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

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Cross Training For Runners
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David Dack

Ever had one of those days when your running shoes look more like instruments of torture than tools for fitness? We’ve all been there, and trust me, you’re not alone.

The eternal debate of ‘Should I run today?’ is as common as a post-run stretch.

In this article, we’re diving into the art of knowing when to give your run a rain check.

After all, it’s not about skipping; it’s about making the right call to supercharge your running journey.

Are you ready? Let’s go.

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

“Alright, let’s tackle the big question: ‘Should I run when I’m feeling under the weather?’ I mean, who hasn’t Googled that at some point? Turns out, it’s a hot topic with over two million search results!

Here’s the lowdown:

If it’s just a mild cold, you can lace up those sneakers. In fact, some moderate exercise might even give your immune system a little boost. But, and it’s a big ‘but,’ if you’ve got a serious fever, it’s a hard pass on running.

Here’s the science behind it:

That fever? It’s like your body’s red alert, battling an intruder. Running when you’re running hot? Well, that’s like sending your troops into battle when they’re already exhausted. Not a great idea, right?

Plus, guess what? Overdoing it in your workouts without enough rest can actually make you more susceptible to catching a cold or the flu. Yikes!

Here’s the game plan:

Wait until your temperature has chilled out for a couple of days before hitting the pavement again.

Trust me, one run isn’t worth a week in bed. And if you do decide to run despite the fever, keep a close eye on staying hydrated and watch out for overheating.

After all, running with a fever isn’t the kind of ‘hot’ you want.

When To Skip A Run – 2. Shortness of Breath

Okay, folks, let’s talk about something serious: shortness of breath during your run. You know, when you’re huffing and puffing way earlier than usual, and it’s got you wondering what’s up?

Here’s the deal:

If you’re in good shape, doing your regular run, and suddenly feel like you’re gasping for air, it might be a red flag. We’re talking about a potential issue with your heart or lungs, like cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, or lung problems.

Here’s the game plan:

Now, I’m no doctor, but if you experience shortness of breath along with any of these buddies—trouble breathing when you’re lying flat, swollen ankles and feet, fever, blue fingertips or lips, wheezing, dizziness, or vomiting—it’s time to call in the pros.

There are various reasons for this breathlessness, and they range from asthma to anemia to a pesky pulmonary embolism. So, don’t ignore it, thinking it’s just a tough run day.

When To Skip A Run – 3. Muscle Pain

It’s pretty standard to feel a bit of muscle soreness after a good run. It’s like a badge of honor, right?

But here’s the scoop: not all muscle soreness is created equal.

Here’s the game plan:

If you’re dealing with a standard running-induced cramp, no biggie. Slow down, give that area a little massage, and then get back to your pace.

However, if your muscles are screaming at you to the point where even getting out of bed feels like an Olympic sport, it’s time to hit the brakes. Seriously, running with super sore muscles can mess with your range of motion and the way you move, which is a fast track to injury city.

When To Skip A Run – 4. Joints Pain

Muscle pains? Yeah, we runners know all about them. They’re like that familiar companion on our running journey. But let’s talk about something a bit more serious: joint pain.

Here’s the deal:

Joint pain during or after running is no joke. Ignoring it can lead to some major issues with your bones, ligaments, and tendons. One common culprit? Runner’s knee.

You’ll recognize it by that annoying dull ache under your kneecap. If you find yourself in this painful situation.

Here’s the game plan:

Step off the running track for a few days and give that poor limb a well-deserved break.

Consider changing up your running shoes – sometimes, the right pair can make all the difference.

Try running on a softer surface to ease the impact on those joints.

But here’s the deal-breaker: if the pain keeps knocking on your door, it’s time to invite a medical professional over. Trust me, it won’t magically disappear, and it might even get worse if you ignore it.

prevent running injuries

When To Skip A Run – 5. Chest Pain

Let’s talk about chest pain while you’re out on a run – it’s a big deal. Chest pain during your run could be a red flag for an underlying issue like coronary artery disease, and that’s something you don’t want to mess around with.

Here’s the deal:

When it comes to symptoms of a heart attack, here’s what to watch out for:

You might feel a sensation of pressure or a mild ache in your chest, arms, neck, or jaw.

Sweating, an intense headache, nausea, shortness of breath, dizziness, vomiting, and more chest pressure or pain – these can all be part of the package.

Here’s the game plan:

These symptoms might not necessarily bring your run to a screeching halt. But if you’re experiencing any of them, I’ll give it to you straight – stop running. And if you’re lucky, someone nearby might be able to help.

When To Skip A Run – 6. Faintness & Dizziness

Now, let’s talk about something many runners have experienced – that dizzy, lightheaded feeling during a run.

Here’s the deal:

Dizziness while running can hit you out of nowhere, and it’s important to know how to handle it.

Often, this sensation arises during or after a workout, and it can be due to factors like dehydration, low energy levels, or simply stopping abruptly.

Here’s the game plan:

Find a safe spot to rest, then lie down with your legs elevated. This helps boost blood flow to your brain and can prevent you from taking a tumble or injuring yourself.

Trust me, it’s not worth stubbornly pushing through when you’re at risk of hitting the ground.

Now, if the dizziness comes with excessive sweating, vomiting, breathlessness, or confusion, it’s time to stop messing around and seek medical attention. Your health is non-negotiable.

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

Now, let’s chat about running during pregnancy. It’s generally a great way to stay active and healthy while expecting, but there are some vital considerations.

Here’s the deal:

Firstly, running can be fantastic during pregnancy if your body is accustomed to that level of training intensity. It’s all about listening to your body.

Here’s the game plan:

It’s crucial to stop running immediately if you experience 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 existing medical issues like heart disease, asthma, or diabetes, it’s advisable to avoid running during pregnancy.

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

Injuries are a clear sign from your body that it’s time to hit the pause button on training.

Here’s the deal:

Continuing to push through pain or discomfort often leads to chronic injuries and permanent damage, and nobody wants that.

Here’s the game plan:

When you’re dealing with minor soreness, it’s beneficial to stay active as it can aid in recovery by increasing blood flow and speeding up the healing process. But remember, a full-blown injury is an entirely different ballgame.

Engaging in any form of exercise while nursing an injury can add undue stress to the affected tissue, hindering the healing process. During your recovery period, consider cross-training as a gentler alternative.

There are various activities you can explore to keep your body moving, such as taking a gentle yoga class, cycling, swimming, or even incorporating some weightlifting.

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 skipping a run.

Save that run for another day, and you’ll be 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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