This Ironman Triathlon "Offseason" has been the largest pain in the butt since I started this crazy endurance sports adventure ten years ago. It seems like it has been one thing after another that is keeping me from any consistent training and trust me, consistency is about the most important aspect of triathlon training.
Let me define my "offseason" first. This is the time which for me which occurs over the fall and winter when I am not racing and my focus shifts to recovering from the punishment of Ironman training and also spending time on fitness activities that I enjoy the most. I try to spend as much time cycling because I enjoy it the most and there is very little negative impact on your body.
Going back to last year, I completed Ironman Mont Tremblant in Canada in August and began my recovery in September. I took a few weeks off and noticed my right knee was really hurting. The pain lead me to believe I was possibly going to need surgery again on this knee. I scheduled two doctor visits and low and behold it wasn't my knee where the injury was but it was directly attributed to my tightness in my groin muscle. And I am talking a lot of tightness. I was at the point where it hurt to walk. So I started working on the rehab on this and three days later I crashed on my bike and now I am really down for the count.
So this rehab takes another six weeks where I did swim some and got on my bike but there was no running. Now, if this is going to happen, November and December are the best possible months since it is the off season but it still sucked! The calendar now turns to January and I am back at it. Boom - a cold kicks in right at January 1 and it is back now after four good weeks of training. Ugggg......
Dealing with a cold is never fun but in the grand scheme of troubles we could have it is pretty minor. I was curious if doing some training with a cold is advisable or not so I started to do some online research and I came across this post from years ago from the New York Times - click here to read it.
Before I read this article I always believed the old adage "If the cold is above the neck, you can work out. If it goes below your neck, take some rest." This article sites two little discussed studies from the 1990's where the scientist infected a test group with the rhinovirus and did a side by side with a test group to monitor the affects of exercise.
They looked at two distinct questions. First, does the virus affect your ability to exercise and secondly does it affect your symptoms and recovery time? The first question addressed showed that there we no adverse affects to lung function and exercise capacity in the people with the virus. Again, the second question came back with the answer that there was no affect in recovery or symptoms. Take a few minutes to read that article that linked above, it really is interesting.
In looking at other info online, this seems to be the common sentiment - exercise away. Of course, if you are feeling serious fatigue or soreness I would ask yourself is this the right thing to do today? The off season should be just that, OFF! Have fun working out, stay fit and work on strengthening your body but use your brain and common sense as well. Working out should mostly be fun! Have a great Super Bowl Sunday!!!