Monday, 1 October 2012

A Nasty Cold Spell

If you want to be successful at anything then you should know how to plan for success. But sometimes plans get affected by unexpected events, or events you had anticipated but didn’t really want to occur. That’s why you also have to be adaptable, to ensure that these events cause the minimum disruption and that you can get back on track as quickly as possible. This week I’ve had to deal with such a disruption.

Two weeks ago Carole came down with a cold. It was so bad she was pretty much grounded for a couple of days. Naturally I was waiting for said cold to find it’s way over to me and was feeling pretty glum as I thought about the impending Northern Road Relays, that I would have to withdraw from. However, come race day the cold hadn’t come near me, Carole was recovering and we were both able to make the trip to Leigh. The race went well for me and all thoughts of illness went out of the window.

Sunday morning I felt a little groggy, and it wasn’t due to the previous night’s celebrations. I still managed a good long run but was definitely feeling a bit coldy by evening. Over the next couple of days the cold hovered around but I did all the right things, eating healthily and drinking lots of fluid. It was a mild cold and after checking my resting heart rate I knew I was ok to run. In fact I ran some pretty good sessions on Monday and Wednesday.

I had been debating whether to run the Swinton 10 mile race on the Sunday, Carole was going to be away again so the early start wouldn’t have bothered anybody and I haven’t done a 10 mile race for years. I’ve recently started to run the distance in training but there’s a big difference between training and racing, well there is for me. So it was a long shot but I was tempted.

But then the decision was taken out of my hands. I was at a charity quiz on Thursday night and started feeling a little run down. By the time we got home my nose was itching and running and I was sneezing a fair bit, causing me to struggle to get to sleep. Friday morning I felt awful. I still got out for a run but, instead of the planned quality session, it was an easy one. As the day progressed I was sinking fast. Another night’s disrupted sleep and I woke up feeling worse on Saturday. No way would I be racing on Sunday, I made that mistake in 1996. I didn’t feel like running but I forced myself out for another easy run. At first I felt awful but I settled into it and met someone on the way, making a nice change to have someone to talk to on a run.

I should point out here that if you have a bad cold, with raised resting pulse, you should do little or no exercise. However I always recommend you go out for a walk to get some fresh air, though not if the weather is as bad as we had early last week. In my case I considered an easy run to be the equivalent of a walk for someone less fit. I think I was right because as quickly as the cold had reached it’s peak it subsided again. By Saturday evening I was feeling much better and Sunday better still.

So how has this affected my plans. One reason I was considering Swinton was that I thought I was due an easy week of training and knowing a 10 mile race would leave me drained I had planned that for this week. My easy week actually consists of 5 days, that’s enough to reinvigorate me. With the cold affecting my training from Friday all that means is I’ve started my week early. Hopefully I’ll be in good enough condition to restart hard training on Wednesday. Swinton was only a thought and not that important to me so it’s not affected my racing plan. All in all it’s not affected me too much but I did do the sensible thing, had I attempted to race on Sunday it would have put my recovery back by much more, or there might have been a much worse outcome.

Even though I couldn’t race it was good to get the results through. Many of my Scottish friends were doing the Loch Ness Marathon and 10k or the Linlithgow 10k, and there were some great results. Kerry-Liam Wilson winning another Scottish Masters title, can anybody stop him, and it was good to see Bryan Mackie picking up his pace on return from injury. Many other notable performances too but those two stand out for me. There were some other good performances by my Salford colleagues in the Swinton 10, notably by Bev Jenkins and Hayley Kuter. It looks like a race I might enjoy, maybe next year, particularly if the cakes are out again.

This weekend sees Ray tackle the Chester marathon. Here’s looking for a great performance Ray, I only hope I haven’t passed the lurgy onto you.

Written by Roger Alsop

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