Return to Training from Illness

The winter blast has hit Geelong in recent weeks. Many of our athletes are slowly building back into structured training. This time of the year is largely about working on weaknesses and building a solid aerobic base. It is also a common time for athletes to battle illness.

The chance of an athlete getting sick increases when:

  • Increased physical / training stress
  • Increased psychological / work / family stress
  • Seasonal weather changes
  • Previous sickness this season
  • Air travel
  • Poor personal hygiene
  • Insufficient sleep
  • Low energy availability eg. trying to lose weight or not refueling properly

There are a few simple rules to apply when an athlete is sick and wanting to return to training.

  1. Symptoms above the shoulders

Usually include head ache, running / nose, sore throat etc.

If they are you may still be able to complete sessions, but they should be modified to reduce or eliminate intensity and the duration.

  1. Symptoms below the shoulders

Usually include chest congestion and /or aching muscles

The best advice is to rest completely until these symptoms ease. In some cases, you may consider very light exercise such as an easy walk or easy indoor cycle session.

When an athlete is capable of returning to training, the coach will program sessions in the following priority order:

  1. Increase number of sessions compared to complete rest days
  2. Then increase the duration of the sessions
  3. And then add some intensity gradually

The advice mentioned above is general in nature and the return to training procedure will depend on symptoms, the athlete’s well-being and phase of training.

If you are at all concerned about your illness please consult your GP for advice.