Three Things You Can Do When Training Goes *SPLAT*

I am broken.

In a perfect world this would mean a trip to a person mechanic, £1,000 in parts, and back on the 12 miles in under a week.

Instead it was a trip to the GP where I was told “It’s viral.  Rest and fluids.”

Now those of you who have been following me with abject devotion will know that either in November/December or February/March I really like to get sick.  My specialty is something in the chest – either viral, infection, or what everyone really likes in my workplace: My ability to speak disappearing. [1]

I have half a voice and a really incredible cough at the moment.  Shame these gifts aren’t appreciated in public.  You can check-out in supermarkets really fast, though.

Chances are if you aren’t a devoted fan (and you should be, because I am amazing) you might have stumbled here because you may be under the weather yourself.  As a seasoned running marathon-like person (I have medals, swear!) I can tell you that these things happen.  Training is long, and in many a marathon case it goes through seasons where colds, flu, viruses and dreaded lurgy are common.  One will likely come for you.  But all is not lost.  Here are three things you can do when you’re training has gone splat due to illness [2]:

Resistance Band Exercises.

As I am a slow runner my biggest issue is form.  After about mile 10 I’ve learned that my knees start wandering (seriously, I think they went to Bath once I and was in Edinburgh) and my feet start to move towards ‘penguin waddle.’  I’ve taken on some exercises out of a running magazine which aren’t invasive but work my hips and knees.  You just grab a set of resistance bands, which aren’t expensive nor difficult to store, and walk through the exercises – which take 5 to 10 minutes, depending on where you are in the training.  It’s sort of a little walk around that may mix up your day of daytime television, Netflix, and Kardashian re-runs.  Once you are better and you start your little trots about you’ll notice that those few minutes spent running through the motions with those silly bands pay off.  So grab some bands and Google yourself some moves.  It will help!

Mental Work

The mental aspect of distance running is just as important as the physical.  You go into any race of any length in a bad mood and it’s going to cost you.  You go into any race convinced you can’t do it and I promise you, you’ll live up to that thought.  You’re probably kicking yourself right now because you’re not feeling well.

Stop it.  You’ve come across the best running blog in the universe.  By default this means you must be an incredibly talented person with excellent taste in shoes.

I love this little group who came up with Buddhify and Cards for Mindfulness (I have tweets from the founder to me – sqeee!).  I use both constantly.  Buddhify has meditations on illness, including one that talks about how crummy things like this are temporary and how to work through the negative mindset that comes with illness.  I’ve actually re-purposed these and ones on stress on days where I’m dreading running.

Seek those recommendations out, or search out your own.  But downtime like this is good time to focuse on mental health.  May even make you better faster.


So who amongst you while ill decides you’ll feel better once you eat that leftover ice cream, donuts, and remaining Easter candy from 2012?  No one?

I do.  I eat horribly while ill, and that’s not a good thing.

I think it’s always about comfort.  “I’m sick,” I say to myself, “Poor me.  I need cookie dough.”  And then a few hours later I’m regretting the whole thing.

If you are down, might as well look at your food plan.  I have been trying to get more veggies into my life.  In fact, I’m fascinated with vegan (aka plant based) cook books. I’m a massive Isa Chandra Moskowitz and the very NSFW Thug Kitchen fan.  The stuff you can do with cauliflower! If you need more inspirational/structure the Happy Herbivore will teach you things like how to make potatoes that come pretty close to the Big Mac.

By no means do I expect you to turn into a hippie whilst ill, but there are tons of blogs, mags, and books on better nutrition.  While you are flat on your back healing start reading and trying things out.  Gets your mind off being sick, and you may find some more healthy and diverse food options in your life.

So, there you have it.  Three things you can do when you can’t log those miles.

Now, go feel better.  And nice shoes.

[1] As I am American in a 99% British office I think there is a general appreciation that for a few days a year the people I work with can be spared all the mauling of their language.

[2] Finally, I’m not a doctor.  I’m not a GP.  I’m not a nurse.  I don’t hold a PhD.  These are things I do when I’m feeling ill, but it may not work for you.  If you get sick and want to keep training in some way, shape, or form always check with your doctor.

Also, I’m fundraising for London 2016.  Acts of kindness and generosity are also bound to make you feel better, and will force me away from the cookie dough and into the roasted chickpea and broccoli burritos.  Mmm… roasted chickpea and broccoli burritos.


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