Tuesday, August 13, 2013

When Recovery Runs Turn Into Recovery Weeks

Posted by CheapRunnerMike

Last week was week 14 of my 14-week marathon plan.  My race isn't for another two months, but I had really wanted to build up the mileage to make sure I had a good base.  I figured the two months leading up to Chicago could be used to build speed with the base already in place.  Something happened last week though, I came down with a cold.  In the summer.  Though it has hardly felt like summer here for about a month now.

I wasn't willing to slow down and take time to get over it, so I just did what I always do when my body is giving me signs it could use a break…I kept on running.  I didn't run as fast as I normally would and I was pretty uncomfortable the whole time…but I kept on running.  I even looked at the mileage on my training plan for this so-called final week, and it was obviously low (technically I should have run the entire marathon distance on the weekend)…but I kept on running.


This was my run on Thursday, my third of the week and by far my slowest.  My lungs were killing me from the get-go, I was yakking up phlegm the whole time and even my shoes felt wrong…nothing was going right.  It may look like I'm smiling in this picture but it's more likely a grimace at either my time or how crap I was feeling.  Then I did something out of character…I decided that on Friday on wouldn't run.  I said "Okay body, you win…it sucks running when I'm sick, and I will take a day off.  ONE day."

So on Friday I did absolutely nothing, and it was everything that I thought it could be.  I went out for lunch.  I had a beer.  I had an amazing Nacho Burger…dusted jalapeños, nacho chips and melty nacho cheese goodness served on a pretzel bun…but I didn't run.  And it was okay.  I got home from work later that day and packed up the Jeep to go to the cottage for the weekend.  I got all of our food together, clothes packed, etc.  I also threw my running shoes, hat, watch and iPod in so that I could get out for my weekend long run.  I planned to do a shorter run this weekend and not kill myself, was thinking something in the neighbourhood of 10 miles.

Halfway into the drive, I all of a sudden realized something.  I turned to Michelle…"I forgot to pack my running clothes."  No shorts.  No shirts.  Not even socks.  It was crazy how quickly my mind started to work, coming up with some pretty inventive ideas.  "I don't really need a shirt, I can run topless."  "My shorts are Lululemon, I'm sure that even though they hang down to my kneecaps and have a zipper, they will be fine to run in."  "You have extra running shorts with you, right Michelle?"

Can't wear shorts that are shorter than my underwear

Take running away from a runner and the withdrawal is worse than a heroin addict.  We runners are a sick breed.  Needless to say I relented and came to grips with the fact that my Friday off day would turn into a Friday-Saturday-Sunday off day trifecta.  And you know what?  It was okay.  I took advantage of the down time and did what normal people do while at the cottage for the weekend…


All in all I enjoyed my time off from running for a few days, but I was itching to get back at it by Monday.  I got out for a good 13K/8 mile run and was able to go a bit quicker than I was at the end of last week, and though I still have a touch of that summer cold my lungs felt much better.  I even had to stop for a minute on my run as there were deer standing in the middle of the path right in front of me (an argument to run with my camera!)…a beautiful sight even if it killed my pace :)

Do you take time off running if you are sick?


What is the most desperate/embarrassing thing you have done to try to get a run in?


  1. I've definitely forgot important things for runs MANY times. Sometimes I will improvise and sometimes I have learned to just say "okay, it's just not going to happen".

    It's hard to back off when were sick because we don't want to admitt that we NEED the time. But I have gotten better about resting when needed because I know I'll recover that much quicker! So you may have had an accidental few days off but I am sure your body and mind are ready to ROCK this week!

  2. Looks like you guys had fun! I do love me a good recovery week :-) We all need to scale things back a bit sometimes and your body will definitely thank you for that!

    Nacho burger...yum yum!!

  3. I tend to push through until I get to the point where I physically can't do it any more!!! Thankfully, I rarely get sick so I don't have that struggle very often.

  4. Ya I was going crazy when I realized that I forgot my stuff but the extra rest was great, I'm sure I needed it.

  5. And congrats on the new 5K PR! 19:09 is insane!!

  6. Seriously, NACHO BURGER...I was all set to be good and order a salad, then they busted out Nacho Burger as the special. It was amazing.

  7. Well you're lucky then Kim! Probably helps that your boys are a little old too; Jackson gave me this cold. I'm usually immune to his bugs and honestly couldn't tell you the last time I had a summer cold.

  8. Sugar Coated SheridanAugust 13, 2013 at 9:39 PM

    Those short...Love it! haha

  9. Desperate times call for desperate measures...

  10. I so feel you man. We are a sick breed. I expected I would get sick (and I still imagine I will) before the Marathon and that would be my off days. I'm glad you were able to enjoy a Friday!!
    I take time off of running when I'm sick if I have a fever, light headedness, nausea, a bad cough, or my wife beats me.

    You could wear the lululemons... just run in the dark.

  11. But what's the point in a fashion statement if no one sees it??

    Thankfully the cold is now just a cough...still a pain to run with but bearable. Rather be sick than injured...speaking of which, good luck with the Doc today!