Thursday, December 4, 2014

Running when you are sick. TELL ME THE TRUTH!





This is NOT a bragging post. 

Garmin data reveals I have a hard time keeping under 140 average heart rate (my target for easy runs), especially with a cold.

Somehow the body knows, and any little jog seems to send my heart rate UP.

I try really hard to behave.

I do
slow down.



Either there is something wrong with my HRM, or I have absolutely no discipline!
( And WHOA.. let's not discuss the cadence data ;)   )

In the past I have been in the middle of marathon training and was not going to let ANYTHING stop me from following my schedule (except an injury that just kept getting worse). But, even with a full-on bronchial infection, I never took more than a few days off of running (I might not be the smartest, but I am determined!).

I'm certainly not as crazy as that anymore, but it explains where I was a few years ago when I actually ran 2000+ miles a year and set my PRs.

Now I am just a "low mileage" runner (ready to be put out to pasture), and every other day I am resting anyway- so I figure, why bother to stop for a cold?

This last virus hit me just after I started running again after resting from an injury. Could my body have been saying "Take another 4 weeks off." ?

I don't think so.

And yet...
  this illness has been plaguing me about 4 weeks.

In my defense, other people in my house have been sick just as long and they don't run! And I don't do well at taking naps, but they do. And they are sick too, (Did I mention that part?).

I'm sure you have seen what the experts say about running while sick, but in case you haven't:
♦From RunnersWorld.com Should You Run When You're Sick? 
♦An opposing article from Competitor.com 
RunnersConnect.net (a great resource!!) uses scientific research to weigh the pros and cons HERE .. (And also proposes that scientists should infect all test subjects with the same cold virus to make an even better study. Yay! Sign me up!?) . RunnersConnect also explains how to adjust your training when you are sick HERE.   
♦Click HERE to see what elite/coach +Sage Canaday says about running while sick on Youtube. 


Dorris Ranch ~ Springfield, OR.
Can't think of a lovelier place to run when you are SICK than in an old orchard: soft surface, squirrels hiding about.
I was the only nut left.

So where do I stand in all of this? I think it's pretty obvious.
It's hard for me to take a complete rest.

But what do you think?

When you are sick, do you run anyway? Or, do you stay in and rest? 

I'd LOVE to know the truth! Here's your chance to confess.



40 comments:

  1. Great post. I alway try, but if I am sick enough my body shuts things down for me. It just happened in early November when I got a severe cold (with fever) followed by a severe sinus infection (required antibiotics). I rarely get sick and I always run so, of course I tried to log a few miles, but the chills and aches kicked in and I was back under the covers, still in my Brooks before getting to the end of the block.

    I learned the hard way that I need to rest and get well which means no running, so sad : (

    Again, thanks for the great post.

    Peace-

    John Boyle
    @runjoghike

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    1. I think your "severe cold" sounds a lot like the flu. I had that before and couldn't run through it either.. totally debilitating.
      Thanks for commenting!

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  2. If it's a cough- a normal one, not bronchitis or whooping cough) sinus infection, common cold, or a lagging, dragging hanging on yuckiness (like it sounds you have/had), I go ahead and run. Oddly, running seems to help for the above maladies. My chest clears, head lightens, and the endorphins seem to speed healing. Two things I will not run through is the stomach flu and a fever. I've tried running on both, though- being as stubborn as they come. Running during a 102* fever induced a big setback in the illness. So you can't pay me to run when I have a fever going on.
    Though I may change my mind, henceforth. Once I'm running again, I feel like no reason will ever be valid enough to keep me from running- as long as my legs are working properly.

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    1. Yes. You are entitled to run through anything and everything after your long layoff! Sound like you've taken a sensible approach before.
      Happy to hear from you!

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  3. I haven't been really sick for a while (thank goodness) but will run with a headcold. In the chest or other I would probably not. I really play it by ear. If I feel good enough I will but will definitely take it easy

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    1. Thanks for sharing your experience, Robin! Stay healthy!

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  4. i think you need another shipment of d3, zinc, nac....and so do the boys (ALL of them)!

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    1. Vitamins are good when you remember to take them, Danny! Getting sick is always a good reminder. :)

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    2. such a silly runner! be smart!

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  5. Depends on how sick I am. Usually, yes; but only because usually I'm not very sick! If I feel like crap, though, I will definitely use that time to cuddle in a fuzzy blanket and try to get well.

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  6. I don't think I have a rule about running or not if I'm sick. If I have a goal I'm determined to achieve, I'll actually not run for fear of not healing quick enough. However, if I'm running for the sake of running, I will run when I'm sick. I know it does not make sense at all, but I guess I feel like I have more to lose if I run sick when I'm training versus when I'm not.

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    1. That's pretty ironic, Luisa! I am the complete opposite. Until a few days have passed. Then I go forth! big goals = big numbers pressure for me.

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  7. My husband is a Physician Assistant and I've been trained to say "I'm not feeling well" instead of "I'm sick." The "Sick" label only goes to someone who is vomiting or has a fever. So by those standards, I do run if I'm not feeling well - mostly because it usually makes me feel better afterward. But if I'm vomiting or fever I don't. And if a potential injury is looming, I'll skip running and do yoga instead. I've learned the hard way on this stuff - if the body says rest, then rest. And by "rest" I mean skip the workout, lay low, take a nap, go to bed early, eat healthy food. Usually all I need is a day or two of this kind of therapeutic rest when I'm not feeling well, and then I'm back up to par. Sorry you've been feeling cruddy for so long. I hope you feel better soon.

