“Should I run with a cold (rhinovirus)? Maybe!”
What Should I Do If I Get A Cold?
Good Question! Sometimes it is better to stay home with a cup of hot soup in hand, surround by blankets in front of the fireplace. However, fighting the urge to run through the pain is a challenge in and of itself.
Running through a cold is a question every runner will have to tackle at one time or another. When you are in the middle of an intensive training plan, nothing is more aggravating than getting sick. It can set you back days, especially if it progresses to something more serious (bronchitis).
There are different opinions regarding whether to lace up while you have the sniffles. Some sources emphasis a, “RESOUNDING, NO!” It is generally good to error on the side of caution when it comes to illness. However, I believe that there is more balanced approach!
As a healthcare professional, I work with sick folks all the time. I regularly catch bugs, regardless of how much hand sanitizer I use. Infected droplets almost always seem to find their way to me! If I took all those days off for feeling, “ill”, I would never run.
Two Rules To Help You Decide
- Are my symptoms above the neck, or below? If I have sniffles, a small headache, or even a scratchy throat, I run. The second I experience symptoms in my chest, even the slightest crackle, I leave my running shoes in their respective corner.
- If I choose to run with symptoms above the neck, I rate the % recovery from my run yesterday. As an example, if I am feeling, “80%” recovered from my run yesterday, I know it is okay to run today. However, if I feel the exact same (0% – post workout baseline), or feel worse (-20%), it is time to take a break from the road. My advice – If you are feeling worse, I suggest you head to a walk-in clinic.
I hate letting anything get in the way of training. Runners know how to work through pain. However, there are limits out of our control. Getting a cold is one of them. I use the simple rules above to decide what is best. Also should keep in mind that chronic symptoms are an indication of other problems, including infection or an immune system that is run down from too much road time.
Taking care will prevent running yourself into the ground, a consequence that will then require weeks away from your training plan. Getting back on track after extended time off feels far more daunting than taking some preventative time away.