Hi, friends! After a day of no classes yesterday because of the snow, life’s back to normal today. As fun as the first snow night was, I’m ready to have my roads back for running!
I was going stir-crazy yesterday with the gyms closed and the roads too icy to run, so I did a little dorm room workout with things like lunges, jump squats, planks, and burpees, and I discovered that I’d rather run 6 miles than do 6 burpees.
So anyway, I wanted to talk about working out when you’re sick, because I’ve never really known what you’re “supposed” to do in that situation. I used to never, ever get sick, but I think college changes things. Between my roommate, suite mates, and me, someone is always sick– not to mention the rest of campus all seems to get sick together.
I felt my cold coming on last Monday night and by the time I woke up Tuesday morning, I had all the lovely symptoms– not being able to breathe, being extra tired, having headaches, and all that jazz.
I was trying to decide if I should go run that morning like I usually do. On the one hand, I knew that I always feel better after a run, and I thought of the quote “you’ll never regret a workout.” On the other hand, I really just wanted to to stay in bed and call my mommy ;).
I consulted my friends at Web MD and Runner’s World, who said if you have symptoms below your neck (chest cold, bronchial infection, body ache) you should take time off, but you can exercise if your symptoms are above your neck (runny nose, stuffiness, sneezing). So, I decided to go for it.
After being pelted by icy rain in 30 degree weather for 10 minutes (while wearing shorts and a tank top, not one of my brightest ideas), I decided it wasn’t worth it, so I turned around and finished my run after a grand total of 2.5 miles. Womp, womp.
The next day (Wednesday), I decided to take a total rest day. Instead of getting up early to run, I got some extra sleep to help fight my cold, and it was glorious.
I take issue with Pinterest-y motivational pictures like this, because sometimes, skipping a workout is EXACTLY what you need to do. I have to remind myself that I WON’T lost my running fitness from taking an unplanned day or two off, and I WON’T lose my workout momentum, either. I think I have this fear that if I take unexpected days off, I’ll stop feeling as motivated to work out, but that couldn’t be farther from the truth. A day away from running just makes me that much more excited to run again. I start to miss my endorphins!
I took it easy again on Thursday and Friday with 5 miles around an 8:30 pace, and by Saturday, I wasn’t sick anymore and was feeling ready to push myself a little with some hills. I did 7 miles total: a 3 mile warm-up, 8 x 1 minute hill sprints (jogging down the hill for recovery each time), and then a 1.5 mile cool-down. On Sunday, I did an easy 5 miles. I threw my training plan out the window a little bit for my sick week and just did what I felt like my body could handle, and I was back to normal pretty quickly.
So yes, I think that if your symptoms are above your neck, it’s okay to work out…but it’s also completely fine to take a couple rest days, as well. It may even help you recover faster, and it definitely won’t make you lost your fitness! I have no regrets about taking some unplanned rest days in the middle of the week, and I’m excited to be back on track with my training plan.
And as for right now? I’m about to go meet some friends to brave the running trails, or if it’s too icy, we’re going to come up with some kind of stair interval workout. Catch ya later!
Questions for you: Do you usually work out when you’re sick? Thoughts on burpees, snow, or life?