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Tufts University: The President's Marathon Challenge

Coach's Blog

February 25, 2009

What happens when you are ill during our scheduled training sessions?

Sophomore runner Evan Steinberg wrote:

Hey Coach,

I've had a string of bad luck with sickness these past few weeks.  After
having a cold on and off since I got back to school, I was diagnosed with
tonsillitis two weeks ago.  I finished my medication last friday -- then,
just yesterday, my tonsillitis returned.  They put me on stronger
antibiotics, though I still don't feel all that great today.

I was lucky enough to be able to run last sunday and wed, but I'm still
concerned that overall I'm not getting the mileage I need.  I'm hoping to
feel OK by this sunday, but I'm still worried.  When I finally get healthy
(I'll be on this medication for another 8 days), is there anything extra I
can do to get into shape faster?
  I was hoping to try and run the marathon
in 4 hours, and these persistent medical problems seem to keep getting in
the way.


My Response:

Hello Evan...Thank you for the updates....We have been through similar situations before (along with swimmers and runners)...two things you (as an athlete) cannot do....you cannot cram training and you cannot cram rest! We should talk at some point so I can explain and reassure you at the same time. You will be fine....The most important thing you need to do is get healthy. No one can run when they are sick, especially when they are on medication. The body will not respond favorably to this. You must also be sure not to make any subjective evaluations based on how you feel now. You will only develop negative feelings based on your illness! ... when in reality ... you will feel much better, and stronger once you recover ... and the good news is that you will NOT lose any cardiovascular conditioning. This is where I come in and assist you in returning to a steady routine of running! Be patient Evan ... remember, I have been through this for 38 years with swimmers and runners! Keep me posted and be sure to set up a time so we can talk. I leave for the men's NESCAC championships tomorrow afternoon and return on Saturday evening. You should plan on attending the Sunday run. We can talk while the team is completing their scheduled run! Good luck Evan...and remind yourself that you are going to be fine! Your friend, Coach

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