Ski racing (unlike marriage) is supposed to be done in health only, NOT in sickness….
Here’s a story from this week:
I awoke last Tuesday morning to feel a slight head cold. I took the day off, my second in a row, and thought nothing of it. On Wednesday I could still feel the head cold lingering a little bit, but it was almost non existent; I was on the mend so I decided on a short afternoon jog. the following two days (Thursday and Friday) I did some easy skiing. Both days my head cold was ALMOST non-existent and was marginally improving. Saturday morning I woke up feeling terrible. My first thought was to call my buddy and tell him I felt terrible and was going to rest instead of train. Against my better judgment, I convinced myself to get up, get out the door and go train. It’s race season, I need to stay on schedule and train. I felt ok skiing.Within an hour after I finished my training session I felt pretty terrible. As the hours wore on, my condition got worse and worse. By Saturday evening I was exhausted with a raging head cold and an achy body.
Today, Tuesday Dec. 7, I am still recovering. I had to cancel my trip to race in Canada this weekend (however I will be able to make it to the races next weekend in Canada) and am still unable to train.
The moral of this story, actually there are a couple, are very simple: Listen to your body, make sure you are healthy, and during race season it is better to err on the side of caution/rest.
First, listen to your body. I am very good with this, however I end up breaking this rule every few years and relearning it. If I had listened to my body (instead of my head), which told me I was borderline sick and needed to rest on Saturday morning, I might not be sick right now. Note this is not an excuse to slack, any good athlete knows when their body is not well.
Second, make sure you are healthy before you begin training or racing again. I am guilty of this in the beginning of the week. I was still a little sick and pushed back into training too early, before I had fully recovered. This can easily prolong the sickness for weeks as you train at 85% health and continue to have lingering symptoms. It is VERY important to take the time you need to get completely healthy before you jump back into training.
Third, during race season, err on the side of rest. Volume and bulk training is already accomplished, you need to be rested to race well. You cannot race to your full potential if you are sick. Take the time you need to be completely healthy. Don’t force yourself into race situations at less than 100% as this will negatively impact your racing and prolong your sickness.
Don’t make the mistake I made. If you’re sick, get better, then train and race. Not listening to your body and trying to push it is only going to make you worse off in the long run and frustrate the hell out of you because you will look back and know exactly where you screwed up. I have seen people ruin a half season or more by not obeying these simple rules and having lingering sickness.
Follow these guidelines and your body and, for richer or poorer, you will be well off in your training and racing.