Monday, January 12, 2009

Suck It Up

I suppose no cycling related blog would be complete without the obligatory post on training while sick. The web is teaming with sites that would have you believe that it is better to err on the side of precaution when it comes to the common cold and training. For years I have operated under the assumption that there are no gains to be had when riding while sick; however, new studies may suggest otherwise…

Lorena and I are currently working on a contradicting theory suggesting that training through the common cold might actually help you get better faster. Although our pool of knowledge is based solely on random websites and hearsay; this should not deter you from trusting in our sage advice. As it happens, I was feeling a bit under the weather last week which gave me a great opportunity to test this new theory.

Case Study:
Monday & Tuesday I took it easy on account of an emerging sore throat. Wednesday’s two hour ride in the freezing rain (Sorry Steve! You make the weather call next time!) only helped to further the progress of my illness. Aside from my three hour ride to work on Friday I took things pretty easy the remainder of the week. Sunday morning came and I was stilling battling a sore throat; however, I decided to head out for a long ride in effort to test our new theory. About halfway through the ride my sore throat turned into a productive cough and by the time I got home I was expelling a copious supply of mucus (sorry, this blog post is not for the faint of heart). This morning I awoke feeling almost completely healthy! Yay! I’m cured!

Literature Review:

Everyday Athlete (the more conservative voice)
Runner's World
EAS Coaching
Testosterone Muscle

These references, coupled with my own experience have led me to conclude that it is indeed ok (if not beneficial) to train through the common cold provided it only involves issues above the neck (i.e. sore throat & runny nose). This theory does NOT apply to physical maladies below the neck (i.e. bronchial infection), as these tend to be more serious. Finding that fine line between the two can be tricky. I’d also like to suggest Cycle-Dumb as another fantastic source for revolutionary training ideas. (photo: Tony Little, icon of revolutionary indoor training)

Disclaimer: Lorena & I accept no legal responsibility for serious illness that may result from faulty medical advice. A grain of salt should be taken with any advice gleaned from our respective blogs.

photo credits:,,


Rob said...

wait, what? I've been following the advice on your's and Lorena's blog for years? What's going to happen to me now? My life has just lost its purpose.

Anna said...

I have no sympathy. You, of all people, should know better than to put any weight on our advice.

Drive it like a rental!

Patty said...

This is Patty from Sunday's CT class. I continued to teach my spinning classes during chemo and radiation. Based on my personal experience, exercising while ill does help. I was able to track my physical decline and know when strength was waning and returning. Not to mention the positive psychological benefits of exercising through the experience.

It was a great ride on Sunday. I hope to do it again soon.