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Feeling Under the Weather? How to Tell When You Shouldn’t Run!

Posted Feb 02 2009 10:56pm

As the mother to two young daughters, we’ve had our fair share of illnessess over the past five years. We’ve been through hand foot and mouth (ewww!), the flu, vomiting episodes, coughs and colds and congestion.

I’ve usually been lucky when it comes to being sick. I never get anything. My husband laughs about it, says that there must be something strange thing in my blood that fights off infection because everyone can be throwing up on me (during our cross country trip this was the case) and yet I don’t get sick!

Until this week.

It started with a cough and sore throat, and then it went into my chest. I woke up on Thursday night with a rattling inside that frightened me. I thought of my good friend Karen that died last year of pneumonia and I freaked out.

The next day, when I heard that same rattling in my daughter’s chest, I packed us up and headed to the doctor’s office.

I’m glad I did. My daughter had an ear infection and I had bronchitis. We were sent home with some medicine and I went to bed, where I remained all of yesterday, sleeping in this really crazy haze where I couldn’t tell if I was awake or asleep.

Today I’m feeling a bit better. I’m still weak and tired, but I do not feel like I need to go back to sleep (yet!). I’m coming out of the fog sickness, so to speak. I’m glad to have a glimmer of the other side, and I’m interested to understand how sick I have been and yet didn’t understand or face how sick I was until I was completely worn out!

I say that is because I’m a mother and we have so much to take care of that we can’t really ever be sick, but I also know this is the mind of a runner as well. I mean, who else can say they are going to run 26 miles, suffer from stomach issues and blisters and sore muscles?

So how can you tell when you should run and when you should hang up your shoes for a day or two?

  • If you are running a fever, stay home. Running with a fever is not a good idea, since running will raise your temperature anyway. Plus if you have a fever you are going to need to drink lots of fluids to avoid dehydration, and if you are running you are going to have to do the same thing.  If you are sick enough to have a fever, you should be letting your body rest. Period!
  • Coughing is not so bad-wet coughing, not so good. If the cold has moved into your chest you should take it easy to make sure it doesn’t get worse.
  • Snuffy nose? Go ahead and run. But if it is making your head hurt, take a day off. Nothing more brutal than a sinus headache on pounding feet.
  • Lacking energy? If it is more than just, ” I don’t feel like running,” then don’t run. You shouldn’t be out there pounding the pavement when your body needs to rest. If you are tired, get some rest.
  • Listen to your body above all. This week I knew my runs were shot. By Friday morning I knew there was no way I could work out. I took the day off, and have not run since Thursday. As runners I think we are very in tune to our bodies-we have to be, I think, to avoid injury. If you are not feeling ‘right’ then take a day of rest. It’s not going to set you back and in fact will probably help improve your running if you are only running when you feel good.

Now, I am heading to bed for some much needed rest-again! I said I would run tomorrow if I felt better, but at this point it may be Tuesday or Wednesday since just washing the dishes took it out of me this morning!

Happy running this weekend!

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