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Do You Run When You Are Sick?

running-with-cold-tissueYou are in the final weeks of a solid build before a big trail running race and you get a head cold. Do you still run?

This happened to me over the holidays as I was preparing for the Bandera 100 km trail run. My head became tight, gunk oozing out of my nose, and feeling less than 100%…but I still ran.

I basically use the following guidelines with respect to running when I get a cold:

  • If it is in the head (not chest) – keep running.
  • If the cold moves deep in the chest – consider not running.
  • Reduce or eliminate the high stress running workouts. This could be speed or distance related.
  • Instead of running, consider cycling, elliptical, or walking if feeling like a pretty good sized pile of poo.
  • If feel like a really, really large pile of poo – get butt to bed.

This all includes incorporating as many natural immunity boosting, stress reduction, and healing techniques I know.

Hammer Time Giveaway question #3 (Giveaway description and rules)

What personal running guidelines do you follow when you get a cold?

Be active – Feel the buzz!

David –

(Photo: Courtesy of davidlat.)

About the author

David Hanenburg David Hanenburg is the passionate dirt-lovin' creator of Endurance Buzz and has been playing in the endurance sports world since 2000 after knockin' the dust off of his Trek 950 hardtail thanks to a friend asking to go ride some local dirt. In 2007 he ran his first ultra on the trails and fell in love with the sport and its people. For more information on David's endurance sports journey, check out the About page.

6 Responses to “Do You Run When You Are Sick?”

  1. on 21 Jan 2010 at 4:06 pm Dylan Wiek

    I just try to drink lots of fluids to flush it out. I’ll still run unless I really feel like crap. I might take a day off, especially now in the winter when it’s really cold.

  2. on 21 Jan 2010 at 6:02 pm Jeff

    I felt like complete garbage at the Palo Duro trail race this year, but I really wanted to do well. Unfortunately I think I had swine flu or something because I finished the 50K an hour and a half longer than I thought it would take and I felt beat up the whole day. That was a bad idea to do the race because I was in bed for four days after that.

    If it’s a training run, I’ll skip it if I’m sick – there won’t be any benefit!

  3. on 21 Jan 2010 at 10:08 pm Sarah

    I think a run can help clear up a head cold. When I’m stuffed up I always feel better after a run. I generally don’t run if I have a stomach bug or if feel feverish/light headed.

  4. on 22 Jan 2010 at 9:09 am Rick Sanford

    I will run with a head cold or congestion, but I stop if the congestion moves into my chest. At that point, I feel like the rest is much more important than the training.

  5. on 22 Jan 2010 at 9:18 am Jay Hall

    I used to run when I was sick but I think I’ve come to my senses now. Case in point – years ago when training for the White Rock marathon, I was scheduled to do a two and a half hour run with my training partner on a Saturday morning. I got up around 6:30 and immediately threw up but still answered the door and headed out when he came to the house at 7:00. About five miles into the run, I’d heaved twice more and packed it in. That meant walking back home and I’ve learned to stay in bed if I’ve got flu symptoms.
    On the other hand, if I CAN push myself out the door when I have a cold, I usually feel better.

  6. on 22 Jan 2010 at 10:05 am David Hanenburg

    Thanks all for your thoughts all!

    I have also experience congestion clear-up from running. That is also why I still like to run if it is a head cold and I don’t feel like I am in survival mode.

    Stomach/flu type stuff – no running for me either.