Exercise! - Running While Sick..

View Full Version : Running While Sick..

01-24-2008, 10:34 PM
I know this has been covered in this section, probably more than once... but what's the general consensus on running while sick. I just got back into my running, and I'm working on a PR on my 5k(doesn't have to be very fast to be a PR for me) in Feb. Now I'm sick, with head congestion and sore throat and I think I may be getting an ear infection. But I know myself, and If I don't run for a while, I tend to lose my motivation and my conditioning and have to restart completely again. So, do I run? or do I do my best to stay motivated while sick, and start again when I've shaken this bug? So far there is no chest congestion or anything, all above the neck, if that helps...

Thanks so much in advance...


01-24-2008, 10:48 PM
Losing motivation cant help you, but you wont lose conditioning if you take a day or two off.

The general rule is symptoms above the neck are ok to workout, but stick to an easy workout...now is not the time to push pace or distance. And listen to your body, if you start out and you feel awful, stop.

You can also maintain your fitness for several weeks with shorter workouts than usual - so if it helps your motivation to get out there, just go for 15-20 minutes at an easy pace (or 50-70% of what you were "supposed" to do) until you are through the worst of it.

01-25-2008, 12:50 AM
Do some slow easy runs until you are feeling better. If your symptoms migrate down to your chest, take a couple days off, but otherwise I would run but just not push hard until you are better.

01-25-2008, 01:25 AM
thanks! I ran a short slow one tonight, and it didn't seem to bad, so I'll keep doing it unless it migrates to my chest, or the ear infection makes my balance suck.


01-25-2008, 04:24 AM
When I'm sick, I try to listen to my body. If I'm so tired that I can barely drag myself off the sofa, I don't push myself to workout. On the other hand, if I feel like I have the energy to work out, I do. If I have a lot of energy, I do my regular workout. If I'm feeling less energetic than usual, I do an easier workout. Sometimes if I'm feeling so tired that I can't work out, I'll just go for a short walk. I'm convinced that exercising helps me fight off an illness (I've read that exercise boosts your immune system and I've definitely had colds where I continued to exercise and the cold ended up being milder than normal for me), so if I can manage it, I get some kind of exercise in. But if I'm really miserable and/or running a fever, I stay put on the sofa.

01-25-2008, 09:30 AM
I actually asked my doctor this exact same question yesterday afternoon. I'm training for a 5K at the end of March and I'm on the front end of a nasty viral infection. Right now, it's just a sore throat, some coughing, and a little chest congestion. But, if I follow the path of all of my co-workers (I'm the last one to get it, it seems), I'll be much worse off in a few days.

Anyways, my doctor said that I could still run, but I should go at a lower intensity and not push myself too much. She suggested running at about 0.5 to 1 mph slower than usual (because of the weather, I've been training on a treadmill) and slowing down to a walk immediately if I start coughing. She also mentioned that, if I needed it, she could prescribe an inhaler that would help with clearing things out while exercising. Her final suggestion was to drink lots and lots of water, particularly while exercising. I typically drink a ton of water (about 100 oz. a day), but she suggested adding even more to help flush the virus out.