Illness ruins structured training.
My winter training plan has gone to pot!
I'm trying to follow friels plan of 3 weeks hard/1 week easy and have made myself a nice detailed training plan to produce a controlled rise in performance over the blocks of training.
However reality has put a real downer on the whole thing.
Firstly straight after devising the plan I got the flu (can't be helped) so I did the sensible thing and rested completely for 7 days then very gradually warmed back up to some decent training in the following two weeks. Christmas week I managed to get some good riding in so treated that as week 1, last week I felt great and put in a cracking week of training, This week was going to be really hard, aiming to be knackered by Sunday and looking forward to a recovery week. Then I got a cold. ( I do eat well honestly!)
So now my plan has ground to a halt AGAIN.
What do I do now? Treat the next few days as rest then start the next cycle. Thing is I was banking on this week to really push the boundries; going back to a more moderate first week effort will be dispiriting.
Is it too hard to stick to textbook plans when work/illness/family life takes their fair share of your energy.
My reality is that I train when i've got the time/energy to do so and rest when I'm ill or just too worn out from work to do anything. It's done me alright so far, I've raced one season and placed in top 10% of all my A-goals.
Thing is I want to do even better.
Hence I'm dreaming of an uninterupted, structured, CONSISTANT training programme.
Some advice would be greatly appreciated, feeling a bit fed up tonight.
Yeah, when I started following an structured program I realized that I could only do the planned weekly hours about 70% of the time due to illness, work, travel, etc.
Don't worry, 70% is still pretty good, and you will be stronger and faster.
Now, with more experience under my belt I know that If I miss some sessions is not the end of the world.
It even happens sometimes that I have time but no energy, so I skip and let the body recover more. Which leads me to ask if maybe you are training too hard and that is why you are getting sick?
Cheers for your response, nice to hear your experience.
I'm not overtraining though, I managed to do that last winter so know how it feels and am wary of it. I incorporate a very sensible amount of rest into my schedule and don't feel any lasting fatigue. I do work outside which must put a strain on my system but I compensate with hearty amounts of good, wholesome food at regular intervals. Even now with a cold I've only got minor syptoms. I used to disapear under a pile of tissues whereas these days I just get a bit of a sore throat and feel a bit off form.
Makes me wonder if I should just ignore it?
However being semi-sensible, I'm sitting on the sofa eating huge quantities of dinner and enjoying a sneaky G&T (My consolation drink when I get a cold - put lots of lemon in it- swear it makes me better!)
I am right there with you. In the last month and a half I have had a cold, that then developed a sinus infection that required a week of antibiotics that was followed by a raging stomach virus. I then felt pretty decent for about a week and a half and caught the flu and have been down for the last 8 days. At least I have lost about 10 pounds (of muscle). Everyone I know has been dealing with something similar. This winter needs to end.
I decided I was going to follow a structured plan for the 2011 season. I started in December. I had two big problems going in: One, I didn't really understand the way to schedule 'A' events, assigned way too many, and planned to be fast for the beginning of the early-season races. In retrospect and on reading the book again, I think that early-season races are better as 'C' events that coincide with build. The other thing was that I scheduled stuff for December at all. I'm a graduate student, so for a good chunk of that month I'm on break. Good, right? Well, I usually go home and hang out with my family. Totally screws things up.
I also had a big problem in January: I got pretty off-track in December, and I let it screw up my attitude about following the plan. So it pretty much went to hell.
Last season I decided I'd start training with the New Year's Resolution folks. I think that was a good choice. I had a really difficult class screw up my base period, so c'est la vie. I rode more in the spring, though, and then managed to really click into a consistent routine during the summer. I think I could have done better during base, but whatever - I still had really good results, including a couple PRs on some courses I've done regularly over time.
So here's what I think I learned, and also what I think can apply to you.
First: If you have an active Christmas week and/or Thanksgiving, with lots of traveling and family and general craziness, don't even try to do base. Do prep. Since it's already January 10th, that's more of something to think of for later. Basically, though, make it easier for yourself to succeed.
Second: Accept that life happens and be flexible. Actually, I think Friel says that somewhere. Depending on what your priorities are, you can do 2 on/1 off for some base cycles or some build cycles, to shorten your plan to fit into the time you now have available.
"Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx
I remember one elite coach saying that a strong immune system is a great gift to have. As soon as he pushed some fairly gifted athletes hard, they just get sick, where others don't.
I wonder if that is something that can be developed? I've heard that prolific blood donors usually never get sick, but that probably takes years to develop.
Luckily I rarely get sick and I attribute that to 5 years I spent teaching (years ago); having exposure to 120 kids a day in a relatively small space. Initially I got sick all the time, but for 12 years afterwards, I've hardly been sick. Therefore I can train pretty hard and rarely miss a planned workout.
I'm in the same boat. I have been battling colds since the 2nd week of December so basically I have done zero base training and I was hoping to do some endurance racing this year. However, my past experience does suggest that if I stick to a structured program (mostly use Friel) that I do better. It's all relative since I'm a very average rider, but I do see personal improvements sticking with Friel. If I miss a week or more I will re-do whatever my last schedule segment was or even go back one week, whether it's base 2 or base 3, whatever. If I were in build, I might do a base week, and then back to build. I think everyone has to figure out the personal adjustment factor for themselves.
It is frustrating, but I have come to accept that I do get colds often no matter what I do so I actually build in some "buffer" time in my plan knowing I lose 2 weeks or more each year, especially considering the unexpected work/family obligations.
In terms of training you just have to stay calm, wait for the flu / cold to subside and build up again. If you're only having to take a few days off from riding then you shouldn't be losing much fitness.
Hard training can depress your immune system for as much as several days after finishing exercise. The first few hours after a hard session in particular are where you're most vulnerable. If you can avoid people (especially children) initially, until your immune system has had a chance to recover, then you have a better chance of avoiding flu / colds. There are some suggestions for trying to stay healthy here:
Some things that I find useful are to get home, have a protein shake, a quick shower and then go straight to bed for an hour or so after any particularly tough rides, especially if they've been in bad weather or cold. That rest helps to recharge for the next day's riding too.
Something else that I've found useful in winter is to have a buff or similar (I have a few Endura multitubes) which you can pull up over your mouth and nose so that you aren't always breathing cold air when riding outdoors. It goes a long way towards keeping your face warm and getting rid of that sharp sensation in your throat when riding in the cold. For hard efforts (such as climbs) you pull it down so your breathing isn't restricted before pulling it back up afterwards.They need washing after every ride due to sweat and condensation.
I've also been wearing them round the house too. Having the multitube around your neck keeps the neck and lower jaw warm which seems to be helpful for keeping your throat and glands happy.
I wouldn't worry too much and I would still try to be cautious because you may be doing too much too fast. You are not overtrained at the moment, but your body should not already have another cold after the flu. Make sure you get plenty of sleep and feel rested the next morning when you wake up.
There is not much choice between rotten apples.
I don't know if you can really train your immune system, however, your experiences with children probably help you develop better habits, ie hand washing, not touching your face, not eating after people. I suspect this is how doctors manage to avoid getting sick even though they see tons of sick people day in day out.
Originally Posted by Poncharelli
You're also older than you were when you started teaching-you probably don't hit the town with the guys after you ride, and you probably get more rest than when you were in your 20's.
Originally Posted by msrothwe
It also looks like researchers are getting closer to the reasons why some get sick and some get "less sick":
“There is a behind the scene active immune response even when you don’t get sick,” Hero says. “What we found were differences in their biological metabolism and gene expression. These differences had to do with antioxidants.”
Why some people don't get the flu - TODAY Health - TODAY.com
Frustrated by sickness here too. 11 days and not a lick of exercise...
December was supposed to be a big month, illness and work kept me down to 4 hr/ week. Trying to be patient, but I feel better and I'm done waiting...training starts back up tomorrow.
Edit: It's tomorrow, I rode today, and it was awesome.
Last edited by brentos; 01-15-2013 at 07:32 PM.
I'm also back on the bike now. Have done some easy sessions, a few sprints and a mad see how long I can stand up whilst turboing session - an hour it seems.
Power feels pretty good so am in a much better mood.
One thing about being forced off the bike; it makes you really hungry for riding and boosts your enthusiasm no end once you get out again.
(p.s. my wife said she'd leave me if I started wearing a face mask after training sessions and rightly so!)
The more hours you train to do well in races = The more you become a germophobe