Sick... Just In Time

By Marilyn Trout | 02/11/13
Sick... Just In Time

Photo: ghindo, "Sick" via Flickr, Creative Commons Attribution.

We’ve teamed up with Marilyn Trout, certified USA Cycling Elite Coach to answer Voler Newsletter List members’ training questions. You can view her coach profile at Send your cycling inquiries to Marilyn, and for a limited time, if yours is selected to be answered in our Training column, Voler will send you a $20 gift certificate that can be used towards any purchase from the Voler Store at To submit your inquiry, e-mail her at, and type “Voler Training Question” in the subject line of the e-mail.

Sick... Just In Time


I was all set to head to the World Cyclo-Cross Championships in a little over a week until a few days ago when I came down with a cold. So, I'm feeling pretty awful right now. Any hints how to deal with this?



It sounds like nothing is going to stand in your way of going to the World Championships so we need to figure out how you are going to be ready for race day. First and foremost, you must believe that a cold will not wipe away all the hours of hard work you’ve dedicated yourself to all these months. Certainly, you don’t FEEL like it, but be absolutely confident that you have the fitness within you.

Having that thought welded into your psyche, you need to listen to what your body is saying. If you have a fever, there is no way around it, you have to rest, drink plenty of fluids and don’t do any training until the fever is gone. Compromising your health when the body is fighting, AND telling you with a fever, is foolishness.

If there is no fever and you are genuinely feeling better, then do some aerobic work in a controlled environment - 20-30' on the trainer is a good option rather than breathing cold air outside. This is aerobic work, low intensity without testing the fitness at all. Before you head to the World’s, have a session  on the trainer  with a long warm-up and ramp up to threshold. See how the body responds and if all is good, add some sub-threshold intervals just to begin to wake the body up. Next day recover with aerobic. It would be good to have a session of some short (3-4 x about 30-60 seconds) race pace intervals with FULL recovery before heading to World's just to do the final wake-up. Continue to drink plenty of fluids and don’t skimp on your sleep.

All the best in the mud,

Voler's Note:  Colin took 1st place in his heat on the first day of the championships, and 8th out of 53 racers in the finals a couple of days later. Kudos to him for battling through the cold and conquering!

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