I’ve Got a Cold – Should I Run Today?

I’ve Got a Cold – Should I Run Today?

I wish I had a pound for every time a runner has asked this throughout my coaching career. The debate goes on and I have heard so many opinions, reasons and excuses on this subject.

It’s all common sense I hear you shout, but I am beginning to believe there is nothing common about sense with runners. We are all mad to some degree, myself included.

In the last few weeks some of the runners we personally advise each week have had a cold and there has even been the odd case of man-flu. Probably the worst virus of all! 

We always advise people ease right back on the throttle and effort levels even if it’s a mild head cold. The body is tired, low and needs extra energy to fight the virus. If you feel hot, have a temperature and a full-blown cold then its definitely a few days rest. You might stretch or complete a light core session but don’t raise your heart rate.

Many of you will in fact find your resting heart rate is higher than normal. Your body is working hard to beat the virus so don’t add to the stress levels by trying to train hard.

When the heart rate has returned to normal, you’re probably ready to put in a couple of days of easy running before stepping back into the routine. 

I have heard many sports doctors say that once you have a sore throat and the symptoms move below the neck then it must be rest. There are genuine health risks and in extreme cases training or racing at this point could have serious implications for the heart and definitely prolong the illness. Suddenly what could have been 4-5 days of missed training turns into 2-3 weeks of feeling tired with a chest infection and trips to the GP to get antibiotics. All because we didn’t rest or respect the symptoms our body displayed.

So I guess this coach is asking you to stay healthy and only run when well. A few missed days definitely gets you back running well sooner. Try to eat healthily and stay well hydrated at all times, but especially when ill. Get those nutrients into the body that will fight and then aid recovery. Any extra sleep will also help.

Nick & Phoebe

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