Everyone I know has a cold, or worse, the flu! While running gets you into shape and ultimately provides you with greater health, no one is immune from the occasional illness. Did you know that there are windows of time where the body is more susceptible to illness even while you are training? After a long run or any other harder bout of running, the immune system is temporarily suppressed. Therefore, it is crucial to allow yourself proper rest and recovery.
The question is whether you can continue with training despite the sneezing and runny nose. And while I am NOT a doctor, the best rule of thumb is this: anything from the neck up where it’s simply nasal congestion, then you can probably keep running, but with a caveat (more about this in a moment). Anything from the neck down, where you have a cough or lung infection, as well as body aches, then stay off the roads and treadmill. The caveat to any of this is if you are dealing with a fever, then no running at all!
Now I know what you’re asking yourself: “What about my training?” Relax! Don’t try to make up for lost training by cramming in extra workouts or mileage, as this can lead you down the road to injury or maybe a relapse of illness. Depending on how much time you’ve missed, just pick up the program where it currently is and put the missed workouts in the rearview mirror. “What about losing my fitness level,” you ask? Don’t worry too much about this, either. Provided you have been training all this time, consistently, you won’t really lose too much of your fitness if you are forced to take a week off. In fact, aside from feeling a bit sluggish when you return, the loss of fitness will be quite small. Even if you had to stop for two weeks or so, your fitness level would drop only a few percent and you can make up any minor losses once you're back to regular training within a couple of weeks.
So, get plenty of rest and stay healthy!
* To see the latest two weeks posted to Coach Sam's training plan, click HERE.