Showing posts with label colds. Show all posts
Showing posts with label colds. Show all posts

Sunday, October 6, 2013

It ain't the cold, it's the humidity

The one-two punch
Today's run (treadmill): 4 miles

I'm definitely working through a cold this week. What started as a sore throat on Thursday is now just an annoying combination of congestion and coughing. I don't think it's related to the flu shot. My policy has usually been to run through a cold and hold off running when I have a fever. With the exception of an unscheduled rest day on Friday, I've continued doing my workouts.

Last night my coughing woke me up and that prompted me to take both an antihistamine and a decongestant. I went for the minimal dosage, because too much of either would interfere with my sleep. That helped and it carried through until 5:00 AM when my body clock decided it was time to get up. I spent the early morning hours trying to decide what to do about a run. My plan was to go to Bethpage and train on the hills, but the weather was rainy and the humidity was high.

Although I got a decent amount of sleep, I don't think it provided beneficial rest. I decided to return to bed for a 20 minute nap and that helped bring me back to strength. At that point I'd decided to run inside. I didn't want to find myself trapped in the pouring rain on the Bethpage trail. In consideration of my planned hill training, I got on the treadmill and did the first ten minutes at a modest incline.

The humidity was really awful, so I kept my pace well below LT. The purpose of today's workout was to run about 40 minutes, keeping my heart rate between 80 - 85% of max. That was an easy target and I got through it without a problem. I resisted the temptation to hammer the throttle for the last few minutes, as I often do on runs like this. It was enough to run through a cold and it would make no sense to push so hard as to make it worse.

I thought about the folks like The Petite Pacer who were running the LI Diva Half marathon this morning. I'm sure the humidity was extremely unpleasant. But with no baking sun and moderately cool temperatures, it may have equaled out. Still, I was happy not to be racing 13.1 miles this morning.

Monday, September 24, 2012

When having a "natural killer" is a good thing

NK cells, Mother Nature's assasins
The thing about colds is that you can sense they're coming long before they arrive. Colds often start with a scratchy throat that turns into the sniffles, a cough, and a bunch of other fun symptoms. The oft-quoted phrase is, "Three days coming, three days staying and three days going." After I started taking a daily multivitamin in the early '90's, I got far fewer colds. But when I did, they would be intense.

Since I started running in the fall of 2008, the intensity of my colds has dropped noticeably. With the exception of my pneumonia experience, I can't remember feeling particularly ill for more than a day in the past four years. According to WebMD, "Regular exercise appears to have the advantage of being able to jump-start the immune system, and that can help reduce the number of colds you get." The site says that "With exercise...natural killer cells, increase by as much as 50% to 300%."

I plowed through a couple of hard runs over the weekend despite my symptoms, and the intensity of this cold has not increased past the "mildly distracting" stage. I do believe there is something to this "natural killer cell" theory promoted by my running. Despite the name, it's a great concept.

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.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Day off from running

I don't often catch colds although I do occasionally get symptoms that I fight with a combination of rest and exercise. This week I've suffered a sore throat that quickly gave way to a sinus headache and fatigue. I'm pleased that it hasn't gone further than that but I wish it would just go away. I laid out my running gear last night but when I got up this morning. I questioned whether exercise would do more harm than good and briefly considered an elliptical session but I ended up getting back in bed until 5:00.

I have a very busy schedule today with a presentation mid-morning so I decided to go the resting route instead. It was a morning made for running so I had slight pangs of regret as I headed out for the train today. All the same, I have learned that while sometimes the best response to an impending illness is to fight back with a rigorous workout, some days the best exercise is rest.

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