It doesn’t matter how much we try to hide away from the cough’s and colds of January, eventually they will find a way to get into your body, and beat you up good and proper!

You know it is bad when you can’t even stomach looking at your mates strava files to see what crazy miles they did that day, let alone open up your own training peaks plan to see what sessions you are missing out and fitness you think you are losing.

Yep, being ill really does suck! You hate the world, you feel like crap, your throat feels like its been slashed with a razor blade, your nose feels like its about to explode, you can’t hear anything, and not even the ultra soft balm tissues can make your swollen nose feel any more normal..

Sigh, it really doesn’t get much worse than this, does it…

So as a seasoned athlete, racer, rider, coach, current cold holder, what is the best way to manage a common cold, and get back to training pronto?
Well, as I am in my late 40’s and have pretty much raced nearly every year from the age of 16 year’s onwards, the common cold still manages to get me down every January.

The good news though, I have been lucky enough over the years to have some great coaches, who have helped me get rid of a cold sooner rather than later, by tracking my wake up heart rate.

Firstly though, thank god for a step up in technology! No really, taking your heart manually in the 1980’s after you had a nightmare was, literally a bloody nightmare!! Especially when you were trying to get an accurate reading!
The 1990’s brought out polar, but you still had to sleep with the darn thing on to get an accurate wake up reading. It was like sleeping with a brick on your chest! Not ideal…

Today however, we are lucky to have such technology as the fitbit and other types of wonderful products to test our wake up heart rates. Now all you have to do is wear it like a watch and it tracks your sleep and your resting wake up heart rate. It also tracks your steps if your trying to get more active and lose weight.

You can buy a Fitbit Charge from amazon for about £100 – there are so many different versions of the trackers, but you want the one that records your sleep and heart rate.
Then just down load the Fitbit app on your phone.

Every day you are training, track your wake up daily heart rate.
If your waking RHR (resting heart rate) is the following:

Monday 50 RHR
Tuesday 51 RHR
Wednesday 55 RHR
Thursday 58 RHR

Then DO NOT TRAIN from Wednesday onwards until you see your heart rate resumed normality of your average wake up RHR drop back down.

Fit athletes can have a low wake up RHR between 40 and 50 depending on age and how active they are. I was always fascinated by how low Matthew Pinsents the Olympic rower RHR was of 30!
Now that is really low!

Anyway back to managing the cold…
Fact is, you will get a cold in the winter, but the question is though, for how long?
This is where the above heart rate information can really help you – if you listen to your body and stop training on the day your heart rate has spiked up to above 5 to 10 beats over its normal, then don’t fight it, just don’t train until it resumes normality again.

Let your body fight whatever it needs to fight to get you healthy again. If you look after a cold well, then you should only be looking up to around 4 days off training, as opposed to 10 days if you don’t look after or manage it.

By stopping training won’t prevent you getting a cold, but it can however help you to get back to training sooner.

So here is TC’s advice to look after it, and come back stronger!

DAY 1 of heart rate spiking over 5 to 10 beats its usual -

STOP TRAINING!

DAY 2 – Ahhhhhhh the cold is coming, you think your dying!!!!!!!
LEMSIP THE MAX OUT IT or NIGHT NURSE (BUT NOT BOTH TOO DANGEROUS, YOU WILL SLEEP FOR A YEAR)!
HOT BATHS WITH VICK SALTS OR EPSOM SALTS
HOT WATER BOTTLE, JUMPER SCARF AND BEANY TO BEGIN THE SWEATING
KEEP HYDRATED WITH WATER TO FLUSH OUT THE TOXINS
DOSE UP ON VITAMINS
DRINK HONEY AND FRESH LEMON
DOUBLE DOSE ON HOME MADE SPICY HOT SOUPS
FRESH FRUIT
SLEEP 10 HOURS OR MORE IF YOU CAN
WATCH ALL THE OLD CLASSIC FILMS AND HAVE A GOOD SNOT FEST CRY

Do be careful on what you can and can’t take medication wise – if in doubt, always ask your doctor.

I used night nurse this time and slept for 14 hours! I didn’t even think that was possible! Anyway, that was day 2..

DAY 3 – Same as DAY 2
DAY 4 – Same as Day 3

Day 5 – Same as Day 4 But… Your nose stops running, your eyes feel brighter, you can kind of stomach opening strava to see what your mates have been doing, rather than hating them! You can begin to get excited as you know you getting over the worst of it, and can vizulize riding your bike again, and actually hold a conversation on social media! Yesssss! I am alive!!!!!

Day 6 – This is today, and it is so good to know I might actually be able to get out on the bike tomorrow.

My wake up heart rate has finally gone down from 58 to 52 – this is a good sign and shows my body was amazing, and kicked the cold senseless!

Whoooohoooooo!!!! I can train, I am well, I’ve survived another January!

The most important thing to remember now, is your body is on the mend, but you still need to look after it, so only do a hour a day at a low heart rate, so you can build up your immune system again, and let your body and legs adjust to outside again.

Do take it easy though, as if like me, we have a very long season ahead of us!

Take care peeps, and see you on the road soon!

TC



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