Running with a cold

Hello, those of you who are runners would you go running with a cold? My head feels a bit fuzzy and my nose is full. Was bright green this morning but clear now. Either blocked or runny, it’s getting my nose sore now. I’m not sure whether running will make it better or worse? Was thinking of going for a walk instead and maybe doing some weights tomorrow and doing my Friday run as usual? Thanks Davina


  • kenyonhaff
    kenyonhaff Posts: 1,377 Member
    Depends on your goals. In general, unless you're a serious runner actively training for something, you can absolutely take a break.

    Engaging in heavy exercise when you're not feeling well will not help you get over an illness.

    It's also perfectly sensible for just lowering the intensity--like walking instead of running as you said.

    Also what can be a good "rainy day workout" for running is YOGA. Running complimented by stretching, and poses that counteract some of the stresses of running can have a lot of benefits.
  • janejellyroll
    janejellyroll Posts: 25,763 Member
    If it's just a runny nose or something light, I'll still run. If I feel ILL, then I won't.
  • Noreenmarie1234
    Noreenmarie1234 Posts: 7,493 Member
    It depends how I feel. If I’m feeling really crappy, I won’t. There is nothing wrong with just going for a walk one day instead and taking it easy when you aren’t feeling well. But if it’s just a very mild cold and I feel fine otherwise (no headache, body aches, fever, etc) I usually go because it makes me feel better.

    Just listen to your body. Doing a walk and weighs today and your usual run Friday sounds completely fine. It doesn’t matter for weight loss as long as you still have a calorie deficit.
  • penguinmama87
    penguinmama87 Posts: 1,158 Member
    I'm a newbie so my level of effort isn't really intense yet, but my inclination with most things is that I just feel a little "under the weather" I go on as normal but take things more slowly and rest a bit more (and avoid things that would spread illness). So I might still run, but would take it easier or stop if I started and it wasn't going well. Sometimes, I find that moving around helps everything get "unplugged" (very technical term, I know) so I actually feel better afterwards.

    But I don't think any particular approach is necessarily wrong, unless you feel like you have to run when you can barely get out of bed - but it doesn't sound like that's what's going on here.
  • pfeiferlindsey
    pfeiferlindsey Posts: 163 Member
    Can you give yourself 10 minutes or so to see how you feel? You may go out and quickly realize that you feel junky and need to rest. You may also realize that you feel great and can keep going. With a head cold, sometimes I feel fine running and other times I need a few days. You aren't going to lose any progress by taking a break.

    This goes without saying, but I take it COVID has been ruled out, yes? I hate being that person, but it's important to consider.
  • heybales
    heybales Posts: 18,842 Member
    I'll run with a light cold my body seems to be winning against - usually helps clear out the nose.
    Then again that is usually entering winter, pretty sure outside in spring time with pollen wouldn't help.

    If doing treadmill just remember not to do a farmer's blow - especially in public gym!
  • DoubleG2
    DoubleG2 Posts: 120 Member
    Rule of thumb: Symptoms above the neck, OK. Symptoms below the neck, not so much. If your symptoms are mild, probably OK, though fatigue will set in faster. Anything severe, a rest day or two is the better option.
  • DancingMoosie
    DancingMoosie Posts: 8,611 Member
    Sometimes walking or running while having a cold is the only time my head actually clears and I can breathe. Go at a lower intensity and cut it short if you start to feel bad. You might need some extra rest after.
  • VioletRojo
    VioletRojo Posts: 595 Member
    If it's just a head cold, running will usually help me feel better. Anything below the neck or with a fever means it's time to rest.
  • ChickenKillerPuppy
    ChickenKillerPuppy Posts: 297 Member
    I will often still go for a run (albeit shorter) if it just feels like I have a head cold (like congestion in my nose), but definitely will not run if I'm having any respiratory problems or feel like I have a fever. Having said all that, it's OK to take a few days off if you are feeling under the weather.
  • spiriteagle99
    spiriteagle99 Posts: 3,655 Member
    I have always heard the rule of thumb from above - if you have a fever or congestion in your lungs, then rest. If it is just a runny nose, go ahead and run easy. From experience, that works for me. I have tried running when I was coughing and it always makes the cold last longer, but if it's just in my head, the run can sometimes help clear me out.
  • sgt1372
    sgt1372 Posts: 3,971 Member
    I really don't understand why anyone would exercise will ill or injured but many people do.
  • davina82
    davina82 Posts: 9 Member
    Sorry I didn’t know I had any replies as there was no notifications weirdly! I didn’t run in the end but next day I did some weights and then last night I ran. Still had a blocked nose but once I got going it disappeared and somehow I beat my personal best! This morning still snotty but I feel ok in myself. I only started running last year and the last couple of weeks have started to do some weights to try and do that as well as the running. I’m normally someone who only goes MyFitnessPal to lose weight, soon as I come off it it goes back on until I go back on it. Trying to break the cycle, eat healthy as much as I can (chocolate fiend!) and incorporate fitness into the mix. Previously my diets were quite harsh and low calorie so this time have had more calories but more exercise and the weight has come off a lot slower but hoping to stick to this way of life. Thank you for all the comments they are great! X
  • davina82
    davina82 Posts: 9 Member
    Yes Covid was ruled out by the way! My only symptom is a runny nose, all clear no sign of green (gross sorry!) I was recently diagnosed as being very anaemic and I didn’t realise at the time that it was the reason my run times were getting slower and slower and the reason I felt tired all the time. I feel much better now and I kind of want to keep going with the running and getting better and hence wasn’t sure whether it was better to not run with a cold or better to carry on. If you have a break from running how long before you start losing fitness?

  • MarziPanda95
    MarziPanda95 Posts: 1,326 Member
    Light exercise can help you to get better sooner. Immune cells are often just hanging out in your organs, not doing very much. But when you exercise (even just going for a walk) your blood pumps harder and your immune cells come out of hiding in your organs and go into your bloodstream, ready to fight whatever viruses and bacteria it comes across. So personally I say maybe run slower or for a shorter distance, or even just walk instead, or do some exercise indoors - but don't stop altogether. Of course if you feel really bad, it's okay to rest.
  • sweetdaisy13
    sweetdaisy13 Posts: 357 Member
    Yes, I run if/when I have a light cold as I find it helps clear the cold, but everyone is different. If I feel so ill that I don't think I could run 2 miles, then I'd not bother and just rest.

    I'm also anaemic and was prescribed iron tablets by my doctor, but now take an over the counter slow-releasing iron tablet (with added Folic Acid and Vitamin B12) every other day. It really helps with my running too.

    There's quite a bit of research out there about the benefits of taking iron tablets if you are a runner, anaemic or not.
  • spiriteagle99
    spiriteagle99 Posts: 3,655 Member
    It takes two weeks to seriously start losing fitness, so if you need to get over a cold by resting a day or two, don't worry about it.

    I have been anemic as well. It really makes running difficult. When your numbers go back up, you will see a big difference. It can be hard to get your ferritin up though. I am back into 'normal' range, but still lower than I would like it to be. Runners do better if their ferritin is >50.