Like many runners, the thought of veering from my training schedule or even worst taking a rest day due to illness makes me cringe. So this 1980s pop song asks just the question “Should I Stay or Should I Go?”.
How does a “rational runner” (oxymoron), answer this question when Mr. Sniffles pays a visit? Fortunately this morning’s research presented some interesting answers. The most simple and useful tip I came across was the “Neck Rule” provided by David Nieman Ph.D of Appalachian State in a 2004 Runner’s World article.
TIME OFF is required if symptoms occur below the neck (chest cold, bronchial infection, body aches).
CONTINUE ON but EASE UP if symptoms occur above the neck (runny nose, congestion, sneezing)
Taking a day or two off will not result in any significant loss of fitness and in fact could give your body the extra recovery it needs for upcoming training. That being said, if you aren’t suffering from pain below the neck perhaps an easy run and a good sweat could increase your psychological well-being and prove more beneficial than a day off.
I will leave you with this final thought….”The only thing harder than running is NOT RUNNING!” My deepest apologies to any non-runner who may have happened upon this article, I know we’re nuts!