I’m Sick — Should I Run?

Should I Work Out When I'm Sick?

It’s nearly September 1st (what, when did that happen?!), and I’ve been sick on and off since late July…which sucks. Basically, my sinuses and I are at war, and I keep losing battle after battle. I started a third round of antibiotics today in hopes that it will kill the infection that seems to refuse to die on top of some chronic nasal inflammations and narrow nasal passageways. If that doesn’t work, I’m looking at having a balloon stuck up my nose to get all the gook out. Sweet.

But, um, I’m also training for a marathon, so I’ve had a lot of should-I-or-shouldn’t-I internal debate lately.

But conventional running wisdom says you’re good to run if it’s not in your chest. The closest this has gotten to my chest has been a mild hacking cough, so theoretically I should be OK to run, right?

When I have a race date on my calendar hanging over my head and I’m feeling under the weather, I do a lot of weighing things out:

  • Do I even have the energy to do this? Sometimes this is a no-brainer. Two weeks ago, I spent most of the week in bed. Walking hurt my face, so running was 1 million percent out of the question. But a few weeks ago, when I was starting to get sick, I made a judgment call that might not have been the right one. My throat hurt AND my energy was super low, but I hoped it would make me feel better. It didn’t, and it won’t always.
  • How will this affect my training if I don’t? The long run is the most important run of marathon training, so if I’m feeling sick during the week, I try to conserve energy for my longest run, since I’d rather miss a 4-5 miler than a 10 miler.
  • When do I fold ‘em? I don’t want to be a quitter, but I also don’t want to prolong any sickness. Things I know I shouldn’t do include: running in extreme heat because it saps more energy than I realistically have when sick (oh hi Sunday, I’m looking at you), running when my throat hurts (this one may be personal, but it never helps me to run when it hurts). Personally, these are things that may prolong illness for me, which will keep me away from training even longer than missing this one run might.
  • How close is the race? This isn’t currently my concern — though it was the week before SeaWheeze (when I ended up being too sick anyway, which is neither here nor there.) If your race is really soon and you’re doubtful about whether to run or not, DON’T.

tl;dr: You need to listen to your body. While I am thinking of all of the above things, and yes, sometimes email my coach for justification/validation of my decisions, I usually know deep down when I should and shouldn’t run, and I bet you do, too. I’ve found spin is usually my ideal workout when I’m getting over something — doesn’t require much balance, and doesn’t invert my clogged head at all the way lifting or yoga might if I’m not feeling up to running yet.

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Richmond Training Log: Week of August 15

I promised I’d get back to sharing my training logs…even if they sucked. Last week was my first week back after being sick, and my training could have been better. Just thinking about what I’m about to write, I know I need to cut some of the extraneous workouts to focus more on the running.

Let’s go!

Monday: Jess had me scheduled to spin, so I went to Flywheel via ClassPass. The last time I went to Flywheel, about a month earlier, my score was a full 40 points higher. Being sick DEFINITELY affected my ride last Monday — my legs also felt super sluggish.

Tuesday: Rest day scheduled!


Wednesday: I was scheduled to be on our #DB365 workout at work. Don’t worry, I put out all the fires with this fire hydrant.

Thursday: lost a battle with the snooze button and had evening plans

Friday: 4 mile AM run with my friend Camille // PM Uplift Sculpt Fusion class for NYJL event

Saturday: Had plans to get out and run 5 before heading to the beach with friends and once again lost the battle with the snooze button. I did surf, though. Sorta workout? The conditions weren’t as good as my first time: SUPER crowded, and with high tide, the waves were really short.

Sunday: Oh man. This run was hell. Had 12 on the schedule but only made it to 10. Once again, I wanted to sleep some more, and I went out too late. I know better than to do this…but I still did. I left around 9:30, and it was already a realfeel of 96 with humidity in the 90th percentile. SWEET running conditions. I fought through those 10 tooth and nail and threw in the towel at 10.

OK, so I didn’t realize I only ran twice last week. That’s not good. It’s time to buckle the eff down. Thankfully I still have another 12 weeks.

This week’s goals:

  • Get all my runs in
  • Don’t overcommit to extraneous workouts
  • Focus on nutrition (I’m guessing Saturday afternoon’s nachos MAYBE didn’t help fuel me the best for Sunday’s run)
  • Focus on sleep (the snooze wars are showing me that may be an issue)
  • Foam roll!

How was your week of training?

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