It’s bound to happen. Training has been going so well then bam; you’re hit with an illness. Now the internal battle starts, should I try and run or should I rest? If I run will it make it worst? Here are some guidelines to help make that decision on whether to run or to rest.
A lot of doctors will recommend the neck test. If symptoms are above the neck such as sore throat, sneezing, nasal congestion and tearing eyes it’s most likely OK to run. If your symptoms are below the neck, such as coughing, body aches, fever, diarrhea or vomiting do not run.
I’ll also use something called the “gut test.” If you have a gut feeling or sense that running is a bad idea, it’s probably best to rest.
If you decide it’s OK to run make sure to take it easy. Limit the run to less than 60 minutes and avoid exerting effort that will raise your heart rate above 70% of its maximum. Pushing to hard while sick will risk effecting your body’s immune system and ability to fight off the illness.
If you have to take a few days off don’t worry about losing fitness. Typically, as long as you live healthy (no alcohol/drugs, junk food and plenty of sleep) fitness declines won’t start till somewhere in the 5 to 7 day range.
Despite the neck test, taking a few days off is always the safest option. Rest up and come back healthy and ready to resume training.