To train or not to train during illness?

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This is a conundrum that all us runners face at some point, and it's very relevant at this time of year. The dreaded head cold hits and whilst you feel far below par, you don't want to lose valuable training time. So what should you do?

In my experience, a good general rule to follow is; if the issue lies above the neck, for example a blocked nose, sneezing or sore throat but you don't have a fever, then you should be ok to continue running but at a light intensity.

If however, the issue has spread to below the neck and you're experiencing symptoms such as chest congestion, intense coughing or vomiting, then you must completely stop training and seek advice from a doctor. Whilst this can be frustrating, it's a far better option than training through it and spending a lot more time on the sidelines. Please note this is general advice I was given many years ago and have followed with success. The best thing you can do is listen to your body and be sensible with your training choices.

Written by Marc Brown