Running When Sick

Runners are weird people. They pay to run on public streets. They shoot boogers out of their noses onto the sidewalk. They spread vaseline in the oddest places. They suck tubes of jelly from foil packets like it’s their last meal. They smile while sweaty…

monica at commerce 5k

And sometimes they want to run while sick.

I wouldn’t be surprised to see a lifelong runner doing laps around the hospital before surgery.

Hey, I didn’t say we were smart, I said we’re weird. Actually, I prefer the term “dedicated to fitness”.

But should you run while sick?

I am not going to be a hypocrite (okay, I won’t be a hypocrite in this post, but other posts are fair game) so I can’t say Don’t Run While Sick because I ran 4 miles when I was feeling “off” after Panama IMG_0706(image source)

aaaand proceeded to projectile vomit at the Dole Summit. Classy lady, I know. In my defense I had a Panamanian parasite. Do as I say little bears, not as I barf in public…monica is dead

Anyways, there is one key rule to follow when you’re sick

“If it’s in your chest, you MUST rest.”

Read: If your lungs are full of gunk, don’t make life harder for them by doing something that makes it difficult to breathe.

And another unofficial common sense rule is – “If exercise makes you feel worse, don’t do it.”

Basically if you are mildly ill with a cold or sore throat you can still exercise if it makes you feel better – but don’t power through just to be a warrior. You don’t get extra points in Heaven for running till you barf (now I know God!).

Ultimately when I feel sick I play it by ear on how I feel, how much energy I have, if I have a fever, or the pox or think running might kill me.

But since I love running I try to get better asap! I have a few rituals that make me feel better when I’m sick… IMG_7315 (600x800)

First, I get a juice from the WF juice bar. Then, I sit on my couch and watch trash TV. Finally, I eat a bunch of unhealthy food to make me feel better. I’m sure that last one only makes me feel worse, but it’s part of the healing process Winking smile

Whether or not you can run you want to feel better when you are feeling sick. And you know what always makes me feel better?


So, I’m pretty excited HALLS Warm-Up Drops come in Mocha Mint Flavor. I haven’t tried it yet but I’m wishing and hoping it’s going to be better then most throat drops that taste like actual medicine. Also trymanuka honey which helps too.

Question: I’m willing to try any and all old wives tales / family remedies to get better when I’m sick – got any tips or tricks to share?

Disclosure: Compensation was provided by HALLS via Glam Media. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of HALLS. HALLS Warm-Up Drops are unique soothing drops that are warm and cool in one. Menthol vapors cool nasal passages while the warming sensation gently warms and soothes throats. Available in two delicious flavors: Apple Cider & Mocha Mint.


  1. says

    Interesting you post this. I have been fighting with a virus now for over 3 weeks. It started in my sinuses, moved to my throat, and now is in my chest. I have been trying to take it easy, but when it has been going on for so long, it is hard. So I tried running this week..and I coughed so hard, my lung really hurt and I did almost puke. :(

  2. says

    I have found that when I have a cold, workouts usually speed up the healing process (not major workouts, just smaller, easier ones). I also try to eat Vitamin C like mad.

  3. Jessica says

    I was sicker than a dog last October with bronchitis. Before I knew it was bronchitis I tried to run. Big mistake. I’d usually end up down the road hacking up my lungs on to the sidewalk. Took me the entire month and then some, antibiotics and an inhaler to finally get better.

    My mom used to give me a tablespoon of honey with a bit of lemon juice when I’d get sick with a cold. Also, if I even hinted that I had the sniffles she’d make up some homemade chicken soup.

  4. says

    As a teacher I am always surrounded by germy little boogers…I mean lovely kids! I swear by Airborne as the first sign of anything. My friend swears by sucking on garlic cloves but then again no one talks to her cause she smells!!

  5. says

    My trick is a hot toddy. Boiling water, a touch of honey, a wedge of lemon, and a jigger of whiskey. Great for head congestions, but really it cures everything. Seriously. My parents rubbed whiskey on my gums when I was teething as a baby and I think it led to me thinking whiskey cures all!

  6. says

    Where did the information come from about not running when it’s in your chest? I feel like when it’s in my chest – it’s when I WANT to run. Something about breathing and getting the oxygen flowing makes all that gunk come loose and out through my lovely mouth/nose.

  7. says

    Funny you mention this. I have been fighting a soar throat & cold (it is currently winning, grrr…) for the past few days. I have taken 3 days off from the gym thus far and it is killllling me!! I want to get back but everyone keeps telling me that I need to stay home. Knowing that I am not the only crazy one who actually WANTS to workout while sick is pleasantly reassuring!

  8. says

    If I am sick enough that the thought of driving makes me wince, I am sick enough not to run/go to the gym. If I am sick enough that I am afraid of getting others sick, than I am sick enough to not workout. If it’s a head cold and I’m overall okay, I go workout.

  9. Sarah says

    I have been feeling like I’m about to get sick all week (probably from drinking in Vegas and not sleeping…)and I have a half marathon on Sunday.
    So far I have been sleeping 9+ hours a night, had chicken noodle soup, fresh juice, apple cider vinegar, green tea with echinacea, some disgusting “hot drink” from a tonic bar called “respiratory relief”, multivitamins and vitamin c. I’m still not full blown sick but still not better.
    Now I’m praying that I can breath during the half and hopefully the sickness will just hit me after. :/

  10. says

    I am sick this week and have been feeling so guilty about not being able to work out. I tried to go into yoga class and ended up leaving 10 minutes in due to a coughing attack. So embarrassing.

    I think rest, trashy TV, and tea are the way to go! Always makes me feel better.

  11. says

    I drink chicken broth with grated ginger, garlic, and habanero. That and lots of rest. And yes, if it is in the chest, don’t be stupid like I was a few weeks ago and run 9 miles in the cold wind. I was down for the count for 10 days instead of one or two, and it really derailed my marathon training.

  12. says

    Similar to your “chest” rule, if you’re only sick above the neck, you can exercise. I said this to someone once, and they misinterpreted it to mean that if you were sick you could ONLY exercise above the neck. Head banging it is!

  13. says

    Okay, I have to try a chocolate cough drop, although mocha means it has something to do with coffee right? If so, I’ll have to wait for my own chocolate cough drops :)

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