Monday, March 4, 2019

What To Do if You Are Sick on Race Day

Someone asked the other day if you should still plan on racing if you get sick. I think this happens more than most people would think. In fact, it happened to me just the other day. Not with a race but I was too sick to workout and ended up with extra rest days. It's pretty common since we've done the training and then during taper week our bodies seem to give in to sickness easier and then you end up sick right before race day.  I'm not a doctor or a coach, and it's always best to check with them in this kind of situation. But I'm happy to share what I've learned from my 20 plus years of running experience. So should you still race?

The first thing to do is figure check the symptoms to make sure if you're ok to run. If you're sick enough to go to the dr, you're probably too sick to run. Also, if your sickness is below the neck (stomach problems, chest congestion, fevers, or achy muscles) it's not best to run but you'd benefit more from sitting this one out. If you have a sore throat, a cold, or a runny nose, running is ok and may even help you get better faster.

Once you've decided if what you have is ok to run with, decide how bad do you really feel? If you feel sick and tired and you truly don't want to run, then it's not going to be worth running. If you feel like you're sick, or you're recovering from being sick, or you might be getting something but you feel enough energy to run, then go for it! Just know that racing while you're sick probably means that you won't do as good in your race as you expect or hope.

How long have you been sick? Most illnesses only last a couple of days. If your race is coming up and you feel like you're coming down with something, get some rest, stay hydrated, eat good foods and take the time off from training.  Your miles are already in the bank. Running those runs won't add anything extra to your training at this point and you may even benefit more from taking a few days off and running on rested legs than to do those workouts and wear yourself down even more.

 If my race was a lot of money, and I was too sick to run the race, I would definitely contact the race director and ask if you can defer the entry to another race or if you can transfer the entry to someone you know who would like to run it and then sell them the race bib. Racing can be so expensive and seriously, I'd be racing a lot more often if it wasn't that expensive, so especially if I spent a lot of money on the race I'd try to get my money's worth, or I'd do what I can to race it.

If you do decide to race, try to enjoy it and take in the scenery. You probably won't be PRing or winning this time, but you can enjoy the workout and the atmosphere of the race. Take the race easy, and have fun!

Have you ever been sick on race day?

What is your first sign that you're too sick to run or race? 

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