Should You Sit Out A Race If You’re Sick?

You've trained for months and then get sick right before your race. Should you still run?


NCAA runner turned high school coach Hillary Kigar has an answer for all things training!

Q: If you get sick a few days before a big race, is it best to run or sit it out?

A: When you have been training at a high level and working hard for many weeks, your body is vulnerable. And because you have been pushing yourself to the limit, you’re more likely to get sick. What I’m saying is this happens—but it still stinks!

If you catch a bug on race week, let your body (and the distance) be your guide. For shorter races (5K and 10K), if you’re feeling on the mend, go for it—understanding of course, that you may not have the race you want. For anything that’s a half marathon or farther, however, it’s best to bow out. Wait until you’re 100 percent so you don’t delay your healing and have a miserable day. Be patient, get healthy and prepare for the next one!


Don’t underestimate the impact of stress on your body. If you recently moved, started a new job or had an emotionally taxing event take place, your performance will be impacted! Training is not only dependent on the workouts you do or weights you lift—but by your overall state of being. This includes mental and emotional health. If you have experienced big changes, you might not have quite the pep in your step you normally do. That’s okay. Don’t be too hard on yourself. Continue to get miles in when you can while waiting for your life to calm down. Deep breath—it will all even out in the long run!

Have a question for Coach Kigar? Email or tweet @womensrunning with the hashtag #AsktheCoach.

Read More Advice From Coach Kigar:
Easing Back Into Running After Injury
How To Get Excited About Training Again