Sick the week before a race?

My son turned 3 this passed weekends and without a doubt after spending a whole morning around 15 toddlers, boom… a cold strikes. I’ve got a 112 mile gravel race that I’ve been training just to finish, let alone place well, since January. Any recommendations on how to recover quickly without losing too much fitness heading into this thing? The race is a week from Saturday, I have until Thursday to drop the 112 miler for the 100km distance.

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What what I’ve gathered from helpful advice here and my own experience being sick a bunch over the past ~18 months, you likely won’t lose much fitness but you can drag out the cold by doing too much, too soon.

Definitely take it easy and sleep a bit more if you can for the first few days.


How sick are you? That is a critical question…if it is just a mild cold / virus, you will likely be fine (especially since your goal is just to finish).

If you are really sick…stuck in bed, deep fatigue, fever, etc…I would recommend dropping down (again, since your goal is only to finish).

I’ve told the story before but it bears repeating here…I got very sick Memorial Day Weekend in 2019 adn I was doing Unbound 200 the next weekend. I mean really sick…couldn’t get out of bed, heavy congestion / cough, fever, some vomiting (but I think that was just because of all the crap / snot I was swallowing). Still a small lingering cough by race weekend…

About mile 60, the wheels started coming off…by mile 75, my body completely shut down. Full body cramps…literally could not pedal the bike. Between the heat (for which I had had no acclimatation, coming form Chicago) and the residual fatigue, my body simply said “GTFO…I’m done”.

So again, it will depend on how sick you really are…and I would also make sure to rule out COVID. If you have a mild case, doing a strenuous race could make things much worse.


So far just some drainage and sinus pressure, and a slight fever (99.5ish). I’ll take a covid test today.


I wouldn’t do anything between now and the race until you feel 100%. As FrankTuna said, you won’t lose fitness in this week, but you sure as heck can drag this cold out and cost yourself fitness on the day of the event due to being sick. I’d just relax, treat it as a super taper and maybe the day or two before you can get a ride in.


Covid test negative, and took the afternoon off to couch surf. Switched from cold and flu meds to some homeopathic remedies and seem to be feeling better now than I have since Tuesday.


What did you take? I’m on day 3 of some sort of viral thing and have a race in 2.5 weeks… I usually stay away from mainstream meds but know nothing about homeopathic stuff - so I’m open to suggestions :slight_smile:

Imagine your whole 24oz bidon and put in one grain of sugar. homeopathy is calling that a sports drink, which has the effect of a 80g carbs drinkmix. You just have to believe it and it becomes true…

Don’t bother with homeopathy, it’s pseudo sience - a placebo at best. If you have mild symptoms you can threat it with natural remedies. Look up what ingredients are anti-inflammatory that you have at home. Don’t eat dairy or processed food. Drink ginger tea with half a lemon pressed in and some honey to sweaten it up. Flush your nose with saline solution (you can make that yourself with tablesalt and water 1:10, 5g of salt for 50cl of water). you can also gargle the saline solution if your throat is inflammed. Lots of remedies and things you can do but just don’t bother with homeopathy.


When I get the first symptoms like sore throat etc. I usually start taking zinc tablets that dissolve in the mouth + a lot c-vitamin. Then the basic other stuff like mix of fruits, garlic, ginger, honey, berries. These may or may not help help shorten the sickness, but by far the best is just time+rest.


Sleep sleep sleep (easier said than done with kids!), hydrate and zinc supplements (recent meta-analysis showed it can help kick a cold about 1-2 days early).

This was me,recently. Had a cold Tues-Thurs with a race on Saturday. Slept a good chunk of the day and all night Tuesday. Did no exercise, didn’t even go outside. Had no symptoms by Friday, did a test ride and my heart rate got alarmingly high on my local short climb, but recovered perfectly normally. I decided to still do the full distance (80km/1300m), but take it easy and no caffeine beyond my morning coffee. I watched HR closely telling myself I’d abandon if it wasn’t recovering well but it was just normal race high.

I monitored my HRV all week as well and didn’t get any obvious signs that I was really sick/fatigued from it, so that was another factor that informed me doing the full distance.

And I did a pile of covid tests, all negative, so I felt comfortable racing with others.

I remember reading about a German study that found homeopathic treatments were actually less effective than placebos, but wasn’t able to find it in a quick search.

In the meantime, I found this meta-analysis which found no statistical difference between the two: