“Neither rain, nor snow, nor sniffle, nor fever shall keep me from my training schedule.” ~Runner’s World
So…I’ve been sick. Really sick. I don’t get sick very often but when I do, it knocks me out cold. And just when I was quietly rejoicing because I thought I was lucky enough to slide by without getting sick during marathon training…BAM…out for a week. How silly of my to think I was the exception to this terrible rule. Remember that not so peachy half that I told you I ran last weekend? Turns out that rain I was running in didn’t do much for the flu I was coming down with.
Not that there is ever a good time to be sick but with a busy week at work and a 20 miler scheduled for my long run, I was hesitant to take anything down a notch. Turns out I didn’t have a choice. Cough, aches, headache, stuffed up nose, and an upset stomach kept me out of work and in bed. I tried to go to work a couple times. Fail. I tried to do a hilly 5.96 course with the nasties Wednesday. Yet another utter and complete fail. I couldn’t breathe. With each gasp I felt like someone was throwing a brick on my chest. I know, I know, I’m stubborn which sometimes turns into borderline stupid.
You’d think I would’ve learned my lesson right? Wrong. Saturday night as me and the Boy (who came down with the cold as well) were laying low, I thought I was getting better but every time I would laugh I would be caught up in a coughing spell. The Boy cautiously asked, if I thought continuing to plan to run 20 miles Sunday was a good idea. Yeah, why not I told him. 20 mile run yesterday…Epic fail. I made it about 11-12 and felt like my lungs were drowning.
So maybe running wasn’t the best idea but honestly, I really needed a good run. I had a bad half marathon, my run during the week was a bust, and all I wanted was a killer long run to get me back on the right track. Running only 11-12 when you planned 20 isn’t the best mental boost. I was frustrated, disappointed and angry but I keep telling myself it has nothing to do with fitness, it’s being sick and I will be fine after I get better. Ugh.
Turns out what they tell you about running while you’re sick is right (and the Boy was right): use the neck rule. If the symptoms are above the neck like a runny or stuffy nose, you can continue to work out. If it’s below the neck i.e. chest cold, body aches etc., take time off. (Great Runner’s World article here)
So while I’m dialing back the intensity and trying to fully heal so I can get back to it, I’ve been researching food runners can eat to help battle the flu and give the good ole immune system a swift kick in the pants. The important thing I’ve learned and am trying to get better at is incorporating these food into everyday life instead of using them in an emergency 🙂 so here are the five I’m focusing on:
1. Chicken Noodle Soup– Mom was onto something. According to Runner’s World Hot List, studies actually show that chicken soup can decrease symptoms of the common cold as well as neutrophils, the white blood cell that is considered partially to blame for the dreaded flu. It is also said to have some mild anti-inflammatory properties, to help decrease the production of mucus production. I think I’ll be taking this to lunch more often this Spring.
2. Cherries– My grandma had the right idea when she drank cherry juice. In northern Michigan, where I’ve been lucky enough to go each summer, the roads are lined with cherry orchards and cherries are in salads, cookies, on cereal, everything. Turns out they’re great for athletes because they are full of antioxidants. Add them onto your cereal in the morning or that lunch salad.
3. Bell Peppers- bell peppers are full of essential immune boosting vitamin C so before you reach for the OJ give these a try. I love to slice up some yellow and red bell peppers and add them on top of some penne pasta, marinara and sliced italian sausage.
4. Carrots– Carrots are a great immune boosting snack because they have beta-carotene. In the body, this turns to vitamin A which aids the increase of T-cells and in turn boosts immunity. I’ve started bringing these for a snack during the day with some almonds which bonus, are also a great immune booster because of their high concentration of vitamin E.
5. Sweet Potatoes– I love sweet potatoes and luckily for me, like carrots, these babies are high in beta-carotene. I make sweet potato fries whenever I can as an after work snack or as a side dish. So good and super super simple.