Thursday, June 16, 2011

Flexible Training: Coping with minor illness & injury

Illness and injury often come at inopportune times and must be acknowledged and dealt with.  Attempts to put sickness or injury off until tomorrow to perform today can only worsen and prolong an ailment.  The best laid illness and injury prevention plans can and do falter.  When illness or injury set in training plans and fitness are bound to be set back and our actions from the onset are an exercise in damage control.

In my first post I mentioned being your own coach, physical therapist, and nutritionist.  Add doctor to that list as well.  Word of warning, this point and differences in ideologies and economic considerations does cause social tension in relationships.  We all have to assess our own condition and decide if a trip to see a medical professional is necessary.  Truth is there is a lot we can do for ourselves and some problems doctors can’t help with.  Our ability to help ourselves is aided by familiarity with our own bodies, experience, knowledge, tools at hand, and understanding of the problem and how it came about.              

My motivation to write this post comes from a recent respiratory illness I awoke to on a Friday morning.  It started with a mild sore throat but my health quickly degenerated by that afternoon.  At first I was unsure if I was suffering from the general malaise associated with being in a cubicle farm but soon realized this was a legitimate sickness and left work early. 

Unlike a younger version of myself I did not go to the doctor or to the nearest drug store to acquire medication to suppress the symptoms of my illness, all the while not addressing its root cause.  I have found that method of treatment encourages work and play while ultimately worsening the underlying cause.  I took a nap and awoke hours later to make the best medicine I know for the cold and flu like symptoms: onion, garlic, tomato, and jalapeno pepper filled tortilla soup (another blog post).

Between sleep and homemade cooking I was feeling better but didn’t shake the sore throat for another day.  Unfortunately I had a very enjoyable 5k race at the zoo I do annually with friends early Saturday morning, slept in instead.  I thought about doing the 5K but didn’t care to drag my new found sickness out any longer than necessary.  I am easing back into training now after a 3 day hiatus but could not have done it without plenty of sleep, fluids, quality homemade cooking, and halting training.  It will likely be full week before I am back to full intensity and even then I suspect I it will take some time before I return to the same level of performance enjoyed before my bout of illness.

This anecdotal tale is just one of a few from recent memory.  Every illness and injury can teach us new things about ourselves.  In recent memory I have also suffered a running induced ankle injury, travel related worms, and jiu jitsu induced staph infections and cauliflower ear.  I will blog about these events in the future.     

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