September 29, 2011

Running While You're Sick

Despite having a head cold, I went for a run Tuesday and Wednesday evening.
I came down with a head cold Sunday evening, and have felt pretty under the weather since.
Monday and Tuesday were the worst, by far.
But I knew running would make me feel better, so off I went.
And it got me thinking.

I know how hard it is as a runner to not go running when you're sick.
Especially if you have a black lab giving you puppy dog eyes because she wants to run. Which has not been the case in my house, because Kota has boycotted running with me for the past 2 weeks.
And I don't know why.
And I don't want to talk about it.

Sometimes, running while you're sick can be good.

So how do you know if it's okay to run?
If the sickness is only affecting things above your neckline, it's probably okay to run.
Stuffy nose, plugged ears, scratchy throat.
But if the sickness is also below your neckline, such as in your lungs, it's best to skip your run and rest.

Because running when you're head is plugged up can help clear things out.
And there's nothing better than being able to breathe after 4 days of not breathing.

UNLESS, you have a fever.
In which case you need to get back in bed and get over yourself because you don't need to be doing anything but drinking warm honey water and sleeping.

Here's the last thing though. When I say running, I mean jogging. And when I say running, I also mean short mileage. Don't be going out and doing your 20 milers. Do easy runs, anything under 5 miles. Just enough to get your body moving and keep your legs pumping. Remember that your body is fighting a cold, and doesn't need to be using it's resources to restore your sore muscles because you went too far.
That's a good way to keep your cold around longer.

And one last thing. If you feel a cold coming on, going for a run is a good way to make it show up faster and more severe. These tips are for those of us that already have a cold, not those of you who feel one is in the works. I learned this the hard way during college. I felt I was about to get sick but had to do my training run for the marathon. So I went out and did my mid-week 7 miler, and came home feeling like death. In fact, I immediately knew I did a bad thing because the minute I finished my run I was sweating coldness. Not normal.

Guess what the end result of that was...I was forced to forego more of my training runs than I would have had to if I just sucked it up and went home.

Running makes for good medicine.
Just use it wisely!


  1. I am right there with you girl...sometimes running through it is the best medicine ;) hope you're having a great week and are feeling better! xoxo {av}

  2. Some amazing running advice...I am sad this week because I have shin splints so bad I feel like my legs are going to break off and cannot run until I hit up Fleet Feet for an amazing set of running shoes..I have missed running oh so much!!!
    I hope you feel better a mile for me :)

    Karma Kristin


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