Why I like to run when I’m sick

Note extra layers to be removed when they become snot-encrusted...

Note extra layers to be removed when they become snot-encrusted…

What to do with a drippy cold coming on? Go for a 10-mile run, of course.

This wasn’t a case of listening to my body, which would’ve prefered a nap. But my stressed-out mind knew any attempt at sleep would be fitful at best, interrupted by frequent nose-wipings.

A long run would give my mind time for a leisurely untangling. And I suspected that nasal drip would be a lot less irritating once I cranked up my respiration. Besides, what’s one more dripping fluid during a process in which you’re used to dripping sweat?

As for feeling groggy and tired … well, it had been nearly a month since I’d attempted a run in the double-digits, and my goal on this day  wasn’t an exciting new destination but simply maintaining my hold on previously conquered territory. It was gonna be a slog no matter when I did it, so why not do it when I was already in that state of mind?

If nothing else, I thought as I took off swathed in layers that could double as Kleenex and with a plentiful supply of cough drops, I knew I wasn’t wasting a chunk of the day that could be devoted to something more useful. About the only productive thing I was capable of in my current state was what I was doing right then: Simply putting one foot in front of the other, following a route I could run in my sleep.

So, was there anything particularly memorable about this run?

Not really. But it wasn’t a bad way to pass the time. And as I suspected, my cranked-up respiration did reduce my nasal drip, at least temporarily.

Did this run cure my cold? No. But I don’t think I felt any worse after ward, just tired in a slightly different way than before — more physical, less mental.

The cool thing was, on a day that was destined to be frustrating no matter what I did, I at least got a bit of  “running work” done — maintaining distance that I didn’t want to lose and have to build back up later.

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10 Responses to Why I like to run when I’m sick

  1. Unless I have a fever or fluish symptoms I have tried to get out a run, if even for a little bit. It does seem to diminish the mental fatigue—helps to unburden me. As you point out, sometimes you have to tell your body to “suck it up” and get on with it. Once you are out the door and moving things seem to fit into place. Hope you feel better.

    • tischcaylor says:

      This run was from a few day’s ago, guess I wasn’t very clear about that. I wanted to wait and see if it felt like a mistake upon reflection. Nope. But I agree, I probably wouldn’t run if I thought I had a fever or something serious.

  2. bgddyjim says:

    I always run through colds – makes ’em clear up faster IMHO

  3. Shanny says:

    Nice job, there’s definitely a case to be made for pushing on through mild illness rather than sitting it out and feeling sluggish and tired. Oxygen helps the healing process too and you’re definitely out there breathing deep when running!

  4. tischcaylor says:

    There’s probably a fine line there, with “mild illness” being the key. But I think you’re right, getting some extra oxygen through your system can be a good thing.

    • Shanny says:

      Haha….I hope you didn’t think that I meant your cold was mild! Just that the flu, food poisoning and anything with a fever can’t be dealt with the same way as a cold. Oh, I’ve crammed my foot in it, haven’t I?

      • tischcaylor says:

        No, you’re right, it was a pretty mild cold — more irritating than anything else. (And why do I get the feeling you like to “cram your foot in”? Don’t stop … your candor is one of the most appealing aspects of your blog!)

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