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    1. If it only takes you a few days, I should probably try your approach, Jodi!

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  8. I once set off on a 10 mile trail run feeling perfectly OK but started to feel ill around the half way mark. After another couple of miles I felt so weak and light-headed I seriously considered knocking on someone's door and begging a lift home. I carried on, feeling absolutely terrible, and eventually reached home where I collapsed on the bed and hardly moved for three days. Full blown flu. There's no way anyone can run with that....

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    1. I hope you're feeling better from your cold today, Mr. Fox!
      I have had that type of flu, and also tried to run. It won't let you get too far! My hubby thinks I am totally nuts.

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  9. Hey Raina! I am really sorry to hear you have been ill:( Feel very out of the loop since I haven't run in forever (except a trial the other night that was a disaster). I have run with a fever (not saying I should have) but since I am not a strong runner, when I have major chest congestion I can't run. Figure if I have to hit my inhaler more than once, I probably shouldn't be doing it. Sometimes you feel better with a short run. The key is listening to my body. Non-running-related...I was going through an obsessive workout streak years ago and was really sick. Still did my workout, went to take a shower, looked up in the mirror and my lips were purple. Ended up I had pneumonia. A huge wake-up call to stop! Take care Raina.

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    1. You'll be running again soon. Seems like a long time from now, but it WILL happen. ♥
      Pneumonia is scary stuff. And there is a viral form, which you just can't kill and have to wait out. Good thing you took the rest time after that! Thanks for your comment, K!

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  10. It really depends on how sick I am. If it's just a head cold, I'll probably be working out in some way. If there is a temperature involved and body aches, I'll probably take the day off. I really go by how I feel. No hard rules. Feel better!

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    1. Sounds like we are similar in practice.. maybe. Glad to hear your thoughts, Elisabeth!

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  11. Sometimes if its mild, it seems to help by getting the blood and waste filtered around. Of you have to really think about the consequences. then maybe stay inside that day. Feel better!

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    1. Thanks for your thoughts, Adrienne! I am getting better- slowly.. xo

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  12. I ditto what Elisabeth said, I can handle a certain level of sick but once a real fever or a hurting chest is involved I am down for rest :) when sickness truly wipes you out nothing is better than sleep.

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    1. Very true!! Making sleep my new priority, Karen!

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  13. If it's a head cold, I run. If it's the flu, I do not... provided that I'm sick enough to actually admit I'm sick.More than once, I have convinced myself that it's "just a cold," and then run and made myself sicker. Because I am stupid.

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    1. Thanks for being honest! You and I have something in common :)

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  14. Vomiting? No. Head cold, sinus stuff, sore throat? Yes, unless there is a fever involved. These rules for myself are based on the book Lore of Running; it's basically the "running bible" for injuries, etc. And actually, I did run while vomiting when I was pregnant, but it was regular morning sickness, not a virus or illness. Hope you start feeling like yourself again soon!

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    1. Thanks R! I am feeling a lot better now.
      I have that book too. Great resource!

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  15. I run sometimes and maybe it's because I've been running for 33 years now but I just know when not to run. I'm good at resting when needed. The main thing is you will know when you can't run at all. Then, if there is doubt, don't run. If you are quite sure it will be fine, do an easy run. Note...quite sure...don't need to be 100% sure...then you are healthy already. Hope this makes some sense but that's how I do it.

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    1. Actually , Johann, that makes perfect sense. And it sounds quite logical!

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  16. I run through it if I'm not feeling too crappy and it's not in my chest (too badly).

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    1. :D I like the "too badly" part!

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  17. Sometimes yes, sometimes no. If training for a race - oh heck yeah, I'm running. It may not be a strong running session, but I'll log those miles.
    If not training, then I'll run a few easy miles to loosen up, liberally expel congestion, dispense some sick-sweat into the nice fresh air and return home looking far worse for the wear, but feeling somehow 'better'...which lasts for about 10 minutes, then I nap ;)

    Take care and hope you're better each and every day!

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  18. Luckily, I manage to keep healthy most of the time. However, last year around this time of the year I was sick (heavy cold). I decided to take a few days off running. Eventually, I went out after 3 days and regretted I did not do so earlier. It cleared things up and next day I was all fine. Things may have gone differently had I gone out earlier but I still think it is a good idea to go out for the run and decide if it was wise during the run.
    All the best,
    Marek

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    1. Thanks Marek! I appreciate your input!

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  19. Good luck with coming through that illness and entering 2015 fresh and healthy Raina.

    Knowing HOW bad is your "sick" is the key if you're an athlete. Especially an older athlete. Some colds can be run through, others can't. You don't want to end up with glandular fever or a suseptibility to recurrence, which I've known has happened to others when they've run through a BAD "sick". A bad one could have you treading water for 6 months or more.

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    1. Glandular fever does not sound good. :/
      Yes.. hoping to enter 2015 very healthy! Thanks for your thoughts Ewen!

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  20. 100% embarrassing truth.....I have run through many illnesses and injuries. A little cough here and a little tendonitis there...like you I used to never let anything get in the way of my training. But then, I tried to run the day after having a stomach bug....It was a HUGE mistake. I barely made it a half mile before passing out. I scared myself enough to say I would NEVER do that again. Rest is just as important to training!

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