Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Run a cold, rest a fever

Not for fevers!
Today's run (treadmill): 25 minutes

I'm battling a head cold and I think I might actually be winning. I'm not sure if it's true, but I've always followed the common wisdom, "Feed a cold, starve a fever." Although it's a bromide, it does seem to make sense. But, is it okay to run when you have a cold? How about when you have a fever? My guess is that the same concept works for both eating and running.

When I left my sedentary life in 2008, and took up running with a vengeance, I went months without taking a rest day. The sudden focus on diet and exercise probably supercharged my immune system. I don't recall getting sick once throughout that period. Eventually I caught a cold and established my policy for running when feeling ill. It's "Run with a cold, rest with a fever."

After my bout of pneumonia in late 2009, I learned to listen closely to my body. On Saturday morning I awoke with a sore throat. I didn't have a fever so I hit the trails and felt none the worse for it. On Sunday the cold remained, but I still put in some road miles. My fear that this hard running over the weekend would weaken me. Instead, I think it's helped to minimize the symptoms of this cold.

My sore throat has moved to my head, resulting in sniffles and an occasional cough. Still, I felt good enough today to do a brisk morning run on the treadmill. I've been waiting for my cold to increase its intensity, but so far it's remained mild. I guess you can't go wrong if you always follow the policy.

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