Whenever we run long distances, especially when training for a marathon, we’re more prone to catching colds and other viruses. Long runs diminish our defense mechanisms, and this in turn could harm our training. Why? Because we typically begin feeling sick, we don’t pay attention and continue with our training, so we get more sick, and we have to miss even more training runs.
The rule of thumb, according to physicians, is that if from the neck up: it’s ok to run, but from the neck down: don’t. My rule of thumb? Listen to your body, if a stuffed up nose or a bad cough is not going to let you run comfortably, then walk a bit and try again tomorrow.
Regarding nutrition, eating plenty of fruits and vegetables (about 5 servings or cups per day are recommended) will give you enough vitamins, minerals, and antiinflammatories to prevent and get over colds faster.
Hydrate! Drink lots of water, not cold as it might inflame your throat a bit. Hot teas are a great choice for some relief.
If you’re traveling, get an extra dose of vitamins staring 5 days before your trip. A supplement such as Airborne, Emergen-C, or similar products are available to fulfill this need.
Get your good night sleep so you recover faster and are able to get back to the gym, track, or asphalt. And when you feel that you are recovering, always start with an easy run to gauge how you feel and how your body reacts to it. Do not start with a hard speed session or a long run to try to catch up. Trust me, you will catch up in no time.
You might feel that you’re missing out on your training and that you’ll be losing all that effort you put into it. But it’s better to skip a couple runs now -including a long run-, than to make that cold worse and having to miss weeks of training because of a severe cold, another sever virus, or even pneumonia.