Should You Cycle When Sick?
I’m not sure if it’s been just plain good luck, or if being extremely conscious of taking in good whole foods is the reason…but I’ve been running on healthy and haven’t had a cold for longer than I can remember. In fact, it has been at least a couple years or more since I had to take a day off of riding due to illness. But those nasty bugs hit me earlier this week and were credited for me taking time off the bike.
It wasn’t an extremely bad cold, but enough for me to want to take Monday off from riding. The next day, I felt better but still wasn’t sure if I should ride. I have to admit that it takes an awful lot for me to convince myself that I shouldn’t ride, so I got on and took a slightly easier ride that day. I could definitely feel the cold taking a beating on my energy, but it went pretty good.
But did I do the right thing by getting out on the bike? Did it prolong the illness? There is a famous line when it comes to cycling while sick and it goes:
If the illness is above the neck, keep riding. If below, rest.
Mine was pretty much all in my head so according to this rule of thumb, I was doing okay. However, later on Tuesday night I could really feel the fatigue in my body and I was wondering how I was going to feel in the morning. I went to bed saying positive affirmations and believing that I would be feeling great. I woke up Wednesday morning not feeling miraculously cured, but I didn’t feel too bad at all. I went out for another ride that day and Thursday, and took it pretty easy again.
I’ve always wondering if I would cure myself faster by just totally resting and letting it pass, or keeping active and toning things down a notch. I still don’t know the answer, but I made out pretty well taking the approach that I took. If I can offer any advice on what you should do about your riding when feeling a little under the weather, it is this…..follow the golden rule found above, and keep the following in mind:
- Listen to your body, don’t push it more than it feels okay with
- Keep extra, extra hydrated
- Don’t be too macho to turn back if you aren’t feeling good
- Take extra vitamin C
- Be prepared for a very runny nose while you’re out there