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Wednesday, January 16, 2013
Boo, flu! Struggling with a training road block

By Summer Sanders

Summer on the Run is a 12-week blog and video series that follows former Olympic swimmer and avid runner Summer Sanders on her journey to train for Disney's Princess Half Marathon on Feb. 24.

Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, she will share training tips, and a little inspiration, as she gears up for the main event. Use hashtag #GoRun on Twitter to follow Summer and be part of the ongoing conversation.


Training is not the same for everyone. We all have strengths and weaknesses we must work around and things that are out of our control. I bet you have days when you can't fit in the workout you wanted, just like I do. Don't beat yourself up about it. Instead of getting hung up, figure out the next best plan. That can mean starting fresh the next day.

Bigger hiccups, like illness and injury, are hard to handle, but they are going to happen. Remind yourself we all have to deal with them. I am overcoming the flu so many of us have caught this season. One day I felt great and had a fantastic run because the weather wasn't as cold as usual. The next morning, I woke up feeling it -- I knew I was getting sick.

If you get sidelined, my first tip is to trust that it'll turn out OK. Your training won't be ruined, even if you need to spend a week in bed. All of your hard work will not go to waste. I am proof of that as I come out of my feverish state and get back on the road again. I've already gone through all the stages (cold symptoms, fever and sinus pain) and I'm ready to roll.

For me, the bummer is missing a run with my girlfriends. We were going to do a long run together Tuesday, but after being sick, I'm not ready for that. Instead, I'll do an easy four miles and evaluate how I feel each day. I'll increase my mileage again, slowly. There's no point in pushing it now and losing more days when I can come back in two, if I do it right.

It's hard to hold yourself back sometimes. This is one of those crucial moments. It's the same after an injury. You can't act like it never happened and dwell on time lost. You have to build back up; before you know it, you'll be back on schedule.

I don't like to take medication if I don't have to, so I help my body beat sickness with other things, like probiotics and Vitamin C. My probiotic drink, which I pick up at Whole Foods, is called GoodBelly; it tastes pretty good and is vegan. I can drink it pre- or post-run. Try out different brands and flavors to find out what works best for you. Add fluids and rest, and there you have my mother-approved, feel-better "medicine!"

With the temperature fluctuating so much this season, it's been throwing my body into overdrive. I'm not surprised I got sick. Now, my plan is to get it all out of my system so I can train healthy through race day. I am listening to my body, just as you should be getting more comfortable listening to yours. If you aren't there yet, there's still time. The more you learn to recognize your limits and understand what your body is telling you, the better you'll be at knowing when you can push. We have a lot of training ahead of us!

Summer realizes how hard it is to fit everything in, so she's been known to run a package to her local post office or squeeze in a workout between her kids' swim and soccer practices. She suggests wearing workout gear all day if it'll help, and it doesn't have to be pretty!