Wednesday, 3 June 2015

"I've got a cold" says New Runner

Healthy food is always important
A new runner I have coached and continued encouraging is fantastic with keeping myself and a few others up to date with his new found fitness.  He uses Facebook to feed us almost daily updates, covering the highs and lows of becoming fit.  I love getting this news as I can see myself there when I became a runner myself.

The latest Facebook message stated "Not feeling like a runner at the moment! Have come down with a cold?! Plus stiff and ache from yesterday's running."

My response?

It happens.  Being a runner does not make you immune from illness and we remain every much a human being.  However, I think there are some changes which can take place and I say this in the most general of ways as clearly it won't apply to everyone.  When we gain fitness, through running or a number of other sports, our general health can improve in a number of different ways.  This includes immunity and resistance to colds, viruses etc.  

This will only take place if a new runner combines increased fitness with making sure other parts of his life are going well.  This includes having a healthy diet (a huge subject on its own), having sufficient rest and sleep together with some other points.

However, doing too much running will not improve general health, in fact the opposite can be true.  If we push ourselves too hard and demand too much from our bodies on a day to day basis, well our immunity can drop.  In fact it can drop dramatically if too many miles are run without sufficient rest.  

Being stiff is a sure sign of having run too far the previous day.  Now it might not be a big deal, depending on how far etc. and it is a sure sign the body is repairing itself and becoming stronger. Nevertheless too far is too far.  It is best to increase the mileage of a long run gradually, perhaps by a mile or two each week and supplement this by shorter runs in between.  Generally the long run is done once a week.

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