QT: Is Running While Sick-ish Something To Always Avoid?

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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.

Guilty as Charged

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.

That's True

So your mileage may definitely vary when you’re trying to decide whether or not to run while sick-ish.

Clear No-Gos

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.

  • Fever
  • Body aches
  • Chills
  • Pounding headache
  • Dizzy

For me, any of the above is almost assuredly going to cancel a run.

Multiple symptoms?

Not Gonna Happen

Congested AF

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.

Allergy Nonsense

I 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.

Running while sick-ish: yes or no? #runchat Click To Tweet

How Do You Decide Whether to Go Running While Sick-ish?

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2 replies
  1. Kirstin
    Kirstin says:

    So I had the crud, couldn’t put my finger on what was wrong but just did not feel right all week. I ran the short runs but I slept in and missed my long run, that was just 2 weeks ago. I want my 12 miles back and I want to fit in that fun progressive run I had on the calendar but I have been busy with too many races in my calendar but I will get it in soon. I feel like it was the best option for that Saturday. I also ran when I knew i have COVID The first time. That was a big mistake. Those 7 miles sidelined me for over a week. My temp spiked and I drove that crud into my chest. i ran 2 days in a row. First run was probably ok but second day not! I coughed during every run for 2 months after that. The second time I had COVID i was in a steps challenge and I got my steps on the treadmill but they were walking steps. Ok so I agree It depends and you never know until after. 🤷🏼‍♀️


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