The most critical time in your season is from three weeks to 12 weeks before an A-priority race. This is when your hard training is the most effective. Missed workouts now have a much greater impact on race performance than at any other time of the year. You must stay healthy and injury-free by whatever means possible.
When training hard your immune system is under a great deal of stress and may not be able to fend off invaders. You must help it now more than at any time in the season. If you become sick now you will miss the most important workouts of your long build-up to the race. Go out of your way to avoid people who are sneezing, coughing or otherwise obviously sick. You’re likely to encounter them at work, school, parties, and in your family. Traveling to races or for any other reasons can be particularly risky. I often tell the athletes I coach that when in public places to keep left hands protected. If possible, keep it in a pocket. Use the right hand to come in contact with the world – door handles, counters, railings, shaking hands, papers, luggage and everything else. This will help to ensure that you have a fairly germ-free hand for touching your face and for personal hygiene. Wash your hands frequently when around people. Stay healthy.
You must also avoid injury which would set you back and ruin your chances for a best-ever race. Stop a workout whenever something doesn’t feel right. This could be a slight twinge in a tendon or joint or even just a sense that you aren’t up to training on a given day. A day off or one missed workout is far better than missing a week or two while recuperating from an injury. Prevention is less costly than the cure.
Do not train with niggling injuries. No matter how insignificant it may seem at the time, the first step is to always rest when something isn’t right. During this time do whatever training you can that doesn’t aggravate the tender spot. If with two days of rest the discomfort isn’t gone or at least considerably better then make an appointment to see a physical therapist, sports doctor, chiropractor or whatever form of medical care you prefer immediately.
The bottom line here is that you must stay healthy and injury-free in the last few weeks before an A race.