Should You Run When You’re Sick?

flu Recently, with the season change, several people have inquired as to whether it’s safe to run whilst sick. Y’all know I follow the rule of “Symptoms below the neck (chest cold, bronchial infection, body ache) require time off, while symptoms above the neck (runny nose, stuffiness, sneezing) don’t pose a risk to runners continuing workouts.” Which included my 10.5 km run yesterday with the start of the cold. However, I am reblogging this article from Runners World, because they get into a little more depth. Hope it helps!

Should You Run When You’re Sick?

By Marc Bloom

Runners seem to live by a creed that’s stricter than the postman’s: “Neither rain, nor snow, nor sniffle, nor fever shall keep me from my training schedule.” Indeed, the coming of winter presents many issues for runners who’d prefer to keep at it even when sick. Oftentimes, symptoms aren’t severe enough to make you stay in bed, home from work, or off the roads. And while exercise can give you a mental and physical boost when you’re feeling run-down, there are other occasions when going for a run may do more harm than good.

David Nieman, Ph.D., who heads the Human Performance Laboratory at Appalachian State University, and has run 58 marathons and ultras, uses the “neck rule.” Symptoms below the neck (chest cold, bronchial infection, body ache) require time off, while symptoms above the neck (runny nose, stuffiness, sneezing) don’t pose a risk to runners continuing workouts.

This view is supported by research done at Ball State University by Tom Weidner, Ph.D., director of athletic training research. In one study, Weidner took two groups of 30 runners each and inoculated them with the common cold. One group ran 30 to 40 minutes every day for a week. The other group was sedentary. According to Weidner, “the two groups didn’t differ in the length or severity of their colds.” In another study, he found that running with a cold didn’t compromise performance. He concluded that running with a head cold–as long as you don’t push beyond accustomed workouts–is beneficial in maintaining fitness and psychological well-being.

But, doctors say, you still walk, or run, a fine line. Take extra caution when training with anything worse than a minor cold because it can escalate into more serious conditions affecting the lower respiratory tract and lungs. Sinus infection, or sinusitis, is an inflammation of the sinus cavity that affects 37 million Americans each year. Symptoms include runny nose, cough, headache, and facial pressure. With a full-blown sinus infection, you rarely feel like running. But if you do, consider the 72-hour rule of Jeffrey Hall Dobken, M.D.: “No running for three days,” advises the allergist/immunologist and ultramarathoner in Little Silver, New Jersey. Even without the presence of a fever, says Dr. Dobken, some sinus infections, when stressed by exercise, can lead to pneumonia or, in extreme cases, respiratory failure.

Not surprisingly, winter weather increases risk of sinusitis. In dry air, the nasal passages and mouth lose moisture, causing irritation. “The sinuses need time to recover,” says Dr. Dobken, “just like a knee or foot.” So Dr. Dobken recommends including treadmill running in your winter training regimen.

Another option for sinusitis sufferers is pool running. “The water adds moisture to nasal passages,” says John J. Jacobsen, M.D., an allergist in Mankato, Minnesota. Pool running is preferable to swimming, says Dr. Jacobsen, because chlorine can be irritating to the nose.

If you’re still in doubt about whether it’s safe to run or not, take your temperature. If it’s above 99 degrees, skip your run. “Some people think that they can ‘sweat out’ a fever by running,” says Nieman. “That’s wrong. Running won’t help your immune system fight the fever.”

Nieman saw this firsthand when his running partner once ran a marathon with a 101-degree fever. Soon after, the runner developed severe and persistent symptoms similar to those of chronic fatigue syndrome. “Every day he’d wake up feeling creaky and arthritic,” says Nieman. “When he tried to run, he’d stumble and fall.” Eventually doctors concluded he had a “postviral syndrome,” a latent condition that was exacerbated by the race.

Although this syndrome is rare, it’s an example of the risk you take by running while ill. “Running with a fever makes the fever and flu-like symptoms worse,” says Nieman, “and it can lead to other complications.” During exercise, your heart pumps a large amount of blood from your muscles to your skin, dissipating the heat your body generates. If you have a fever, your temperature will rise even higher, and your heart will be put under greater strain to keep your temperature from soaring. In some cases, this can produce an irregular heartbeat. Also, a virus can cause your muscles to feel sore and achy; exercising when your muscles are already compromised could lead to injury.

Nieman recommends that runners with a fever or the flu hold off until the day after the symptoms disappear–and then go for a short, easy run. Runners should wait one to two weeks before resuming their pre-illness intensity and mileage. Otherwise, you risk a relapse, he says.

