This post comes from a recent conversation I had with Coach Katie. I’ve been struggling with some health issues that have affected my training and one of my workout notes went like this: “I feel like my body is giving me the middle finger right now.” Her reply was something along the lines of, “if that’s the conversation you’re having with your body, then that’s what your body is going to do.” I interpreted that to mean, I am creating a self-fulfilling prophecy instead of managing what I can and being kind to my body so that it can heal and maintain health. I’ve bounced back from injuries and sickness many times in my life, so I needed to realize that I will bounce back again. As athletes, we demand a lot of our bodies, and we need to reciprocate with kindness for that which allows us to tackle all of these amazing events.
We’re getting close to racing season; for many, it has already begun. That means we are ramping up workouts as we prepare to smash ourselves as we chase our goals. Alongside of that ramp sometimes bring little niggles or sickness from travel and stress. There are a lot of posts on our team page about when to shut down training in regards to being sick, but are we always 100% honest about this with our coaches? Have you ever had “just a little cold” and trained through it and then it turns into a not-so-little cold? Are you always honest about strains and tweaks that you feel during or after workouts? Have those ever turned into something more?
Illness, injury and stress can majorly derail our training, which means missed workouts. So how do we successfully navigate our training season through these road blocks that may pop up?
With illness, the most important thing is to give your body what it needs – rest. For the most part, it is not a good idea to train while sick. Shut down hefty training, get more sleep, eat more plants, cut out the crap. Your body will thank you by healing faster. Workouts done with low energy and unsuccessful execution will not help build your fitness. It’s challenging to be patient here…but critical.
Injury can sneak up on you. You get off the bike and with a small ache in your knee. Is it from tripping the day before, is it the bike fit, or is there something else going on? It’s important to keep track of those niggles to see if there is a pattern or if it’s getting worse. If you think it might be related to the bike, get a professional to look at your bike fit. If it’s happening during the run, check your shoes or your run form. There are things you can adjust to prevent a niggle from becoming an injury.
And then, stress. Wouldn’t it be great if we could all quit our jobs and just sleep and train? I play the lottery in hopes that some day I can, but while I’m still living in the real world, there are ways to manage it. That’s a huge benefit to having a coach vs. a training plan. We help you manage life around training. Another tool in your box is self-care. Foam roll. Stretch. Prioritize recovery after workouts.
The bottom line is be honest with your coach AND yourself about everything going on in life. Help us help you. It’s our job! And be kind to yourself when things do derail your training. Life happens. It’s how we respond to it that matters.