Should You Run When You’re Sick?

Runners are determined folk. They run. And they run. And then they run some more. Come hail, rain or sunshine. But what about times when they’re a bit under the weather. Should they skip running or continue to run? Let’s find out. What needs to be remembered about running when you’re feeling under the weather, is to always err on the side of caution. You wouldn’t be ruining your fitness regime by taking it easy for a day or even by taking a few days off. Maintaining continuity is understandable but it’s important to remember that a few days off wouldn’t dent your fitness regime.

Running With A Runny Nose


If you are sick with a runny nose, a congested chest or a cough, it is usually safe to run. In fact, a gentle run and a hot shower following it will help you feel better and reduce your symptoms. Cut yourself some slack and instead of a hard run, have an easy day. When your chest is congested and your nose is blocked, you will find it hard to breathe through you nose, which will not let you run normally.

Instead of pushing your limits and setting yourself up for failure, take a few baby steps back and adjust your training according to the state of your health. If you must run, start slow and build up pace if you feel you aren’t straining your body. If you find yourself feeling tired and exhausted while running, slow yourself down. Remember not to assume that your body will be able to perform as it did before your illness. Change your tempo and pace keeping in mind your current state of health.

Running When You’re Down With The Flu

If you are down with the flu and have flu like symptoms, like achy muscles and a fever, you must not run. Running with a fever can be very dangerous and it will significantly increase the time that you would take to recover. When you have a fever, your body’s internal temperature increases for your immune system to fight off the infection. Running will increase your internal temperature further, which would not just make your symptoms worse, but could lead to dangerous and even long-term consequences on your health.

Running or any form of strenuous activity when you’re battling an infection already, compromises the immune system, especially in the first 20 hours after the exercise. This will make your body more vulnerable to the bacteria or viruses that are already making you unwell, and worsen your symptoms and the illness considerably. Running also drains your body of energy and vital nutrients that your body would need to fight off the infection, and this would increase the time that your body will take to bounce back to normal health.

Experts recommend that runners with a flu of fever hold off until the day after the symptoms disappear and take it easy for the first few days after that. They should wait for up to one or two weeks before getting back to the intensity and mileage that they were used to, before the onset of the illness. Not being careful about this could result in a relapse.

Knowing Your Limits

Remember that running if you have a fever or flu is a bad idea. Let the illness run its course and take some time off your training and wait to get back to normal with your everyday activities. Don’t be worried about ruining your running fitness, as it takes at least 10 days in a row of no running to lose considerable running fitness.

Rest up and wait until the day you feel absolutely normal and start running the day after that. If you fall sick on a Sunday for instance, and start to feel okay on Wednesday, start running the day after that, which is Thursday. Once you start running again after recovering, do not try to make up for the lost time in the first few days. Remember that your immune system is still fragile and your body is not ready for hard training. Start slow and go easy the first few days, and increase your tempo gradually as you regain your strength.

Take It Easy When You’re Sick

Falling sick is something beyond your control. By taking it easy for a couple of days when you’re down with a bug is way better than pushing yourself to continue and the strain on your body setting you back by weeks. It helps to be realistic and set yourself reasonable goals keeping the condition of your health in mind. Remember, less is more sometimes.