Recover or Endure?

I shall present the question, then my thoughts. When an athlete gets sick (like the cold), should they take time off to recover or push through whichever workouts they can manage?

So over the holidays I had the sad truth of catching a cold. Now, in November, leading up to a half marathon I was sick as well (it’s happening way too often). At the time, I decided that I was too close to the race and absolutely had to get my workouts in. So besides a single day where I slept the whole time,  I struggled through the majority of my workouts at about or just under where they should be.

I ended up recovering for the most part, besides a little coughing and sniffles, by race day and set my half marathon PR. However, it was 1-2 weeks of suffering with the cold.

But this time, it was around Christmas. And I’m a slacker anyways, so I just took a couple days off. I attempted one run that failed miserably (yeah, that was a bonk). Besides that, I just relaxed and added more vitamin C in. Lo and behold, I was fully over the cold in about 3 days. The downside,  those missed workouts were definitely felt once I got back into it.

So, should an athlete take the time off or just keep working? I think it all depends on the situation and severity of the sickness. In the first case, while a relatively bad cold, my workouts were generally easier & I was leading right up to a race. The second time, the workouts were much more difficult, but farther away from a race. I won’t pick one or the other for sure, but rather decide as each situation happens.

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