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Running while Sick - Tips to Stay on Track

Posted by George Parker on
Running while Sick - Tips to Stay on Track

101 degrees. Great temperature for a day at the beach. Awful body temperature to wake up to in the morning.

One morning this week, I woke up to a fever and stomach issues. Yuck. I tried to run a few miles, but quickly made a detour back to the restroom. Today, I had to rest and focus on recovery.  

I used to get a sick a lot – a monthly stomach bug during training season. After I cleaned-up my diet and optimized my vitamin/supplement intake, I get sick much less often. But, I’m still human.

So what to do when a sickness sidelines your running for a day?

You may have lost the mileage, but I suggest you can still move forward.

1. You will be running tomorrow - This mental thought will improve your frame of mind. Today, the body needs to rest. Tomorrow, you will be better. Believe it.  

2. Get out of bed and STRETCH – Stretching is important for muscle recovery and injury prevention; however, stretching is often neglected as a consequence of busy lives and tight schedules. When sick, you have an opportunity to focus on stretching. Get out of bed, get moving, and get a little bit better. For me, I tend to feel better once the blood is pumping in the body. I can always lay back down, but at least I got a little more flexible first.

3. Stay in bed and READ – While you are resting in bed, take the opportunity to become a smarter runner. Race prep, training prep, or runner autobiographies are great options. My upcoming race is the California International Marathon. I took my downtime to study the course, aid stations, and historic finish times. I hadn’t had the time before, so it was nice to have a break.

4. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate – Remember, you will be running tomorrow. Prepare. When I have a stomach bug, I’m losing fluids in many ways...I focus on hydrating with water, sports drinks, or juice – whatever tastes good, and I can tolerate. Later in the day, I introduce soup for more electrolytes and extra calories. If I am feeling good, I’ll eat rice and chicken later in the day. With any luck, you will go to bed that evening hydrated with some food back in the stomach.

I certainly hope you never get sick during your training cycle. But, if you do, take advantage of the rare opportunity to become a better runner that day.

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