Family life

Do you run when you're sick?

Less than two weeks to race day, and our Run-at-home mom is sick. Should she still lace up?

By Jennifer Pinarski
Do you run when you're sick?

Sniffles often sideline runners.

No mom has time to be sick, but feeling less than 100% has come at the worst time for me. Just two weeks before the Cayman Islands Half Marathon on December 4 and when I typically add fast miles to my run workouts. With Mr. P travelling, the children and the dog completed one 5K stroller run early lasat week with me - which ended up being the only miles I logged. Hoping to get a longer run in on the weekend when he returned was derailed by a fever of 102F, all over body aches and no appetite. Today a nagging cough leaves me puffing when I try and climb a flight of stairs. As much as I’d love to slog through the last few days of training, especially for the mental confidence, I’m playing it safe and parking my shoes.

Running while you are sick is a sharply divided debate. I have friends who have trained through illness with the theory that their elevated body temperature kills off the germs are making them sick. In fact, a former running partner would dress in all of his warmest clothes and run for an hour on the treadmill whenever he felt a cold coming on. One theory is that if your symptoms are above your neck sticking to your training plan is OK. If your symptoms are below the neck like the flu and chest cold I have now it is advised you take time off. Dedicated streak runners (runners who run daily) will eek out a mile no matter what. Being cautious and more of the weekend warrior sort, I’m skipping training runs until my cough clears up, even this close to a race.

That said, I think I only have myself to blame for getting sick (OK, my kids likely brought home the actual cooties). My friend Tanya put it best: Proper rest, excellent nutrition are keys to keeping your immunity strong. When you're down and out - REST and recoup. Deep breathing. Drugs just cover up the symptoms and push us to keep up with what's going on. Your body is telling you something! My mileage leading up to this race is the highest I’ve ever logged and maybe this cold was my body’s way of telling me to ease up.

Still not sure if you should run or not? Check out this article from Runner’s World, where I found the theory on below and above the neck cold and flu symptoms.

Do you find that you are more susepctible to coughs and colds as your running mileage increases? And do you continue to run while you are sick? Share your tips here! 

Photo by mcfarlandmo via Flickr

This article was originally published on Nov 22, 2011

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