Should you train when ill?

Fellow forum members, once more I am going to ask you to step in to the breach and settle an arguement with Mrs Stanners from the Bridge.

i am currently trying to enjoy a well earned holiday from to 7 to 7 ( it is the new 9 to 5) and after my first race of the season last Sunday had grand plans of getting some serious training in before my next race on the 13th and a 10k race on the 20th. I took Monday as a rest day then went out on a 50k bike ride around the Peak District and since then I have felt like death with man flu.

Both me and the wifey know how grouchy I get when I don't train, so I have tried a couple of pool sessions since then but have really struggled on the high intensity interval sets and I can't even contemplate running at the moment.

It seems i am damned if I do and damned if i dont. Train but simply do junk sessions or rest up and get stressed about the missed sessions.

So folks, what do you recommend, feet up or head down?


  • Lager.

    Failing which, rest.
  • If its a 'standard cold' then I would perhaps do some low intensity stuf

    If its proper flu then rest and fluids

    If its man flu  ....... MTFU and get on with it  image

    Be led by HR and honesty.
  • Best to rest and come back slow, than try to hit training targets your not able to, and not only fail but injure yourself in the process.

    I am always amazed how amateur athetes push themselves to race in a way that the pros never do.

    Often you hear of pros taking months off racing when things are not good. 

    If your worried about "loosing fitness" here are the numbers. It doesnt matter if you cant run a 20min 5k its the % that counts;

    Days of not running Reduction in fitness

    What this means for a  20 minute 5k runner

    1-7 days Negligible reduction in VO2 max and muscle power   Now running 20:10

    10-14 days 6% reduction in VO2 max and minimal reductions in muscle power Now in 21:05 shape

    14-30 days Estimated 12% reduction in VO2 max and decrease in muscle power Now in 23:00 shape

    30-63 days 19% reduction in VO2 max and significant decrease in muscle power Now in 24:00 shape

    63 days or more 25.7% reduction in V02 max and significant decrease in muscle power Now in 25:30 shape

    I found these numbers years ago and they have proven to be quite accurate. Remember also that as you train getting back to the stage you were at is a lot easier than starting from scratch.

    Now go put your feet up

  • RicFRicF ✭✭✭
    I agree with Stephen on this one.
    So many athletes think of training only in terms of 'loading' and give little or no consideration to recovery.
  • Don't train!

    1) What's the point in doing 'junk' sessions and delaying your recovery?

    2) If you have a virus you risk serious illness or even death (no, this isn't an urban myth)

    3) Training is making you feel worse not better

    4) Rest is an important part of training

    Hope you feel better soon.

    If you think you can or you think you can't you're probably right.
  • if your legs are hanging off you can still swim
    if your arms are hanging off you can still run
    if you have one leg and one arm hanging off you can still bike

    otherwise rest image

    you may be better of taking the other posters advice
  • Little M.iss Happy has the right of it - if you really are ill then for God's sake don't train, you could do yourself serious harm or as she said, even death. Training when below par can cause an inflammation of the heart muscles and this in turn can lead to permanent impairment which will end your sporting career, or at worst, kill you. I'm not trying to be alarmist, this is fact. I personally know of 6 former athletes who followed this course and are now unable to run at all. 2 people I knew did die, one was a very fit member of the British team and went for a 10km run while suffering flu systems. Tragically he collapsed and died 30 mins after finishing his run. And he was also a Marine, so supremely fit.

    DON"T DO IT!

  • I wanted to ask the same question. So after reading all your posts I have decided to rest up too!  image



  • Good! It's much too dangerous to do otherwise.

  • My simple rule of thumb is if its a head cold, carry on, if its a chest cold, stop


  • I think if you are trying to train and your body isn't performing it's probably trying to tell you something. Surely?

  • Rest.

    Dont stress about it either - that would just make it worse.

    Use the time to read up on training maybe - you'll find that trying to push yourself when sick is not a good idea. Train smart.
  • I'm resting just in case I get the flu, can't be too carefull

  • /members/images/497331/Gallery/images-8_1.jpeg

     REST. That's an order!



  • Symptoms only above the neck, ok to train. Below the neck, no way!

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