Funny thing about this title, I bet you it will get a lot of attention because most runners refuse to stop running when they are sick and are looking for anyone to tell this this is ok. It is not. You do not run when you are sick, do you hear me? No. No. No. Let me tell you why. You will get worse and stay sick longer. Here’s the skinny on how to train when you’re sick.
#1. Rest as long as your body needs to in order for you to feel 100% again. Never, ever work out when you have a fever. When you are sick, your body is working overtime to fight a virus and when you call up the reserves to go for a run, you run the risk of getting much, much sicker and staying that way for a prolonged period of time. Rest.
#2. When you are feeling better, don’t just jump into whatever your running schedule says. Take a run or two to get your legs under you. Do some slow, easy, short runs and see how your body reacts during and after those runs before you start to push it again.
#3. Be mindful of your nutrition. If you’ve been dehydrated or malnourished because of a flu, jumping back into strenuous activity can be a shock to your calorie and nutrient-deficient body. Get back to the food and water for at least two days before you attempt a workout.
#4. Don’t stress about the time off. Missing a week or two of a training schedule due to sickness won’t kill you. Failing to listen to your virus-stricken body can sabotage your entire training season and render you useless come race day. Don’t force your body to start something it’s not ready for.
#5. When in doubt, rest. If you’re feeling under the weather or run down, it is always better to take a day and be fresher and more vibrant during the next workout. This goes for those days that you just can’t sum up the energy to stay awake, let alone run. Listen to your body and rest.
Trust me, it’s better to get that week or two of rest out of the way rather than having a month of crappy runs with terrible times. Talk yourself down from the edge of “I’ll never finish my race if I don’t run every single scheduled run!” because it’s not true. You can miss a few here and there (within reason and for a good reason) and still have an awesome race. If you’ve planned out your training schedule accordingly, you should have at least 14 weeks of workouts to do. Missing a week because you’re sick is no big deal. Keep reminding yourself of this as you try to lace up your sneakers in a feverish haze. It’s not worth it. Rest.
Now go out and run! (unless you are sick and then WHAT ARE YOU DOING OUT OF BED?!?!!!)
Tell me…do you have trouble skipping runs when you’re sick?