Should you run when you’re feeling under the weather?

Do you run when you’re sick?

It has been my belief throughout my running “career” (for lack of a better word) that running when you are feeling under the weather will only prolong the illness. I am a firm believer in rest when ill.

I had a friend/running buddy who insisted I needed to run when I was sick “to sweat the illness” out of me. I never would (but I never ran on Sundays either…things change).

I’ve kept that belief all these years and it seems to work for me, but life gets busy and sometimes it feels like there is no time to take a day off from training. I recently had a cold and struggled with “to run or not to run”. The first day I was at work so I just powered through my day and went to bed early that night. The next day I needed to be home for a delivery (new memory foam king size mattress, Yay! I’ve been sharing a queen bed with my husband for way too long, it’s time to spread out!) not that I felt like running, I later walked with my dog just to get out of the house. The third day of my head cold I ran 3.5 miles and felt okay but was dragging by the afternoon. The forth day I decided to  ride 35 miles with my sister. I felt pretty good during the ride but paid for it later. I felt like crap that night. 😛  By the fifth and what I hoped was going to be the last day, I ran 3.5 easy miles. I felt good that night but the next day, again, I had a scratchy throat and felt like I was still fighting a cold. As you can see, running while sick was not really working out (no pun intended) for me.


This went on for 2 weeks. I considered the days that I work to be rest days…12 hr shifts in a busy ER isn’t exactly resting, but…I didn’t do any strength training, squats or planks before bed. I continued to run or ride on my days off. I still don’t feel like I am 100% but hopefully with my work schedule back to normal (I just worked a couple of extra days to offset the cost of a new bike 🙂 ) I can get the much needed rest and move on with my training.

Rule of thumb…

According to Runner’s World (my running bible) the rule of thumb is any illness from the chest down requires rest, while anything from the neck up is a go-a-head for running. Of course, listen to your body and do what you think works for you. A couple of rest days might just prevent an illness that is longer than it should’ve been.

I’m hoping this week will be a stronger and better week for me.

How’s your training?

Have you had to deal with illness and working out? Leave me a comment, I want to hear your thoughts!

Thanks for reading!

Keep Running!



Leave A Comment

Tell me what you think...