Above all, obey your body and the thermometer–not your training program.

Know Your Limits

How much running can compromise your immune system to the point of making you sick? For average runners, the dividing line seems to be 60 miles a week, according to David Nieman, Ph.D., of the Human Performance Laboratory at Appalachian State University. Nieman conducted the largest study ever done on this question by examining 2,300 runners who competed in the 1987 Los Angeles Marathon. “The odds of getting sick were six times higher than normal after the marathon,” says Nieman, “and those who ran 60 miles a week or more doubled their chance of getting sick.” The illnesses were of the upper respiratory tract, including sinus infections. Nieman says there’s no doubt these findings are still applicable to runners today. He’s also used himself as a test case: When Nieman trained up to 90 miles a week, he constantly battled sore throats. When he dropped his weekly mileage below 60, the symptoms stopped.

Day 142: “We danced to save lives…” @BAMCalgary

bust a move kat and sueToday was the day, BUST A MOVE CALGARY! 

I was up bright and early; got myself into my fabulous 80s attire and hit the road for the LRT. I made a pit stop at the local Starbucks where the server and I had a laugh over the fact that I looked like I was doing the “walk of shame” after a night of 80s partying. Not the case – yet funny.

I hopped off the train and was greeted immediately by BAM Calgary volunteers – it was such a well organized event! There was fresh fruit, water stations, juice and other healthy snacks. They had step-and-repeats (like red carpet) and representatives from Alberta Cancer who explained what the funds we raised would actually do – let me tell you, it’s very impressive (FYI: 60% cancer cure rates FROM 40% in a short period of time…)

Wedgie and I were nervous about what six hours of fitness would entail, but I don’t think it was as bas as we thought (though there were some points I just wanted to lay down on my mat!) We started off with zumba, then bootcamp and had our first break, which I needed! During the break there were lots of booths to roam around and learn from. We made our way to the Virgin step-and-repeat, where they had Richard Simmons, Justin Bieber and Adam Levine. I tried to take off with the Adam Levine cut out, but got busted….

adam levine

When it was time to hit the mats again, they let us know by playing “Eye of the Tiger” – totally genius. We started off the second part with hot yoga. I enjoyed it, but my hands kept slipping on the mat (however, they gave us the mats to keep which I thought was totally nice!) And then we had kickboxing with one of the most energetic people I have ever seen in my life. For real. I have a feeling most of my soreness tomorrow will be from this segment!

Finally, the moment we were all waiting for: the segment with Richard Simmons. He didn’t realize there were some non-huggers in the audience. Howie Mandels worst nightmare. But all good sports!

richard simmons at BAMWe did a few songs that Richard both wrote and performed. It reminded me of workout videos my mom had back in the day. Lots of smiling and laughing! Then he gave us the opportunity to come up on the stage. That was a lot of fun. I am super uncoordinated at the best of times, but I knew this would probably be a once in a lifetime opportunity, so I decided to record some of it. I know I was getting the side-eye from some people, oh well!

Finally, after the cool down he called us all up to the stage clip for the last part of his segment. I am laughing & singing. It was fun 🙂

BAM raises 170kWhat a day! There was lots of sweating during the six hours of exercise, but we all know that it’s for a terrific cause – funds and awareness for breast health. After all was said and done, the Calgary gang raised a whopping $170,000 – pretty impressive for the inaugural year!!

richard simmons tweeted me! The VERY best part of the day was when Richard Simmons tweeted me!

 

tutu Here is one of the most awesome pics from the day, Sue doing running man during the Hip Hop session. Better watch out Calgary, when we hit the town for girls night we’re bringing mad dance moves!

Thank you to the team who put BAM on here – major, major, major kudos. Putting an event together is a lot of work and you’ve done a phenomenal job! Can’t wait for next year!!

 

Guest Blogger: Introducing Roni Davis

RoniDavis_bio

 

I am super excited to introduce Roni Davis!

Kat: How long did it take you to transform your lifestyle? 

Roni: That’s a tough one. I started in March of 2007 and I’d like to say it took “X” amount of time but I can’t specifically list a date that I could say, “this is the day I was done”. In many ways, I feel like it’s still a work in progress. The bulk of the changes took place over the course of the first year or two but I’d say by the end of the first year, I knew this was the way my life was going to be from then on. There was no going back.

Kat: Do you think anyone can do it?

Roni: Absolutely. I’ve seen SO many transformations from every day people who just quite simply set their minds to do extraordinary things. It ALL comes down to how badly you want it. It requires a change in your mindset. A “I will no longer accept average” and “failure is not an option” type mindset that literally makes anything possible. Once that happens, the body will cooperate…true for anyone.

