Runners hate having to skip a few days of training, but when you're sick, it can make all of the difference for faster recovery.
Last year I found myself coming down with a cold. I thought, I can’t be getting sick! It started as just a scratch in my throat that threatened to become more. I shrugged it off and kept running, thinking that in a few days it would run it’s course and go away.
But then it happened: It got worse and turned into a full blown cold with a sore throat. I took a few days off from running. After two days I started to feel better and it seemed the cold was on it’s way out. So I headed out for a run and resumed my training as scheduled. But the run-down feeling and scratchy throat remained.
I wasn’t sick enough to skip my runs, but I certainly wasn’t 100 percent healthy. After a few weeks the scratchy throat morphed into a cough and then that cough lingered. After several appointments my doctor informed me I had bronchitis.
It can be hard to take time off from running (especially if you’re in a training cycle for a marathon where it seems that every run is critical). With cold and flu season fast approaching it’s important to pay attention to your symptoms and take time off early and often. Don’t prolong your illness or cause it to get worse, like I did.
Rest If You’re Sick
If you feel a cold coming on take a rest day or two or three. Several rest days won’t affect your fitness level. Wait until you feel recovered before going for a run. This is especially true of chest colds as the weather gets colder. If you have a cough or feel congestion in your chest take a day off. Chances are if you rest early and often you won’t be sidelined as long as if you try to push through a cold.
Keep Up With Fluids And Nutrition
Take extra care during cold and flu season to hydrate with water or hot tea. Add extra vitamin C into your diet with foods that are high in vitamin C like kale, red peppers and citrus fruits.
See Your Doctor
If any cold or flu symptoms persist check in with your doctor. It took two visits and a chest x-ray before the doctor finally diagnosed my bronchitis and I got the medication I needed to help clear it up. It is better to be ahead of the curve in finding out what is wrong. You could save yourself several weeks of recovery by catching something early on.