Coming Back From Illness

IMG_5346The last few days my husband and I were dealing with a bit of a stomach bug.  I woke up the other day and quickly realized I was not feeling well.  I ended up staying in bed all day, feeling not so great.  I knew I was definitely sick because I had no appetite and no desire to run and that is very unlike me.  I love my food and running!

When you are sick, it is best to at least take a day away from running or other activities.  But how do you know when to come back?

I am a big proponent of knowing your own body and knowing when it is ready to be pushed.  The key is to be aware of signals your body is giving you.  Is it hungry or thirsty?  Are your muscles sore?  If you feel achy, tired, or dizzy it is best not to head outdoors.  If you still have a fever, stay in bed.  It is very important to remember that taking a few days off from your routine is not going to hurt you or set you way back.  Pushing your body when it is not ready can wear you down even more and suppress your already weakened immune system.

When you are ready to come back there are a few things to remember.  First you need to hydrate.  Your body is likely lacking in liquid nourishment, especially if you were vomiting or had diarrhea (don’t even squirm, we all know full well what happens to runners!).  Make sure you start replacing liquids as soon as you know that your body won’t reject them.  This is a good time to add some Gatorade or PowerAde to your drink list to help replace lost electrolytes.  Good old fashioned water is always at the top of the list.  I am not really a soda drinker, but I love ginger ale.  In fact my husband and I both love Vernors, which apparently is hard to find outside of Michigan.  Just our luck we were there last week and stocked up on two cases of this amazing drink!  Try staying away from caffeinated beverages which will dehydrate you and also avoid acidic drinks like orange juice, it will just be too harsh on your stomach.  Other caffeine free sodas such as 7up are also ok to drink as are herbal teas.

One happy pantry!  LaCroix and Vernors

One happy pantry! LaCroix and Vernors

Be patient with yourself.  My first run back I had grand ideas of doing a nice slow long run.  Less than a mile in I realized slow was going to be a different slow for me for a few days and long was going to be a bit shorter as well.  Your body just went through the wringer and still might be going through it.  Don’t push yourself.  Relish being back on the road or treadmill and let your body show you what pace and length it can handle.  Don’t panic, this isn’t going to last forever.  Your body didn’t forget everything you learned in training and with a few days of patience you will be right back where you were before.

If you simply have a head cold it is probably ok to go running.  Some research shows that running actually boosts your immune system and you likely won’t make yourself sicker by getting your workout in.  You still need to bundle up and listen to your body but there isn’t a reason to stay away from your daily run.  Sometimes when I have a head cold my body craves that run.  I almost feel like a good sweat helps flush everything out.  Again, listen to your body.

Finally, treat yourself well.  Drink some tea and get plenty of sleep.  Grab a nap if you can or crawl into bed early.  Eat as much healthy food as possible.  Stick to antioxidant rich foods such as fruits, vegetables, grains, beans, and nuts.  Mom was right, there are actually healing properties to chicken noodle soup, so eat it up.  Keep putting all that good stuff into your body and you will be back to normal before you know it.



23 thoughts on “Coming Back From Illness

  1. Feel better! I’m definitely the type of person who will rest more than enough when I’m sick. No need to push myself.

  2. I try to remember to be grateful that I’m not sick whenever I feel discouraged about my workouts. Coming back after being sick takes a lot of patience and wisdom. Thanks for the tips 🙂

  3. LOL “we all know full well what happens to runners” – so true. My mom has told me stories of when I had the stomach flu when I was younger. I’ve always been a huger drinker (water). But when I would get the stomach flu, I couldn’t keep it in (but I would still want to drink). She said she used to have to set a timer and give me, 1 tablespoon at a time, flat 7up every 30 min, otherwise I couldn’t keep any liquid down. I was stubborn back then too!!

  4. Glad you are feeling better! I hate the aftermath when being sick. The lack of energy and sluggish feeling. I agree that you need to hydrate your body and take it easy when easing back into your workouts!

  5. Stomach bugs are the worse.
    I definitely agree that if you are already sick you have to rest for some time, and especially give your body time to recover.
    I’ve gone running when not feeling so well (like the beginning of an illness) but if I’m already actually sick there’s just no way.

  6. Sorry to hear you were poorly! I’m also a huuuge fan of listening to your body and taking it easy when necessary. Some people just blindly follow internet advice or go about their regular routine without asking their body what it’s feeling- I ask so much of mine I think it’d important to be considerate to it as well! I’m sure you’ll be back up to speed/distance in no time.

  7. I agree that when it’s a head cold, running can really help with congestion. I like to follow the “below the neck” rule. And yay for Vernor’s! We have it in Ohio too but most people outside the region have no idea what it is. They don’t know what they are missing. 🙂

  8. I just looked up Vernors Ginger Ale on the internet since you were saying how good it is. (And we don’t have it where I am from as far as I can tell.) But … it appears if one really wanted, they could get some via some of the more popular buying/selling sites. The shipping cost would like be huge … but if you gotta have it, then 🙂

    As for working out/running while under the weather … that’s definately a listen to your body things. And I like that tip about making sure to hydrate when you start up again.

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