Kat: What is a typical day for you? (Gym/Life etc.)

Roni: A typical day starts with fasted cardio (usually about 60mins) between 6 and 6:30am, then breakfast, then getting my kid off to school. I do my own workout for 45-60 mins, shower and then start training clients. After work is Mommy time and I start all over again the next day.

Kat:What is the biggest myth about bodybuilding?

Roni: Oh my goodness, there are SO many it’s hard to pick just one. Perhaps that we’re all on steroids? Or one that annoys me the most specifically re: women is that it will cause us to get big and bulky and make us look like men. The only thing lifting does for us is make us healthier, stronger, curvier…and tighter. What gal wouldn’t want that? 🙂

Kat: What would you like people to know about the sport?

Roni: I’d love for people to know that they don’t have to want to be a “bodybuilder” or get on stage or have big bulging muscles to use the basic fundamentals of what we do to shape their own bodies into anything they want them to be. Muscle building takes TIME and HARD work. No one just wakes up “jacked” one day thinking, “OMG! When did I turn into Arnold?!” It’s a LONG process that literally allows you to carve out just about any shape you want and fix your trouble spots. If you’re willing to work and be patient.

***You can catch Roni here or on her Facebook fan page!

Day 2: 3.5 mile run

Today was Day 2 and I had to complete a 3.5 mile run. My time was 32 minutes (can’t remember seconds and deleted from watch.) It was a pretty good run, despite almost being hit by a guy cutting through a parking lot. Oh FYI, don’t eat Indian before you run. I didn’t have any “issues” during the run, but it would have been a different story if I had to go any longer! I know most of you are rolling your eyes (I am too) and don’t kid yourself, I knew it was a bad idea myself, but it’s my kryptonite (especially chicken korma from Surahi).

I must also report that I have my first half-training injury: a blister! It’s nothing compared to some I’ve had but it’s at an awkward place on my ankle – one where I won’t be able to keep a band-aid on it. Therefore, I’ll be buying a new roll of duct-tape tomorrow (tip: if you have a blister in an awkward spot, put a band-aid on it and then duct-tape over it; works like a charm!)

 

One other thing that bothered me through this run was my shorts – the leg elastics aren’t tight anymore and I had to keep hauling them down (awkward!) Can anyone out there recommend a good pair of shorts? e.g.: flattering, yet effective. I had two pairs of the same Nike shorts for almost ten years and have to lay them to rest due to holes. I have to say, not a HUGE Nike fan, but they were the best darn shorts I’ve ever bought and well-worth the investment. Anyone wearing Lululemon shorts? They worth the million dollars?

Off to get my recovery drink and snack in. Happy trails!

Day 1: I think Jillian Michaels may be my arch nemeses!

Tonight was Day 1 of my preparation for the half-marathon. Not sure quite what to do, I thought I’d consult with fitness guru and the spawn of Satan, Jillian Michaels. Several years ago I picked up a book of hers called “Making the Cut”  (not to be confused with the Canadian reality TV show)- despite her fierce delivery, Michaels book is a phenomenal source for everything fitness-related from her designer daily meals to a 30-day gruelling workout routine. When I originally bought the book, I completed the entire workout twice over. Then, as usual, I grew bored of it and it landed in a box. But after two years, it finally made its way back to my Calgary bookshelf and then my gym bag.

The first workout was a mixture of weights, resistance training, yoga (I added this in), jump rope and biking. I was cursing Jillian by circuit 2, but by the last circuit (5) I felt fantastic – knowing full-well that I’ll most likely be sore tomorrow for my 4 mile run. There is something totally satisfying about being able to complete the workout without throwing up – so I must pat myself on the back! I also committed a gym faux pas – I wore grey! I know, I know… you’re not supposed to wear grey because it shows sweat marks, but I’ll let you in on a secret: I was so excited to get this show on the road I didn’t care if people knew I was sweating! I finished the night with a 1o minute bike ride. It was boring. However, I did manage to find someone at the gym who was wearing the Vibram shoes I had recently posted on Facebook. He said they were great and I was happy to hear that you can buy them at Mountain Equipment Coop downtown, so I’ll be making a pit stop down there later this week. But I’m still curious to hear how women like them? I’ve read that if you’re a heel runner it’s extremely hard to adapt. I don’t know much about my running technique other than I’m usually slow and probably not meant to be a runner…

So tomorrow is my first run day. To run with or without the stroller … what should I do?

If you have any training suggestions for me, please share!!