Running sick

IMG_0089I could almost see my doctor’s jaw drop when I told her.

“I ran 16-K on Sunday, and I’m worried it made my cough worse.”

Doh. As soon as the words came out of my mouth, I realized how crazy it sounded.

“16-K with a cold,” she said, shaking her head. “Wow.”

My doctor had just given me some sound advice on how to continue training for my half while getting through this nasty bug I’ve been dealing with the past week. Over the past few days, it has morphed into my chest and I can’t stop coughing (especially at night). I was paranoid that I might have pneumonia or bronchitis so I decided to ask her to check me over.

Nope, just a cold.

But my doctor, like other medical experts I have read, said there’s no problem with continuing to run with a cold.

“Just listen to your body,” she said. If you start coughing too much, pull back.

She advised running shorter, less-intense distances, or doing other cross-training until I’m back to normal.

That’s kind of what I was doing last week, when my cold symptoms first popped up. After feeling rotten at work on Thursday, I went for a slow 5K. I came back inside feeling refreshed and rejuvenated.

So on Friday, even though I had the sniffles, I did hills. Nine of them. It was pretty intense, but during the exercise, I totally forgot I was sick. I didn’t want to miss my weekly spinning workout, so I hit the gym for RPM on Saturday morning. More intensity, but I felt OK.

Easter Sunday morning, I woke up feeling drained. Sore. Sick. But my training plan called for 16-K. Pretty long for a sick chick. I’m stubborn and determined, so I did it.

It was not a pleasant experience. I felt gross the whole time, even though it was a beautiful, sunny day. My stomach didn’t feel right and I was cold. I came back home and started hacking furiously.

That’s when I started to get paranoid. Oh my gosh, I thought. I’ve given myself pneumonia. I coughed all night and felt worse on Monday. Stayed home from work. Tuesday I went back to work, but I didn’t exercise.

That brings me to today and my visit to the doctor. I should have known. I should have listened to my body.

When you’re sick, you’re sick.

There will always be another day for a long run.


Published by

April C

Writer, editor and mom in Saint John, NB.

5 thoughts on “Running sick”

  1. I also find it difficult to skip runs when I’m sick. Usually I just slow my pace way down and struggle through it. My mentality is that if I’m feeling a bit sick on race day I want to know that I can still run when I’m not 100%. But yes, listen to your body is right. I really need to follow that advice.

  2. You silly girl. I am the same way though. I have a really hard time letting myself rest when I’m sick. Sometimes, instead of going on a run I had planned, I do something less intense like a yoga class or easy spin class (ie: just don’t increase the resistance that much). That way, I still get out there and do something active, I just don’t make myself sicker.

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