Guidelines to Training When Sick

The ever frustrating scenario: you are on a roll with your training, nailing all your effort sessions and hitting some new levels in your fitness.  You feel good! And then you wake up in the morning and you aren’t feeling so good anymore. In fact, you feel awful. You’re sick. Now what do you do?  Here are some simple guidelines to help you decide whether you should continue training or take some time off:

  1. Symptoms from the neck down, STOP TRAINING.  Generally speaking, if you’re experiencing symptoms like fever, body aches, GI issues, nausea, or vomiting then you are probably best to take time off until the symptoms are gone completely.  While time off can be frustrating and cause anxiety, take comfort in knowing that it can take up to two weeks of complete rest before your body starts to detrain. It is likely that your first few days back will feel “off” or slow.  Don’t panic, your body is still recovering and will be back to normal fitness in just a few days.

  2. Symptoms from the neck up, CONTINUE TRAINING AS LONG AS SYMPTOMS DON’T WORSEN OR AS LONG AS YOU FEEL UP TO IT.  Symptoms include: headaches, congestion, sore throat. Keep in mind that I’d recommend doing nothing above easy effort while these symptoms persist and only if you feel up to doing so.  

Above all, never underestimate the power of a few days off when you body needs it.  You may find that you return to normal training faster with a few days off than if you choose to power through, prolonging your body’s ability to recover.