When are you TOO Sick to run?

Happy Tuesday! How are you today? Unfortunately, I am still a bit under the weather and so I’ve taken the last few days off from any exercise, including running. It’s also been pouring rain here. Normally, I would just run in the rain or take it to the treadmill but with this cold, I decided to take a little break. The good news is being a little sick inspired me to write this post.

So, when are you actually too sick to run?

Years ago when I first started running, if I woke up with the slightest feeling that I was getting sick, I wouldn’t run. I had always been taught that if you’re getting sick, it’s best to just rest and take it easy and so I followed that advice for a few years.

Of course as the years went by and I ran more and more, I didn’t want to take days off and so I didn’t; and sometimes that was okay and sometimes it wasn’t. Sometimes running would make me feel better, but there were some times it made me feel worse and probably prolonged the illness.

A few years ago I was visiting my sports doctor for something unrelated and I asked him, when are you too sick to run and when should you rest?

He said that runners are a rare breed and it’s hard to give them advice that includes ‘don’t run’, but as a general rule, he advised me to follow the neck rule.

the Neck Rule

If you’re not familiar with the neck rule, in theory, it works like this:

If your symptoms are above the neck, runny nose, watery eyes, scratchy throat, it’s probably okay to run. Just don’t do speed workouts or push yourself too hard. Adversely, if your symptoms are below the neck, chest congestion, coughing, upset stomach, take a rest, plain and simple, do not run.

If you have a simple cold with no fever, exercise can actually make you feel better and may give you temporary relief from the congestion. This is what happened to me on Saturday when I went for my long run. On Sunday however, it didn’t really help and that’s when I decided to take a day or two off, because colds can get worse, and I felt like I needed some rest in order to completely recover.

If your symptoms are below the neck such as chest congestion, hacking cough, or upset stomach, you should never run. The same is true if you have a fever or aches and pains. And you should never run if you suspect a sinus infection because some sinus infections, when stressed by exercise, can lead to pneumonia or, in extreme cases, respiratory failure. Sinus infections are serious and if you suspect one, you should check with your doctor before you run.

I’ve learned to trust my body and let it be my guide. If I feel like it’s just a minor cold and my major complaint is sneezing and a stuffy nose, I run, I just do it at an easier pace and sometimes I mix in walking. If I feel sick and miserable and I don’t want to get out of bed, I take a break, and scaling back for a few days has never affected my performance or my training in the past. I don’t expect it will affect it in the future either.

So tell me, when are you too sick to run and do you have a ‘rule’ that you follow?

Lots of running and fishing, it’s the weekend recap.

This weekend, we were down in Venice. I believe I promised a weekend update as well as some pics, so here they are.

On Friday, we drove down to Venice. We had to go all the way to our house, pick up the boat and then drive it back to Sarasota for some work. We’re having a tower built for it. I’m not sure exactly why but I’m trusting that MacGyver has a good reason. After that was done we stopped in at Trader Joes for some essentials.

Trader Joes

And then we went to get a healthy lunch…or not.


And I did a little shopping while MacGyver was in the Sporting Goods Store. If you have a Bealls Outlet near you, by all means run there! It’s usually hit or miss but when it’s a hit, it’s a hit. This was my haul which cost less than $25.

Bealls Outlet

After shopping we headed toward Venice and stopped in at a local car show. MacGyver has a 1967 Pontiac Lemans Convertible. He loves it. It is on the ‘must
save first in case of fire list’. I’m pretty sure I’m not even on that list. Anyway, he we had a good time looking at all the cars.


Old TruckvetteCorvette

And I had a good time with this one, the Little Deuce Poop.

Duece Poop

I started itching like crazy on Friday afternoon and MacGyver and I surmised that it was probably poison ivy or poison oak due to all of my recent yard work. We went to get some calamine lotion but it didn’t help that much. Because it was itching most of the night, I wasn’t sure if I would run on Saturday.

Saturday morning came and then I woke up with a bit of a cold as well as the itching but I decided to run anyway at the last-minute. I had an eighteen miler on my plate, but I only ran 15 and I took my phone and snapped lots of pics. This is the Venetian Waterway Trail in Venice.

Venetian Waterway Trail

Venetian Waterway TrailVenetian Waterway

Venice Florida TrailsVenetian Waterway TrailShamrock Park Nature CenterVenice Running TrailsThis portion ends in Shamrock Park. But you can take the other side and end in
Caspersen Beach. It’s really a beautiful trail and the weather was fairly nice and not too humid, considering that it’s Florida and all.

After running, MacGyver and I went fishing and had a pretty good day of it.

Fishing in Venice

With all that fish, you can imagine what was for dinner, blackened redfish and pan seared snapper with lemon butter sauce and capers.

fish dinner

I know, I can’t believe this is my life either….

On Sunday, I woke up with that stupid cold again but I decided to hit up the Legacy Trail just to try to run out the congestion while MacGyver went fishing again….5 miles later, I wanted to crawl in bed and sleep. Sometimes your body just wants rest.

MacGyver came home from his day of fishing with this ah mazing snook! 28 inches long!

28" Snook

And yes, in case you’re wondering, we eat a ton of fish.

It’s a rainy Monday here today which is just as well because I am still resting and trying to feel better. The itching has subsided but this cold is a butt kicker.

We’ll see how I feel tomorrow.

What did you do this weekend? Did you race or do a long run?

A 15 mile run and that time I swam with a manatee

Just a quick update. Were in Venice for the weekend. We came down Friday and made the usual Trader Joe’s stop. Then we dropped the boat off because we’re having a tower built. We also hit up the sporting goods store and I went to Bealls Outlet and scored! I’ll show you the haul when I can download pics again. Currently my phone is not cooperating. Big surprise.

I wasn’t sure if I was going to run this weekend since I’ve got the most insane case of either poison ivy or poison oak and I’m itching like crazy, and then I woke up with a cold. I ran anyway, I just cut it short at 15 miles instead of 18, you know, in case I really have dengue fever or something.

Anyway, I’ll have some pictures after the weekend. In the meantime, I am posting this pic from a couple of years ago. I was swimming in Hudson, Florida and a Manatee literally swam under me and bumped me. I know you’re not supposed to touch them or play with them and I tried real hard not to. He didn’t care. He stayed by my side for over an hour bumping into me, swimming under me and around me. He just wanted to play. I heard from one of the locals that he does it all the time. It was epic and here is one of the pics:


Hope your all having a wonderful weekend and enjoying all that this beautiful world has to offer.

Do you run when your sick? When are you too sick to run?