Should you train if you are ill?

Sticking to a training schedule when ill

An iron will is sometimes overrated

Seasoned marathon runners are a pretty determined lot, with iron discipline and an appetite for soaking up physical punishment.

That goes without saying.

Injury is one thing – if you can’t run, you can’t run.

But what about illness? Should you train if you are ill?

Clearly it depends on how ill you are, even though there have been some celebrated cases of determined runners coping with deadly serious conditions such as cancer to compete in a marathon.

Opinions differ and you’ll have to make up your own mind.

Training is not a goal in its own right

But the key thing is to avoid unproductive training for the sake of it.

Marathon training is not a goal in its own right. It’s a means of allowing you to compete successfully in one or more marathons.

Just because you’ve been able to fill in a box on your training schedule doesn’t mean that you’re any better prepared for running a marathon. Indeed, you could have set your race preparations back by a week or more.

Productive marathon training

If you’re ill and drag yourself out of bed to go running and the results are lousy, then you’re gaining very little from the exercise.

Have a rest, get better and then do some purposeful, high quality training.

Addicted to a training plan

The counter-productive nature of over training is highlighted in this interesting post by triathlete Mike Trees. He found that he was sick so often that he was only training on average for a third of the time he planned.

By cutting his training target right down he improved the amount of quality training he could manage, improved his race performance hugely and wasn’t sick so often.

What a result.

The truth is that you can become too preoccupied with the amount of training you do – rather than the effect of the training.

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