running the best I ever have but every day I don't get training is another day someone else probably is!

Working in an open plan office has its disadvantages at times, the noise levels are a constant bugbear of mine but there is also the germs that must fly around the office. The temperature is also always on the warm side which just helps the germs multiply and breed on all the surfaces!

I've been trying to drink plenty water, eat healthy and generally stay away from the office 'sick' people but it obviously hasn't worked. This got me thinking and reading some articles on the web about whether I should run / train while not 100%. Some of the articles frankly scared the crap out of me - so I clicked the close button and went reading elsewhere.

I was always told that if the cold is above the neck then you are fine for an easy run just to help clear the body. A gentle run can help by 

  • providing a temporary elevation in body temperature which helps to fight bacterial growth.
  • The ‘stress busting' effect of exercise can suppress the release of stress hormones, which are known to make the body more susceptible to invading antigens.
  • Increased physical activity can help to circulate white blood cells around the body at a faster rate, enhancing the efficacy of the immune response.

Reading these benefits I thought I might just head out and run at lunch time but I continued to read the article:

"for the serious fitness enthusiast or runners preparing for an endurance race who spend many hours every week in training, the immune system is compromised and weakened by the rise of substances known as catecholamines and glucocorticoids in the blood stream, along with an increase in the stress hormone cortisol.
These rises can leave the body far more vulnerable to infection, especially in the first 2 or 3 hours after training, leaving a runner more prone to illness than an idle and inactive couch potato. This increased vulnerability is the very reason why marathon runners are often afflicted with colds and upper respiratory tract infections."

That soon changed my way of thinking and rest is what I have decided to do.


Owain Williams

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