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The Neck Rule...

Posted Jan 22 2009 6:47pm
I’ve always heard that when you’re sick and not sure if you should run or not that you should look to the neck rule for guidance. The neck rule simply states… “If your ailment is contained above the neck… meaning… sinuses, colds, ear infections, etc… running will likely not make your sickness any worse.” But, “if you’re ailment is below the neck… chest congestion, coughing, heartburn, stomach problems, sprained ankle, etc… running is likely not a good idea.” (I put that into quotes, but really I’m just paraphrasing). Today, I put that neck rule to the test.

Let’s backup for a minute, though, shall we?

Saturday morning I woke up at 5:30am to run my long run of 12 miles. And it sucked. Seriously, it was the longest 12 miles I’ve ran in forever. Even with it being Vandy Freshmen move-in day and watching the madness unfold right before my eyes, I struggled with insane boredom. Anyway, I finally finished up (without wimping out, woo hoo, go me!) and then went canoeing all day… 11 miles down a dried up river. Who knew that no rain in 17 days would cause a river to be low??? So, needless to say… there was some extreme paddling going on. What was supposed to be a 4 hour leisurely canoe trip down the river turned into a 6 hour paddle your damn arms off cross-training exercise. Fun. No, really, it was fun. Tiring, but fun.

So, Sunday morning I woke up on my day off with a scratchy throat and some sinus drainage. UGH. NO. I can’t be sick! I mean, I literally can’t be sick. I pride myself on being Miss Healthy Pants. I pride myself on being the one person in my office that hasn’t taken a sick day in over a year! A couple of the other weaklings in the office have sick days at least once a month… but not me. No, I’m impervious to their ailments. I’m always healthy and feeling great.

Well… except not yesterday. I ended up taking it easy most of the day…. Moping around… drinking airborne cocktails every 3 hours and eating oranges and drinking water constantly. I was determined to fend off this ailment.

So, when I woke up this morning and I was feeling a little better, I assessed the situation and implemented the neck rule. All my illness was contained in my head. Mainly my nose, so I decided that according to the neck rule, I was good to go.

I started out and felt pretty good. I mean, my body was tired… I wasn’t going to be able to run a tempo run or anything, that’s for sure…. But generally, I felt okay. I cut back and only ran 4 miles… and you know what? I think I might feel better because of it. I mean, part of the run, I felt that icky, cold-sweaty (not the type of sweaty that you normally feel when you’re running) feeling… but, I kept telling myself that I was sweating the toxins out of my body (who knows if that’s really the case).

I’m hoping that I’ll continue to feel better as the day goes on and I’m planning on getting right back into my schedule and trying for 6-8 tomorrow morning.

So, from my experience this time with my cold.. the neck rule worked. I definitely don’t feel any worse than I did when I woke up and I actually think I might feel a little better!
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