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September 13, 2014

Don’t let a cold sabotage your training this winter!

Written by Dena Evans

sick-clipart-cough-clipart-clip_art_sick_man_coughing_in_black_and_white_120625-193187-413053Sometimes, a cold or the flu is unavoidable.  While the fall has hardly begun, now might be a time to consider how you can reduce the chances to be felled by an untimely bout with either, especially as crucial race dates loom on the calendar.


Get a flu shot

This one is pretty self-explanatory.  They are quick, easy, available pretty much everywhere, including many national pharmacy chains, in the office at many large employers, and finally, at your doctor’s office.  Most insurance plans make these free or very affordable, and while they can’t always stop every strain of flu, getting a shot is a lot better than not getting one and having the flu wallop you on the wrong week. Make it happen!


Wash your hands

Without becoming too obsessive about this one, for most of us, there is still room for improvement when making transitions from areas where we have a lot of contact with shared surfaces.  More importantly, when you do wash your hands, whether it is before dinner or any other time, soap well for 30 seconds.    If you are worried about dry hands, keep lotion handy.  Failing all of this, the next time you are at the mall, stop by the local Bath and Body Works and pick your favorite of a zillion varieties of hand sanitizer to aromatically clean your hands when on the go.


Stay hydrated and drink your OJ

Although the science is not conclusive about the ability of Vitamin C to prevent colds, there are some good signs that plenty of C when a cold starts can help decrease its length.  Staying hydrated generally helps your body to flush toxins and keep in working order.  We hydrate for training reasons, but especially in dry, heated indoor spaces, hydration to stay healthy becomes even more crucial.  This advice does not extend to increased consumption of alcohol, however, as it can suppress the immune system and increase dehydration.



If you are reading this, you are probably on your way to a goal race and not likely to be a person who needs encouragement to exercise.  Be cheered that the immune system is boosted by regular exercise.  However, be cautious that extremely long efforts (think 2 hours or more) can temporarily suppress the immune system, one reason commonly thought for why marathoners often come down with something upon return from a race.  With good sleeping, hygiene, and hydration habits, hopefully your strengthened system will help you reap the benefits of an uninterrupted training cycle, while not falling ill after the finish line is reached.





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