top of page

How to Run with a Cold and Is It Safe: Tips for Managing Your Symptoms

When you get ill it is important to rest and recover properly but, some illnesses are mild enough where a run might be ok.

If you have a slight cold, it is usually ok to go for a run but, if you have high symptoms, it is best to take a break heal. If you do decide to continue to run while ill, slow down and don't push yourself too hard. Drink enough water and dress for the weather. You can try using nasal sprays or decongestants to help you breathe better but, ask your doctor first. Don't run in areas with lots of pollution, as this can make your symptoms worse. Start off slow and keep an eye on how you feel even after you have gotten back into your routine.

Runner with a cold / illness

Let’s check out how you can run with a cold safely and provide you with tips for managing your symptoms.

Understanding the Common Cold

The common cold is a viral infection that affects your nose and throat. It can spread through the air or by touching contaminated surfaces. Symptoms of a cold include a runny or stuffy nose, sore throat, cough, fever, and body aches. A cold can last from a few days to two weeks.

Can You Run with a Cold?

Whether or not you should go running with a cold depends on the severity of your symptoms. If you have a mild cold, it is generally safe to continue running. If you have symptoms such as a fever, body aches, or a severe cough, it is usually best to rest. Running with a fever or severe symptoms can put stress on your body and make your illness worse.

When deciding whether to run with a cold you should use your own judgment and check with a doctor if need be.

Tips for Running with a Cold

If you decide it is safe enough for you to run with a cold, here are some tips to help manage your symptoms.

Adjust Your Running Routine

When you have a cold, it is very important to adjust your running routine to accommodate your symptoms. When you are ill your body will use its energy to fight the illness. This means you may not be able to perform as well as you usually do and have to adjust your running routine to stay safe and prevent worsening your symptoms.

This may mean slowing down your pace or reducing your mileage. When recovering from an illness you should listen to your body and not push yourself too hard.

Stay Hydrated

A cold can dehydrate you so drinking enough water throughout your day and during your run is more important than ever when you have a cold.

Dress Appropriately

Make sure to dress appropriately for the weather conditions. If it is cold outside, wear warm clothing to prevent further irritation of your symptoms.

Use Nasal Sprays or Decongestants

Getting enough oxygen is really important for you to run safely. A cold can reduce the amount of oxygen you take in so using nasal sprays or decongestants may help relieve congestion and improve breathing during your run. However, make sure to check it is safe for you before using any over the counter medicine.

Avoid Running in Polluted Areas

Running in polluted areas can worsen your symptoms. If possible, choose a route with clean air and fewer pollutants. If you cannot do this, you can run on a treadmill or consider alternative indoor exercises.

When to Return to Running After a Cold

If decide it is best for you to give running a rest, when should you start running again. Here are some tips to help you decide when it is safe to resume your running routine.

Listen to Your Body

Listening to your body is the most important factor when deciding to return running. If you still have symptoms such as a fever, cough, or body aches, it is best to wait until they have gone away before resuming your running routine.

Wait Until You Feel 100%

It is very important to wait until you feel 100% before returning to running after a cold. Running when you are not fully recovered can put additional stress on your body and potentially make your illness worse.

Start Slowly

When you are ready to return to running it can be tempting to push yourself to catch up with time you lost recovering. It is important to start slowly. Your body may still be recovering, so it is essential to ease back into your routine to avoid injury and prevent symptoms of your cold returning.

Consider Your Overall Health

If you have a condition such as asthma or heart disease, it is best to check with your doctor before returning to running after a cold. Your doctor can provide support on when it is safe to resume your exercise routine and how to adjust your running routine to best suit your condition.

Pay Attention to Your Symptoms

Even after you have resumed your running routine, it is best to pay attention to your symptoms. If you experience any unusual symptoms such as shortness of breath or chest pain, stop running and rest. If the symptoms do not improve get medical attention.


If you have a cold, knowing when it is safe for you to start running again is important. By following these tips, you may be able to continue running while managing your symptoms. However, remember to listen to your body and rest if your symptoms worsen.

bottom of page