On Running While Sick…..

I hate that feeling… the sneezy runny-nose cold…. The aches and pains…  fevers, stomach issues, coughing fits, headaches….  Being sick is NOT fun for most people, much less runners.  Throw in cold weather and the types of cold precipitation that inevitably accompany your various ailments and it is easy to see why feeling miserable can be exasperated….


For me a cold, particularly if confined to the nose, is not a deal-breaker for me.   I still go out for a run regardless.  In extreme conditions where I am completely stuffed up, I may use some Vick’s rubbing lotion and put some under my nose so that the menthol opens up my nasal passages.  Otherwise, I still go out and run – 97% of the time the run clears my passageways and, at least for the run and a few minutes after the run I feel better before the runny nose, etc. comes back.


A fever is a different story.  The body is fighting some kind of infection or something generally more serious.  In this case, it might be worth taking the day off, particularly if it is hot outside.  Otherwise, I would run very slowly and close to my house so that if I feel weak, I can just stop.  A run with a fever for me generally makes me feel much worse and was not worth the effort.


There is nothing I hate more than vomiting.  I have done it to myself a few times, yes, but the sick flu is not something I have asked for and not fun.  I get dehydrated and am very weak and can’t get out of bed with a severe exhaustion.  For these sicknesses I don’t run.  I rest as much as I can and try to get some liquids and food inside me and eventually get the strength to start getting back into my routine which includes running of course.

Other not as common sicknesses you’ll just have to get to know your body and trust your recovery which may include what your doctor tells you to do.  Since I am not your doctor, I leave all of this to you – but the better you know your body, the better the runner you will become.

Trials of Miles,


Nickolas Joannidis
Nickolas Joannidis
I have been running for over 35 years, having done practically every possible racing event or distance from the 100 meters through the marathon. I competed in varsity high school cross country and track at Saddle Brook High School in the mid-1980's, varsity cross country and track at Division II Pace University and finished well over 200 road races since then, including 20 marathons with a lifetime best of 3:14:50. I was the president of the Hoffmann LaRoche corporate running team for 7 years, growing the team from 25 to over 90 during his tenure. I coached many of these runners to achieve their goals, whether they were beginners or advanced. In 2011 I was an assistant coach for the Fair Lawn Recreation track team, helping the 10 to 14 year old group. I am currently personally coaching dozens of runners, from beginner levels to advanced levels and getting them to be prepared to meet their goals.

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