Happy January! A new month also means another tip from Coach Mar! Temps have dipped across the country and Mother Nature showed up in DC yesterday with a complete blanket of snow. It is officially winter.
Winter also means coughing, sneezing, and if you haven’t heard – we are in the midst of a flu epidemic. Anyone gearing up for a spring race looks at their training plans with such glee and hope. Hope that you won’t catch what’s going around! But sometimes even the best laid plans…
January’s tip includes the questions: Should you run when you’re sick? Followed by, how do I get back on track with training following illness? *note: this does not cover injury related ailments.
I’m sick, what now?
- For starters, always listen to your body. If you find yourself under the weather don’t fight it (read: denial). You will do yourself nor anyone else any good if you try to push through what ails you. Above all else, if it requires a doctors visit and/or medication, follow the physicians advice — ALWAYS!!!!
- There is a general check point. If your symptoms are above the neck (sniffles, runny nose) it is generally ok to continue on with your run. Below the neck symptoms affecting the chest (such as coughing), lungs, or body aches – you’d better sit it out until it subsides. In either case it’s best to use caution and again, listen to what your body is telling you because even a minor cold can turn into something more severe if not attended to properly.
- Hydrate!! and get plenty of rest.
How to get back on track after illness:
- First, be kind to yourself. Often times we runners think we can just pick up where we left off which isn’t always the case (though it can be). Don’t beat yourself up about it. The body often knows what to do to heal itself, don’t override it because you’re anxious.
- If you were out of commission for a few days to a week try a couple of short, easy runs first to see how you feel, assess, and then get back into it. Don’t try to “make up” workouts. It can lead to over-training and injury.
- Longer bouts of illness may require you to adjust your race goals and overall training plan. If you are a part of a running group with a coach (or have a personal one) seek their guidance on adjusting your training plan. Take your runs easy the first week or two following. All of this is general advice as it’s going to be dependent on YOU and what exactly you are recovering from, where you are in your overall fitness and training cycle and finally your goals for the race.
What are your thoughts on running while sick? How have you adjusted after a prolonged period of time off?