How to avoid the flu before a big race

How to avoid the flu before a big race

You know what it's like...

You've been training for months for your big race...

...And then two weeks before race day, someone close to you starts coughing and spluttering 😱

The safest would be to kick everyone out of the house for the next two weeks, but you know that's not going to happen 😷

If you're worried about getting sick and not being able to achieve the goal you've trained so hard for, then watch this video:


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Welcome on to this edition of RUN with Coach Parry. I'm Brad and we've got the coach Lindsey Parry with us once again, Lindsey, how's it? Nice to catch up again.

Always good to catch up, Brad.

Lindsey, a great question today and with us just a short while out from the next edition of the Comrades Marathon, it's got to do with illness. And it popped up in our forums and it was a question from Lisa. She says, 'Hi guys, right now I've disinfected my hands for a third time in the last 20 minutes. And I can confess I have temporary OCD. I'm so scared of getting sick at this point in time. At the end of every week, I count my blessings for not getting sick. But I wonder if it wouldn't be better to get sick now and just get it out the way. My toddler has the sniffles, and I sneezed this morning, freaking out. Is it too late to get the flu shot? How else can I protect myself in the final few weeks running into Comrades?'

So great question, Lindsey. Unfortunately, you can't move your kids out of the house for the last few weeks. But I think a lot of people are struggling with this. Is it a case of just locking yourself in a room and not dealing with people over the next few weeks?

Yeah, so look, I actually had an interesting chat not too long ago with an infectious disease specialist, who's actually in the forums, and he's volunteered to write us up a really good article about exactly this. And so, you know, obviously, for the members in the site, keep checking into the forums, and we will be posting that in the coming weeks. But look, the thing he said to me is that flu, in particular, is a bit of a bad one. Because the only thing you can really do to protect yourself is to keep your hands clean. Or to put yourself into an isolation chamber and remove yourself from the world because the germs are going to be there.

And if you get them, you're probably going to get to catch flu, there are a couple of things, of course, that we can do to shore up the immune system so that if we A do get it, we can get it in a much milder form. Although if we are exposed to it, your body can potentially fight it off before you get a full blown infection. And that is to increase, in particular, Vitamin C intake in winter, to eat healthy and to get lots of sleep. So if we doing those two basics, eating healthy and getting lots of sleep, then our immune systems are going to be in about as good a place as we can expect them to be. Of course, immune and immune boosters, and your Vitamin B12 shots and all of those things, they potentially help and protect you. But mostly they're going to help protect you if you really are lacking in something.

And so if you are someone with a compromised immune system, and perhaps Berry Globins, and those kind of things are probably a good thing to take as a precaution. The good news from that discussion is that most of the things that we are picking up now are much smaller and milder viral infections. And so you probably will recover from them much quicker than the full blown flu. Flu typically only arrives in South Africa around about, or actually just after Comrades in the middle of June. So that is good news, because it means that whatever illnesses that we do pick up are unlikely to be full blown flu. And for that reason, he also advised that, you know, the flu shot. While it might be good as part of the general sort of immune boosting and preventing you getting flu later on in the season, you probably don't need it to protect yourself from flu for Comrades itself. So yeah, look after yourself. Be a little bit anti social. Very importantly, keep your hands clean. And yeah, you probably won't get flu before Comrades anyway.

Lindsey, how much of a role does sort of staying in wet clothing after a workout play in something like this? Is that a myth? Or is that true that you want to get out of the wet stuff as quickly as you can particularly sort of like late afternoon, if you're doing a time trial with the running club, for example, you don't want to sit around in your wet running gear, having a couple of beers?

So I think anytime that you allow your body temperature to drop quickly and significantly, you will cause a stress on your body, when you cause that stress, you will have a short term compromised immune system. So therefore, at that point in time, if you do come into contact with a germ or if there are germs, if you've got a very low level chest infection, something like that, then yes, if you sit around and allow your body temperature to drop in your wet clothes, and you are increasing your risk of getting sick.

Yes, that's actually a good point, Brad, through this period of time, especially if you're an early morning trainer, finish your training session, get in a warm shower, get dressed warmly, then do your stretching, your breakfast or whatever it is that you do after running, and then carry on with the rest of your day.

Absolutely. Until next time from myself, Brad Brown, and the coach, Lindsey Parry, stay healthy and we'll chat soon.


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