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When I Am Sick Can I Continue Training for My Marathon or Half Marathon?

Is it starve a cold, feed a fever? Or, Starve a fever, feed a cold? If you're like me you can never remember. So, when is it ok train if you are sick?

It been cold in LA and even colder across the United States. It's cold and flu season. One morning you wake up with a scratchy throat and a stuffy nose. You start thinking, "I've been training for months, my marathon or half marathon is 6 only 10 weeks away, if I get sick what am I going to do?" Your training schedule is calling for big mileage, you don't want to lose your conditioning. You're worried about how you are going to make up the miles you lose by not training. Some of you will train no matter the situation and possibly jeopardize your race.

It might be better to think what's the best for the long run, literally.  You may lose a little conditioning but you won't lose it all. Remember the faster you get better the faster you can back into your serious training. Here are some guidelines whether to train, and if you do how to train (watch the video). Please consider that it is always better to be on the safe side and discuss your symptoms with a certified medical doctor and proceed accordingly.

Here's the general rule:

Above the Neck YES

Below the Neck NO

Keep the Intensity Low

  • Colds are viruses
  • Colds typically last 8 - 10 days but can last up to 3 weeks
  • Antibiotics don't work on colds
  • Colds are passed by contact, wash your hands regularly when during cold and flu season

If you are sick the best thing for you is to get plenty rest, lots of water and healthy food. Make recovery your first priority and move training back on the list.

To try and speed up your recovery you can take over the counter products but typically they only reduce symptoms. I like Cold Eze and Emergen C.

Going back to the first question, "Is it starve a cold, feed a fever?" From what I found, you should never starve yourself, especially if you are training for a race. Rely on rest, lots of water and healthy food.

Train Focused,

Steve Mackel - Head Coach, Sole Runners Full and Half Marathon Training Programs

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