Training Tip: Should You Run If You're Feeling Sick?

Feeling under the weather? Don’t let a color or flu derail your training: here’s how to adjust your run when you’re feeling sick.

By Alyssa Shaffer
bowl of soup image

Plan developed by Mindy Solkin, owner and head coach of The Running Center in New York City.

Although numerous studies have shown that exercise actually boosts your immune system, even the healthiest of us can come down with a cold or even the flu in winter and early spring. But should you lace up your shoes when your plan calls for a workout — even if you have the sniffles?

If your cold is above your neck — runny nose, stuffy head — it’s probably okay to head out, but cut your mileage down to about half and don’t forget to drink plenty of fluids, says Vijay Vad, a sports medicine specialist at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York. However, if you have a fever, are coughing or vomiting, or have numerous aches and pains, you’re better off crawling under the covers. "Taking a few days off won’t kill your whole race, but if you run through a cold or flu, you could make the virus worse," adds Dr. Vad. So pour yourself a bowl of chicken soup, take advantage of the added rest, and try again another day.

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Originally published on, January 2009.

First Published Thu, 2009-04-30 21:45

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