Can you literally run yourself sick?

Last week I completed my longest run so far; an 8 mile morning run. After that run I was so jacked up. After all, I only set out for a 5 miler, but my legs felt great, my endurance felt strong, and my attitude was ultra positive.

But as my day moved along I started having stomach issues and felt a bit flu-ish. I worked the full day, but for the next day and a half, I was really sidelined.

After my wife suggested that maybe I got sick from overdoing it on my run, I asked myself, “can you literally run yourself sick?”  After a little research, it turns out that you can literally run yourself sick. Apparently after a period of over exertion, your immune system is severely suppressed, leaving you at a high risk of catching an illness. I don’t know if this is 100% what happened to me, but it sure seams to fit.

The real downside is that I have a 10k in less than a week. I was so motivated by my long run that I really wanted to continue to push myself to train hard. But, that bout of the “flu” really left me weak and dehydrated. I know taking care of my health is most important, but my sickness and recovery chewed up about 5 days of valuable training time.

As of tonight I’m feeling pretty good, so tomorrow I am going to get out there and get a run in. I’m going to try and do a quick 3.1 miles as a gauge of my body’s readiness. With only 6 days until my 10k I can’t afford to waste anymore than time! One other drawback tomorrow is that it’s going to be cold an rainy. Not exactly ideal weather to run in after you were sick.

One other side note is that I’ve got my 6 hour “ultramararhon” in 5 weeks. So I am going to be pushing myself to that 8 mile mark or longer a lot. My only hope is that my body will quickly adapt to running those long distances without getting sick. I suppose we’ll see.

I’m not sure if anyone else has experienced getting sick after a longer than usual run. But some of my research suggested eating a large number of carbs after your run to help your immune system bounce back.

Be safe out there and listen to your body.

~ Jay Cunningham
Jogger’s Journey