Top Tips For Avoiding a Cold This Winter
Now I don’t want to sound like your mum or an old teacher nagging at you in this article but there might be a few moments when I hear you sigh or groan. You see the problem we have here as coaches is trying to get you runners to take rest and nutrition as seriously as you take the training part.
We have often been heard to say at workshops and training days ‘its not the hour a day that the runner spends training that we worry about, it’s the other 22-23 hours that will make the difference’.
Over the years this has become the key to success for many we help and advise. Yes we can tell you how often, fast and long to train but it really counts for nothing if you are always tired and ill. You won’t become the runner you could be if you don’t attempt to get this part right.
So the following tips will help you to avoid getting a winter cold, but more importantly, they will definitely help you to be a better runner all of the time.
Eating – The Golden Hour
- Try to eat immediately after finishing any training and definitely within 20 mins of the run or session ending. Research suggests your immune system is much lower after harder runs for several hours and eating well helps to raise it quickly. How many of us squeeze in a quick morning or lunchtime run before work and then don’t eat for ages because there is so much to do or the kids need dropping at school. The problem is that your body just won’t fight off a cold as effectively and you can bet your bottom dollar that somebody you meet sneezes on you. Those who commute after a morning run or work in a busy office must eat before making that journey! I said we would nag you………
There are many other energy and training reasons for eating immediately after training and we will focus closely on these in the weeks ahead.
Put Warm Clothes on ASAP
- As soon as you finish training, put on warm and dry clothes, especially those close to the skin. This is very important if running outside but still matters even indoors on the treadmill. Even the crop top needs changing as it is damp to the skin and will still leave you feeling cold and more likely to fall ill. So maintain that body temperature and dignity girls. Take extra kit to training and find ways of quickly getting changed without building an audience…
Focus on quality of Vitamins & Minerals
- Are you sure you are getting enough vitamins & minerals in your diet? Have a think about this. I know good old Tony Blair once said 5 pieces of fruit or Veg a day but the reality is that us runners need much more. Chat to a nutritionist if unsure and then consider supplements upon getting quality advice. Remember, we lose lots of vitamins & minerals through sweat and training hard and must replace these quickly and naturally. Also consider using a sports recovery or hydration drink after each run to get these nutrients straight back into the system. There is quite a bit of research out there to suggest high doses of vitamin C can prevent a cold or reduce the length if taken correctly. Again, chat to a good nutritionist on these areas.
Rest or run easy when tired
- It sounds like common sense but as we have said before, there is nothing common about sense with runners. Please listen to your body and what it is telling you. If you feel tired rest or have an easy day of light recovery running (fully conversational) or head for a swim or light X training session. Rest is as important as training. Try to get enough sleep as well. Never easy in this chaotic world but it does make all the difference. So put that hard session off until tomorrow or another day if you feel tired or under the weather.
Wash those hands
- Our final tip is perhaps the most simple and obvious of all. Wash or clean your hands frequently, especially if in public places. Yep those sports Doctors keep telling the teams we travel with that this is the most common way of picking up colds. Now we are not asking you to wear face masks and leave the house like an extra from Contagion, but carrying some anti bacterial hand scrub and using it before eating or after traveling or meeting people can help.
Stay healthy and love every run,
Nick & Phoebe
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