Should you train when you’re sick?

April 1, 2013 on 1:24 pm | In Training | No Comments

This is a guest post by coach Dani Bahnsen brought to you by

It’s that time of year when there’s something in the air, and it’s not exactly spring.  There’s a bug that’s been going around.  How do you know when you should push through it and when should you stay home?

Today I have had the rare opportunity of staying home and working on my computer. It’s been a day of doing things I’ve been trying to get to but haven’t had the time. Really, I was forced to stay home because I’m sick.  Yesterday I felt great and had a fabulous high intensity interval workout in the morning. After that I swam, trained clients and then ran errands. It was just another typical day for me. I am proud to say that I am strict with my clients about taking care of themselves – staying hydrated, fueling properly and taking time for recovery.  I do my best to practice what I preach.  No one wants to feel run down and if we don’t look out for number one, we won’t be at our best. We also won’t be able to get the most out of our training or perform at our optimum level.

One of the many great things about exercise is that it boosts immunity. As a coach, I have noticed that my athletes are rarely sick compared to my friends who are not as athletic. Exercising while you have the sniffles can speed up recovery. However, it’s not always the best thing to do if you’ve got something more than the common cold.  Exercising with a viral infection can increase your likelihood of suffering from dehydration and heat stroke.  There’s also a chance that even worse could happen.  As you exercise, your blood is continuously being pumped through your heart.  According to experts, if you have a virus, it might concentrate in your heart muscle, leading to a condition called myocarditis.

I’ll admit, I usually try to be ‘tough’ and push through it when I have a cold or I’m not feeling quite right. However, feeling like this, there’s no way I could go for a run today; I have a fever, a red face, and my head is pounding.  There are times when we really need to just stay home, rest and eat chicken soup…and drink a Fluid Recovery Drink. As we all know, this works great for post workout recovery as well as recovering when you’re sick.  For my party-going friends, Fluid has also been known to be a great cure for occasional hang-over.

Here is a simple rule that I like to follow: Don’t shy away from your regular training if you have the sniffles, feel a little tired, or even have a touch of a scratchy throat.  Do stay home and rest when you feel the following symptoms:


Achy muscles

Chest congestion

G.I. issues

So, if you have a little cold, I would suggest taking it easier on the workout, but there is no need to skip training altogether. If you have something more serious and you do have to skip training, you should get back up to speed gradually. Listen to your body and pay extra attention to your nutrition.  After a week of being symptom free you should be back to giving your training the 100% that it deserves.

While I am busy beating this cold you can learn more about me and my coaching service at You can also find me listed in the “Find a Coach” section of

Dani Bahnsen – Natural Running Coach and Personal Trainer

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