How sick is too sick to run?

Running summary for w/c 6th February
Miles: 25.5
Cross training: Kettlebell, strength training, swimming

It’s that time of year when everyone gets sick with something or other. Bugs and viruses are flying around and if, like me, you spend most of your day on the tube and in air-conditioned buildings, you are going to be particularly vulnerable.

I pride myself on my hardy immune system. As a child I had to be “on death’s door” as my mother used to say to warrant a sick day from school. As a student who waitressed to pay the bills, missing a shift and losing my pay was simply not an option – I called in sick 3 times in 4 years. I have a tough time admitting that I’m ill and an even harder time taking time off to recover. This weekend has been one of those times.

Apparently the rule of running when ill is to ask yourself, is it above the neck or below? (Many thanks to fellow Twitterers for their advice!) If the illness is only above the neck (like a cold, or a headache) then you’ll probably be fine if you take it easy, so go grab your trainers and get sweaty. If it’s below (cough, poorly lungs, and I assume tummy problems) then step away from the lycra and put the kettle on instead. I decided that my sore throat was a grey area and ran anyway. Big mistake. Now I’m coughing, spluttering, sneezing and lying on the sofa getting more bored by the minute.

I’m glad I managed to fit some running in this weekend – I made it to the final cross country fixture of the Met League, where I wheezed my way around the 6K course in pretty good time, and I fitted in a 10 miler on Sunday too – but I’m paying the price now and may have to take a few days off…

So next time you’re wondering how sick is too sick to run, consider my ammendment to the above/below the neck rule: just don’t do it at all. Seriously. If you’re training then you might, like me, try and kid yourself that you fell better than you actually do. Phone a friend and ask for a hug instead.

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