Ask a runner what the most difficult thing for them to do is and all will reply “not run.” For a runner, being unable to run is like swimming without a pool….inconceivable.  Yet, what happens when we cannot run? Should we attempt to run knowing that it probably isn’t in our best interest?  When is it not ok to run? I am a runner, and this weekend I am not running, all-the-while trying to get healthy and stay sane at the same time.

For the past 3-months I have been training for a ½ marathon that was supposed to take place this weekend with was being the operative word.  I had established a strategy, a time goal and a reach goal. Not only was I ready to run, I was ready to race. Unfortunately, I am not able to run this race because I have been bit by the cold/flu bug. The timing could not have been worse, yet I must tell myself that “it always could be worse.”

It has been 4 days since my last run and today I just stepped outside for the first time in 2 days.  Four days ago I performed what was supposed to be an easy run but my body felt otherwise.  I knew something was not right. At what point did I decide not to run? I decided a day off was necessary when I did not want to get out of bed. That single day of rest turned into 4 as a result of chest congestion, a sore throat, persistent cough and fever. A good rule of thumb to follow to determine whether or not to exercise is the “neck-up” rule. Generally, if symptoms are from the neck-up (e.g. stuffy nose, cough) you are OK to exercise. Symptoms from the neck down (e.g. chest congestion, body aches, fever) are contraindications to exercise. 

Although choosing not to exercise can be a pain in the neck, a pain in the neck can be a signal for you to slow down and take it easy.  Listen to your body.

“If you feel like eating, eat. Let your body tell you what it wants.”
– Joan Benoit Samuelson


Run on,

Sarah Anderson