Last week I got really sick. It happened it what felt like a split second. At 10:00 a.m. I was working on the track with a group of athletes, at 11:00 a.m. I felt shivers running through my body, at noon I got out a thermometer and measured a 104c fever. There was nothing to do but go home and put myself under the covers for a week, which I did. All this could not happen at the worst moment; just three weeks from my “A” race of the season, something I had been planning and training for for over a year.
I’ve seen so many amateur athletes try to ignore the symptoms of an imminent illness for this very reason. They’ve already paid the entry, their teammates are counting on them, they don’t want to disappoint friends and family who’re also looking forward to an exciting trip to a new location. Besides, running regularly fills amateur athlete with endorphins, which they sort of get hooked on. They try as hard as they can to ignore any signal that the body is clearly trying to send them. The question I get asked most often in these cases is: can I still run? The first rule is to listen to your body because it is definitely wiser than any athlete’s heart and soul. If you’re feeling extremely tired, run down or with a heavy cold, adding a workout into the mix can only make the situation and your health worse. In order for a workout to be efficient and boost your health you first need to be rested and... healthy. Otherwise you’ll just cancel out its benefits. Do not run if:
- you have a fever (even a low one)
- your cold symptoms have spread to your lungs
- you have a viral infection
- you’re on antibiotics
- you’re having intestinal distress
You might try to run if the symptoms are from the neck up, like a cold with a stuffy nose. I always encourage and extra day of rest, you can never go wrong with this tactic. When you start running again remember that your body needs time to get back to normal. Give it a few workouts before expecting to run smoothly. Also, please remember that the fun runs and races are held annually. They’ll still be there for you next year. Your health needs to be is your number one priority, always.