A problem that will face every athlete at some point in their career is, “What should I do now that I am sick?” Some folks will stick to their workout plans no matter how they feel, ignoring little things like illness or injury. Other people will take the slightest excuse to back off or take time off altogether in an effort to recover. Neither method is right or wrong, but I like to think that there can be a happy medium. The trick, of course, is finding that happy medium.

I was sick most of last week. I took 3 days off completely in order to give my body a chance to recover, and then I did a short run Saturday morning and a longer one Saturday afternoon. Today, I did an up-tempo 8 miler. The way that I felt and my schedule did not lend itself towards getting a workout in Wednesday through Friday; I took Wednesday off from work (which does not happen very often). Yesterday and today, I finished my runs coughing so hard it was painful. It did not hurt ’til I stopped running though. I felt great right up until I stopped.

I will generally back off on my training for at least a few days to a week when I am sick. If it is a little cold, then I might take a day or two off and then take a day or two easy before getting back into it. I try not to let it effect my training too much. Something like strep throat, on the other hand, can sideline me for weeks. As soon as I feel that working out will not prolong the illness, I start moving again. A few days easy, and then back to regularly scheduled programming as soon as possible. I treat it like a game of poker; I play my cards passive aggressively.

How do you deal with illness? What changes do you put into your workout schedule, if any?