ATX Training: How not to treat a head cold

The classic guidance for managing a head cold is to stay hydrated, take something as needed to reduce pain, and rest. So when I woke up feeling like reheated spit and still did a 20-miler Sunday, that would definitely qualify as AMA (against medical advice), even if I did bring a water bottle along for the ride.

etw running 130128

Am I a Super Hero Running Freak? No, but I am a bull-headed idiot who sometimes gets a little too competitive with herself.

Flash back to the end of week 12 of training for the ATX marathon, when I missed Saturday’s easy 4-miler (sick kid) and cut short a planned 19-mile LR (I only did 13.5 miles thanks to a brutal 1,500 feet of climb, a PR for me on any single run). This meant I only hit mid-30s for the weekly mileage, where I should have done around 45 miles.

etw running 130128_2

I did another 1 mile after this, for 13.5 total.

So I brought a self-imposed chip on my shoulder into week 13’s workouts, running in 5F degree weather and doing an 8-mile marathon-pace run just to show that I can, dammit. My scratchy throat blew up into a full-on head cold by week’s end, but I wasn’t about to bork up two LRs in a row, thank you very much.

And the funny thing is, the 20-miler wasn’t that terrible. Granted, the only other one I’ve done in training ended prematurely with a broken bone, so the bar for “terrible” was going to be pretty hard to cross. But even with several walk breaks during the last 5 miles, and innumerable snot-rocket stops, I managed an average pace (10:05 min/mi) that was slow but still within the target range for LRs for me.

Do I feel vindicated? Well, yeah, I did want to say “FACE!” to week 12’s flubs. Do I also feel exhausted and a little stupid for pushing too hard? Yes, yes I do. So if I haven’t turned the corner, health-wise, in time for the next (!!!!) 20-miler this weekend, I hope Jason Fitzgerald will turn a blind eye when I don’t fill my running prescription on 1 more day in this training cycle.


  1. Way to go, though sorry to hear you are sick. I aimed for 22 miles this past Sat and I was lucky I made it to 20.5 before stopping. Cold and snowy here and it was just pretty miserable. I started my taper though; I am going to do around 16 this weekend so I hope one 20.5 miler will help on race day. Austin weather better be perfect!

    • eatingtheweek says:

      I hear that – this weekend’s temps were awful! I actually felt the moisture in between my teeth freeze.

      I’m still torn about this second-20-miler-2-weeks-before-marathon idea. Seems a little ambitious for a not-serious runner like me. But I do like the two-week taper thing, b/c I get antsy quickly.

      ATX is weirdly warm today (near 80F), but average highs are low 60s in mid-Feb, so I’m hoping that holds up.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *