If you’ve been running for long enough, you’ve probably been here before.
Not really sick. Definitely not completely well.
So the question becomes, do I run or not?
My answer? Well…
Your Call to Make
Ultimately, this is one of those calls that no one can make but you.
Not other runners.
Not your non-running friends/family members.
And certainly not some clown with a microphone and a podcast.
The problem is, you won’t know whether or not the run was a good idea until after the fact.
Will you feel better because you went out for a few miles? Maybe.
But you might also feel a whole lot worse after you finish your run, and that’s clearly not ideal.
My Calculus, FWIW
In an attempt to help give you a few more tangible examples, here is the calculus I tend to consider when I’m not sick but also not well.
To be clear, sometimes I end up regretting my choice to run/not run.
So your mileage may definitely vary when you’re trying to decide whether or not to run while sick-ish.
I would argue that my no-gos mean that I’m not sick-ish, and that I’m actually full blown sick, but I feel the need to not just assume that we are on the same page here.
- Body aches
- Pounding headache
For me, any of the above is almost assuredly going to cancel a run.
I feel like this is where I’m going to get myself in trouble.
Seems like the one-size-fits-all advice on this front is the location of the congestion.
In your head? Go for it.
In your chest? Skip it.
For me, I don’t care where I’m congested, running helps.
Sinus congestion? Stand by for snot rockets.
Chest congestion? Loogie central.
Either way, I pretty much always find the congestion has cleared (alas, usually only temporarily) after a run.
While being outside and breathing in whatever has my body going nuts may not help, it also doesn’t tend to make my symptoms worse.
So I can either have itchy, watery, and red eyes with a runny nose and get my miles in.
Or I can have itchy, watery, and red eyes with a runny nose and no miles.
A Case of the Crud
For me, the hardest nut to crack is a case of the crud.
This is where, my often than not, whatever I do I’m convinced I should have done the opposite.
I suppose in general I’ll default to running when dealing with the generic crud, but seldom is it a clear-cut right/wrong choice.
Maybe next time I’ll just flip a coin…
Hope for the Best?
At the end of the day, it’s hard to know what to do.
I suppose the best option is to lay low, let your immune system do it’s job, and get back to training when you’re feeling 100% again.
But Lord knows I don’t take the best option every time, and my hunch is that you don’t either.
So the next time you’re debating whether or not to run while you’re a little bit sick-ish, do your best honestly assess how you’re feeling and make the decision that seems most appropriate.
And then just hope for the best.
How Do You Decide Whether to Go Running While Sick-ish?
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