Running With the Cold

We’re right in the middle of cold and flu season & for many of us this has had an adverse affect on our running. It can be frustrating to sideline your training plans and rest when all you want to do is get outside and go! 

We’ve put together a few tips on how to most effectively handle a cold whilst in a training routine. 

1) The Neck Check

The neck check is a common rule among runners. It states that if the symptoms of the cold are above the neck (i.e blocked nose, headache, sneezing) you’re okay to head out and run. Any symptoms that are presenting themselves below the neck (sore chest, body aches, muscle pain) most likely require rest to recover.

2) Dress Smart

Your body is trying to fight an infection, and the last thing it needs is to be exposed to cold, winter weather. Not only is your body more vulnerable to the weather during a cold, but you are also most likely going to be running slower than usual and will notice the temperature more. Make sure you’re wrapped up warm, wearing more layers than you would usually, and wear waterproof clothes if it is raining.

3) Lower the Pace

A good idea when running with a cold is to keep the pace down. Keeping your body ticking over with a run during the illness is fine, but now is not the time to be seeking PBs. If you find yourself running at a pace where you are unable to comfortably talk, you need to slow down.

4) Cut the Distance

In a similar vein, you should make sure to pick manageable, lower-intensity routes. A long, intense route will place the body under undue stress and will most likely delay the recovery process. Keep the run short, and stick close to home if possible so that you are able to return quickly if feeling unwell. 

5) Ditch the GPS

Apps with GPS, like Strava, are great tools and can be effective motivation to go out and run. However, when running with a cold, consider leaving the GPS behind. Recording your run may subconsciously encourage you to push yourself harder than your body needs and setback your recovery. Record your sessions privately if you want, but avoid temptation to post online.