I suddenly came down with a bad cold this week, and basically I felt like I was going to die. As a result I have found myself asking the age old question, “to run or not to run?” Usually, I run even when I am sick. As my friend, Jaime, wisely said, “if we were the kind of runners who easily skip a run, we wouldn’t be the kind of runners crazy enough to run for 12 hours!” And she couldn’t be more right.
This time around though I have been feeling more wimpy than usual. Or maybe it was just pure laziness, or the fact that we’ve had a week of super bad weather, or possibly I really was just THAT sick. Whatever the reason, it all boiled down to me spending two completely miserable afternoons on the couch. On the second afternoon, when I was feeling about 10 times worse than I had the day before, I agonized over whether I should run or not. My husband finally said to me, “I can’t believe you’re thinking about going for a run when you’re on death’s doorstep.” He’s right–I’m insane.
The dilemma is that a lot of times when I go running while I’m sick, I actually feel better afterwards. A little fresh air and exercise can do wonders! Other times though, it has done a number on me. I remember one time I went out for a run while I was recovering from a cold, and I got about 3 miles away from home when all of a sudden I felt so weak that I didn’t think I could take another step. I literally laid down on the trail to rest for a few minutes before picking myself up and slowly making my way back home.
That said, if you’re wondering whether you should run while you’re sick or not, I really can’t give you a definitive answer. I say, if you’re miserable and don’t feel like running, then don’t. Your body will be glad for the rest. If you think you have the energy, and you’re dying to get out, then by all means, go for a nice, easy run. Just be careful not to overdo it or you may find yourself lying on the trail wondering how you’re going to get yourself back home!