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Cross Training For Runners

Should I Run Today? When to Skip a Run (& When You Shouldn’t)

5 Mins read

Looking for some guidance on when you should skip a run? Then you’re in the right place.

Arguing against running doesn’t happen often.

But there are days when skipping the interval workout or long run you have scheduled is a good idea.

In fact, if you’re asking yourself “should I run today?”, please know that it’s normal.

Overall, whatever you end up deciding, at least make sure you’re making an informed decision. The type of decision that helps your running goals – Not the other way around. Keep on reading for the full answer.

Should I Run Today? When to Skip a Run 

In today’s post, I’ll take a look at some of the conditions in which you shouldn’t go for a run.

When To Skip A Run – 1. You’re Feeling Sick

“Am I too sick to run” is one of the most common questions in this arena (seriously, it has over two million search results).

The answer depends on what ails you.

If you have a mild cold, it’s OK to run.

You might end up feeling better with moderate training as it helps improve your immunity.

However, if you’re coming down with a serious fever,  running is a definite no-no.

Here’s why.

Fever is a clear sign that your body is working hard to fend off a foreign invader and putting your body under more stress will only weaken your its defenses.

What’s more?

Your training might be the culprit behind your sickness.

Research has found that people who train too intensely without taking enough recovery time between hard workouts are prone to get colds or the flu.

Wait until your temperature has been normal for at least a couple of days before taking up running again.

Trust me when I stay one run isn’t worth another week of bed rest.

You’ll be better off in the long run.

If you choose to run anyway, pay attention to dehydration and overheating, as body fluids are lacking when you got a fever.

When To Skip A Run – 2. Shortness of Breath

If you’re suddenly panting for air within a few minutes into your run —even though you’re simply opting for your usual pace and are in a good shape, then something must be wrong.

In such a case, losing your breath while running could be a sign of a more serious underlying condition with your heart or lung, such as cardiovascular disease, lung problems, high blood pressure, etc.

Seek medical attention if your breathlessness is accompanied by:

  • Trouble breathing when lying flat
  • Swelling in your ankles and feet
  • High fever
  • Fingertips or lips turning blue
  • Wheezing
  • Dizziness and vomiting

Some of the common causes of shortness of breath can include

  • Heart attack
  • Asthma
  • Low blood pressure
  • Pneumonia
  • Upper airway obstruction
  • Anemia
  • Pulmonary embolism
  • Guillain-Barre syndrome
  • Myasthenia gravis

When To Skip A Run – 3. Muscle Pain

Muscle soreness is common among runners.

And it can take many forms.

If it’s a running-induced cramp, slow down your pace, massage the affected area, then slowly pick it up again.

You should skip your run if the muscle soreness is bad enough to make everyday movements difficult, such as getting out of bed, walking, or sitting down.

Not only is running with super sore muscles painful but can hinder your range of motion, altering the way you move (and run) thus increase injury risk.

Next time you run, remember to take it down a notch, especially if your muscles are super sore because overdid it on your previous run.

You don’t want your running routine to become a flash in the pan.

When To Skip A Run – 4. Joints Pain

Muscle pains are part and parcel of a runner’s life, but joint pain during or after running should never be dismissed.

Ignored, join pain can advance into more serious problems of the bones, ligaments, and tendons.

One of the most common conditions that manifests as knee joint pain is runners knee.

The pain usually manifests as a dull ache under the kneecap.

If it’s the case, take a few days off the running track and rest the affected limb until you can exercise pain-free.

Try also changing up your running shoes or moving onto a softer surface.

If the pain persists, seek medical help because it will only get worse.

For more on knee pain while running, check the following posts :

When To Skip A Run – 5. Chest Pain

Any chest pain while running is cause for concern as it may indicate an underlying issue such as coronary artery disease.

Symptoms of a heart attack usually consist of a feeling of pressure or a mild ache in the chest, arms, neck, and jaw.

This is especially the case when these signs are accompanied by:

  • Sweating
  • Intense headache
  • Nausea
  • Shortness of breath
  • Dizziness
  • vomiting
  • Pressure or pain in the chest.

And get this – These won’t necessarily stop you in your tracks.

If you’re experiencing any symptoms of a heart attack, stop running and hope that someone is nearby to help.

Should Skip Your Run

When To Skip A Run – 6. Faintness & Dizziness

Lightheadedness while running is another common issue among runners.

Most often, feeling a little like you might faint while running could happen during or after a workout because you either you’re dehydrated, energy deficient, or stopped running on the spot.

If you start to feel dizzy or lightheaded while running, find a place to rest, then lie down with your legs elevated to increase blood flow to your brain.

This should keep you from losing your balance, falling, or otherwise further hurting yourself.

It’s not worth running your face into the ground because you’re too stubborn.

If the dizziness is accompanied by profuse sweating, vomiting, breathlessness, and confusion—seek medical attention immediately.

When To Skip A Run – 7. When You’re Pregnant

Running, although high impact, does a growing fetus good, as long as your body is used to that level of training intensity.

That said, stop running at once if you’re suffering from any of the following symptoms.

  • Breathlessness
  • Dizziness
  • Chest pain
  • Feelings of tightness in your tummy
  • Vaginal bleeding
  • Heart palpitations
  • Hyperventilation
  • Blinding headache
  • Vomiting

What’s more?

If you already have medical issues such as heart disease, asthma, or diabetes, you should avoid running.

Running, and exercise, in general, is also harmful if you have any pregnancy-related ailments such as:

When To Skip A Run – 8. You’re Seriously Injured

This is one is pretty straightforward: if you’re injured, stop training.

Otherwise, you’re only setting yourself up for chronic injury and permanent damage.

(Here are eight signs you’re running too much.)

Sure, keeping active is good when you’re sore as it helps you recover by increasing blood flow, which speeds up healing.

However, a full-blown injury is entirely a different story.

Any extra movement puts a lot of stress on the tissue and keeps it from healing.

Cross train during the recovery period.

There are plenty of exercises you can do to keep your body moving.

Take a gentle yoga class, bike, swim, or even lift weights.

If any movement makes the pain worse, stick with rest.

That might be the only option you got.

Just make sure you don’t exacerbate your current condition.

Should I run today? – The Conclusion

In the end, every runner is different so it’ depends on your case and needs. If one of the conditioned mentioned above applies to you, you’re better off to skip a run for.

Save that run for another day and you’ll better off for the long run, no pun intended.

Please feel free to leave your comments and questions in the section below.

In the meantime, thank you for reading my post.

Keep Running Strong.

David D.

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