Should I run or race with a cold? Sore throat? Chesty Cough? It's a question that many runners ask themselves, at some point. You've got a training plan... you have to hit those sessions, should you run or not.
1. RUNNING WHILST ILL - EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW
How severe is your cold? If you are only at the beginning of a cold, going for a run may help clear your airways and unblock your sinuses. However, if your cold has developed into something more serious or even into an infection, preserve yourself and go into recovery mode.
You know your body best, make a sensible judgement on the knowledge of how your body will react if you run with a cold. The rule of thumb is that if your cold is above your neck (nasal and throat), then it's up to you whether you feel strong enough to run or not. If your cold is below the neck and in your chest and muscles, it's best to reserve your energy for recovery.
2. FIND YOUR BALANCE
The reason running with a cold may be risky is that your body has to balance its use of energy between exercising and fighting your illness. As a result, your body will be using its energy inefficiently until you have completely recovered. This means that recovery will also be difficult, causing aching and fatigue.
3. REST & RECOVERY IS IMPORTANT
Your body's immune system, muscles and tissues will be under stress when you have a cold and it is important to allow them to recover to avoid lasting damage and to make you stronger. Rest and recovery leads to health improvements and allows your body to repair and recharge itself.
4. TIPS FOR RUNNING WITH AN ILLNESS
- WEAR THE RIGHT CLOTHING FOR WINTER RUNNING - Wear temperature controlled running specific clothing to prepare yourself for all weather conditions. See our Merino range and our base layers.
- SET SMALLER GOALS - Shorten your routes and decrease your speed if running whilst ill.
- REST AND RECOVER - One of the most important things whilst training is to allow your body to restore and repair itself. Finish your run at your destination as your body temperature decreases quickly after a run, especially in the cold.
For more winter running tips, see our 6 Tips and Tricks for Winter Running.
5. USE YOUR JUDGEMENTListen to your body. It's all about load management: don't over exert yourself. There's no shame in allowing your body to recover. After all, no one knows your body as well as you do.
We are often asked questions about running in winter or with a cold and have compiled our answers in this blog for you. Below are our most frequently asked questions:
Should I run with a cold?
Should I work out when I'm sick?
How do I know when I'm too sick to run?