Preparing for the worst -- illness seems imminent

I’m 52 YO and this is my second year with TrainerRoad. Last year I took on traditional base mid-volume and was getting close to finishing when illness struck. I never got back on track with my training.

This year I completed two months of traditional base mid-volume and am about to start week four of Sweet Spot Base mid-volume. In the middle of last week I started to get sleep disruptions (resting HR seems fine, I felt fine) and after two consecutive nights I skipped a workout. Despite my restless nights not resolving, I proceeded with my Saturday and Sunday workouts. I completed them in my usual decent form.

Yes, another sleepless night and now I’m feeling like I might be coming down with something. I am leaning towards skipping one workout if not more. So, the question is: do I skip until my sleep returns to normal? Do I continue working out but with reduced loads? If I do get full on sick, do I workout at all and if I stop workouts how do I transition back into my plan?


I have nothing to offer except for anecdotal suggestions… but after the emphasis that the podcasts have been putting on the importance of sleep (coupled with my own realizations about its monumental importance (i’m a 48 y/o firefighter) for everything (fitness, stress reduction, weight management, etc.)), I think your body is trying to tel you something and you’d be wise to listen! Good luck, Sir (or Ma’am)!

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Over the years, I have learned what the different aches and pains of getting sick means. Some I can train through. Some I just spin to help the legs feel better. Other I just stop and sleep.

This year, when I felt something coming on, I stopped training. Just did not feel right. Ended up missing 2.5 days of work (I almost never miss work for being sick) and did not train for over 2 weeks.

How do you feel? If it is only in your head (above the neck), give training a go. If below the neck, stop. If stuff is going around your house or work, stop for a day or two and get extra sleep. Best case, you are more rested and ready to train. Worst case, you still get sick but perhaps your body is more on top of it than it would have been otherwise.

“Luke, if you only knew the power of sleep.”

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If it is only sleep being affected then just get on with it - there are many factors that affect this - stress etc. As a teacher if I stopped training every time I had a bad nights sleep I wouldn’t get anything done. If however you feel you are coming down with something - high RHR, difficulty keeping the watts up take a day off and see if that fixes it…if you genuinely are ill it will manifest itself in 48hours - if not get on with your training and maybe try other solutions - less caffeine/screen time in the evening etc.

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I agree your decision to train or not should be based on more than just sleep quality / quantity. I decide based on RHR, Sleep quality/quantity, feeling of fatigue, and HR response to a workout. For me, when all of these factors appears negative, its time to shut down the trainer. If its just one or two I will power through.

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There’s no shame in throttling back intensity and volume for a week or two and then jumping back on your SS plan. I was just sick for a week and a half right after Xmas so it was two weeks off the bike and then still feeling weak and having an elevated HRV in the third week. I just started doing short Z1/2 rides in that third week until I felt better and my HRV started going up. I’m back to full wattage now.

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If I feel the beginning of something setting in there are two questions: how is my energy level, how is my motivation? If they are both OK I might carry on as usual. If one of two of these are lacking, I’ll sub in a Z2/endurance ride instead of any scheduled higher intensity work. If both are low, I found it’s best to skip it entirely and focus on sleep.

If I’m definitely sick I’ll either sub in endurance work, or skip. Fever? Rest. Lots of congestion - only low intensity work. It’s tough - I felt a cold coming on late last week and I had an outside ride planned, I still went because I felt like I would have gotten sick regardless. I got sick, but at least I got a ride in too. There are times when no matter what you do, you’re getting it. And I think there are times when you can actually avoid it. It takes knowing yourself very well. Good luck!

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Thank you all. The sleep I got Monday night was far from perfect but TONS better than Sunday and I woke up Tuesday feeling I could do something. Furthermore, my overnight resting HR was markedly reduced and I (obvious by now) felt much better and in fact eager for my session.

However, I still reduced Carson to Carson -5 and accomplished it no problems – only a bonk coming on at the very end. I pre-fueld with a banana and some biko (rice-cake) but did not fuel during the ride. Tomorrow is Petit -1 (that is the prescribed workout) I am going to wake up for and take it on fasted. I will consider further workload reductions but I’m thinking my body licked whatever was attacking it and am ready to resume the regularly scheduled program.