Couch to 5K
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Can running cause or worsen colds?

Twice recently I have come down with cold symptoms after a longer or harder than usual run. I've barely got over the one I had a couple of week ago, now I seem to have another one. Yesterday I hammered the Stamina" podcast and had a sore throat with a few hours....I got one within 5 hours of doing my 10K two weeks ago, you'd have thought I wouldn't have been able to do that if I was incubating a cold. I normally get very few colds, this winter I've had three...Is it possible that extra exercise could leave body a little bit low and let a cold I would normally fight off get its foot in the door? Or is it just coincidence?

Any suggestions?

6 Replies

Yes, it can happen! It is that time of the year too after all


My experience has been quite the reverse. Up until starting running in September I seemed to get bad colds all the time that made me feel grotty. Since taking up running I've continued to catch all of the colds that have arrived at work, but have been hardly affected by any of them, just the odd sniffle and sneeze, and no sore throat.

I've found that in the past with regular exercise too, when I did indoor rowing every day I was hardly effected by colds, and when I stopped I started getting nasty colds.


My mum always reckoned that she came down with more lurgies when she did keep fit classes many moons ago and that exercise lowers your resistance. It could just be that your body doesn't like the extremes of temperature that it experiences during winter runs. There's quite a bit of evidence that when you get chilled, you're more susceptible to cold viruses, so maybe it could just be that. Perhaps you could do with some extra vitamins to help you fight off the colds and sore throats.

1 like

Running too much or over-training can definitely weaken your immune system. I learned that the hard way, but there's a lot of research on it which you can google. If it were me I'd take some regular vitamin supplements and back off the hard training for a little while.


Yes you can after a heavy training session, but I know a couple of people this year that have a particularlly nasty strain and it keeps coming back after a couple of weeks to bite them again. I know it the same one becuase we took it up at Christmas to my dads, a freind of mine came with us and they are both having a terrible time shaking it completely free. Inbetween they feel fine then back it comes. Hope you feel better soon.


That sounds about right, I haven't felt truly better yet...I haven't felt bad exactly, Baldy was knocked for six by the same cold, sat in a chair like a zombie..


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