I have been in an absolute panic about flu season. It seems like every year at this time the kiddos go back to school and stir up the germ pot. Shortly thereafter the domino effect starts...and one by one everyone you know comes down with some sort of ailment. And this year we get to add the H1N1 paranoia to the mix, just for fun.
Getting the flu or a cold sucks anytime, but I'm even more stressed about it this year because nowhere on my training schedule does it say "be out of commission for 5-7 days." And these next four weeks are huge for me: big training volume, and big life stuff going on, all at once.
So I have been trying to take every precaution I can to avoid getting sick.
First line of defense -- SLEEP
I have given myself permission to blow-off a whole slew of things in place of sleep. First and foremost being laundry. Until Monday night, however, when I was forced to skip a swim workout to get control of the piles again. Whether or not this is the right thing to do, laundry was an absolute necessity -- that night was the only night this week I had time to get it done, I am leaving town on Friday -- and I still wanted to be in bed at a decent hour.
Secondary troops -- VITAMINS
I don't know if it really helps all that much, but I figure it can't hurt. I've started taking a daily multi-vitamin, along with additional calcium (a must for a stress-fx prone runner), and fish oil (supposed to be a natural anti-inflammatory). As a side-note, I just realized I've gotten this far into training without hitting the Ibuprofen. I'm suprised and somewhat impressed by this.
Reserve troops -- HYDRATION AND HEALTHY EATING
Its no secret that the eating is the part of this whole workout puzzle that I struggle with the most. But I am trying to focus on staying hydrated and eating fruits and veggies every day. Admittedly, I do much better with the hydrating and fruit consumption than the veggies. But I try.
Things I cannot control
Unfortunately, as much as I try to put up the best defense I can against the germs, there are still things that I have not control over:
1) People who come to work when they know they are sick (my biggest frustration). -- Stay home. You are not that important. -- But all I can do about this one is avoid contact and wash my hands a lot. I have become a bit of a recluse, but that's just the way its going to have to be until November 1st.
2) Travel. The next month is jam packed with travel and there's not much I can do about that. All I can do is try to stick with the things I've been doing -- get enough rest, take vitamins, hydrate, eat healthy -- and hope for the best. Most important of those I think are rest and hydration. And a little wishful thinking about seat placement on the plane....there's nothing worse than squeezing in next to that business traveler who's red-eyed and kleenex toting and looking like they can't wait to get home and crawl in bed immediately following this flight.
I know these little defense mechanisms are not rocket science, and realistically they are stuff we should be doing all the time. But lets get real. No one has enough hours in their day and we all let one or more of these things slide on a pretty regular basis....but for the next four weeks I'm going to do my best to be on top of it, and put myself and my health as a top priority. I didn't come this far into marathon training to have to run 26.2 with the flu. Or worse, have to defer to next year and do all this training again! Remember, I don't really like running. ;)