Running when you’re sick

I know I’ve tackled this subject once before because the beginning of last summer I decided to do a running streak and I was punched in the face by a cold and had to take a few days off.  

I said I was going to run 4 miles yesterday but I didn’t because I was too busy blowing my nose and coughing. I managed to sleep last night without NyQuil and when I woke up this morning my sinuses felt much clearer so I headed out for my run. I had mentioned I planned on doing 9 miles today, but my body wasn’t there yet and that’s okay. I managed to stay out there for 55 minutes, with three 3 min walk/cough up gross stuff breaks. 

So should you run when you’re sick? How do you get back into it?  

Well the rule I hear the most is that if you have a fever DO NOT workout. Your immune system is fighting off whatever you have in overdrive and exercise will only make things worse. Another rule to go by is the “neck rule” – if there are symptoms below the neck then take time off, if the symptoms are purely in your head such as a runny nose you are fine to workout.

However, according to some researchers whether you should workout or not depends on the severity of the cold and head sickness. Because I had facial pressure, headache, and a chest cough I chose to use the 72 hour rule and take 3 days off from running. Here is a great article from Runner’s World – Should You Run When You’re Sick?

Now to tackle how to get back into running when you’ve taken those few days off.

This time around I was lucky because Friday was my usual day off so I only missed 2 regular running days. Today I eased back into it by running longer chunks of time integrated with walk breaks, bringing water, and going a little slower. I ran for 17 min, walked 3, ran 12, walked 3, ran 7, walked 3, ran 10. By the end I still felt like I had worked hard but I didn’t think I had over worked my respiratory system. Some people go by the 50% intensity rule after a sickness – here is an article on that! 

Tomorrow is only 3 miles and weights so I hope to be able to do that run without stopping just a tad bit slower than usual and be back to my normal running self by Wednesday or Thursday! 

I just ate a delicious mixed berry, banana, and greek yogurt smoothie and an egg while typing this up so now it’s time to do my running yoga and get ready for the rest of the day. Happy Monday! 

Mileage – 5 miles, yoga

QOD – To keep the body in good health is a duty… otherwise we shall not be able to keep our mind strong and clear. (Buddha) 

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Not my recipe, but equally delicious! 
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