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Feeling sick? Not sure if you should race or rest?

Learn how to make the right decision when you’re under the weather and unsure if you should train

After putting in hours of training, it’s tempting to go ahead with a race even if you don’t feel up to it. But you will pay for it later if you ignore signs you should rest.

Here’s what you need to look out for:

  • Systemic symptoms: fever, chesty cough, general muscle and joint pain.
  • “The Neck Test”: If you have any of the above symptoms or anything else (like an upset stomach) below the neck, take a rest.

What will happen if I train when I’m sick?

Exercising hard temporarily reduces the function of your immune system. So, training at a time when your body is already struggling with an invader may result in complications like inflammation and pneumonia.

Most runners (85%) will race regardless of feeling poorly – whether they have just a runny nose or a feverish hacking cough.

Be smart and rest up, because:

  • DNF: You double your chance of getting the dreaded ‘DNF’ beside your name if you run with an infection.
  • Your performance will suffer: You will be slower and weaker even up to 4 days after a viral illness

Never get sick?

Well, chances are you might…about 1 in 5 of runners will have some kind of an infection in the 8-12 days before their next race. Put another way, you are likely to get a viral type illness just before one of your next 5 races.

So, should you race or rest?

If you pass ‘The Neck Test’ then you might consider going out for an easy session. But remember, training when you’re sick has a long term effect on your performance so you’re better off resting up if you’re not feeling well.

We hope this helps!

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