Is running making me sick

I’m writing this as I hang out in bed, recovering from my second cold in two months. I’m not one to get sick, I’m healthy and strong, but so far this year, I’m fighting the battle.


Why? What’s different?

The only thing that I can come up with is the training program I’m following for an endurance race in August. I’ll be running 30 miles on the trails of Mt Bachelor.

For some of you, you think, so what?

For a beginner runner like me, it’s a big deal. One year ago, I wasn’t able to run because it hurt my knees. I grew up playing soccer, ran track, and many other sports. I ran a lot as a kid, well into my 20’s, then one day, the knee pain hit me hard, and I haven’t been able to run in over 30 years.


So why now?

Good question. I don’t know. I guess because I’m 55, I’ve always wanted to be a long-distance runner, and now seems like the perfect time.

Last year I signed up for the Ragnar Trail Run Rainier. Again, keep in mind, I wasn’t a runner, let alone an endurance runner, but this sounded like fun (crazy is more like it!).

I created a team of 8 runners; we competed in the masters (over 40), mixed (four males, four females) category, and each person had to run three legs – 3 miles, 5 miles, and 8 miles.

In the Ragnar Trail Series, each team runs relay style, running non-stop, which means one teammate is on the course at all times. You run overnight, and once the team has completed their milage, you have crossed the finish line.

Our team finished in 33 hours. I was on cloud nine; I can’t believe I ran 16 miles!


This year a few of us decided to do it again; however, we picked a new venue – Ragnar Trail Run Mt Bachelor. And, because it’s hard to find eight like-minded crazy runners, we decided to race as a four-person team.

A four-person team means each runner will run a total of 6 legs and 30 miles -because three legs and 16 miles wasn’t enough last year!


That’s the background story, so let’s fast forward to today.

Why have I been sick twice in two months?

Is running making me sick?

I don’t feel like I’m overtraining, it feels like my normal intensity and load, but maybe I am. Let’s take a look at the signs of overtraining.


Signs of Overtraining


  • Excessive Fatigue

Running has always been hard, so I thought fatigue was normal.

  • Elevated Resting Heart Rate

I’m good at watching my resting heart rate. It’s been fluctuating between high 40’s to low 50’s.

I know better and should have listened. A few beats off of your morning average is a sign something is wrong.

  • Restless Sleep

Ha, that’s a joke. I’m in the middle of menopause; of course, a good night’s sleep is challenging. However, most days, I don’t set the alarm and let my body rest as long as it needs to. Unfortunately, that wasn’t enough.

  • Loss of Appetite

Nutrition is a tough one; I’ve never been a big eater. With that said, I’ve lost 10 pounds in the past year, and it’s tough to put back on.

As a reference, I’m 55 years old, 5’5, and went from 125 to 115. In terms of endurance running, I’m not sure if that’s good or bad. I do know that carrying less body weight on the trails feels better on my joints.

  • Depression, Burnout, Stress

Nope, I’m fine here; I use exercise as medicine for these symptoms.

  • Battling Injuries

No injuries, thank goodness, but I put being sick in this category. Being sick 2x in two months is troubling; I believe my body is yelling at me that something is off. It’s time to slow down and pay attention.

I read that an upper respiratory tract infection is a sign of overtraining and that’s what I’m fighting right now….dang it! The cure is time, rest, and fluids.

  • Muscle Soreness

Nope, I’m good with cross-training, stretching, self-care, and hydration. My body feels good.

  • Decreased Performance on a Run

In regards to reduced running speed and endurance, it’s tough to say. As a new runner in this sport of endurance running, I don’t have much history to compare it to; I’m still in the building phase.

  • Increased Perceived Effort on a Run

Yes, I’ve had to walk more than usual due to overall fatigue and an elevation in perceived effort. Hello Renae, do you think that might have been a glaring sign?

  • Agitation, Moodiness, Trouble Concentrating

Not so much agitation and moodiness, but I do have trouble concentrating and remembering things. That’s funny; I’ve been blaming it on menopause!


What are the key take-aways here?


Find the fine line between training hard and overtraining. Overtraining is not your friend.

Your goal is to show up to your event feeling strong, healthy, prepared, excited, and pumped up!

To show up in the best version of YOU that you can be on that day.

In the next few months, as you train for your event, I challenge you:

  1. Take a moment to listen, is your body talking to you?
  2. Do you need to slow down and take time to recover?

I know I’ve learned my lesson. Moving forward, I will:

  1. Train smarter, not harder.
  2. Listen to the subtle voice of my body.
  3. Take time to rest and recover when needed.
  4. And, most importantly, I will find ‘the joy’ in the training process of this sport we so lovingly call endurance trail running.


If you enjoyed this post and would like to get started in trail running but don’t know how, please reach out. I’d love to help, support, and motivate you on starting your new adventure!

In health,


1 reply
  1. Jennifer Montgomery
    Jennifer Montgomery says:

    Very well put! And although I miss you terribly, I’m glad you’re staying put and learning to listen to your body. XOXO

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