Great North Run training falters at week one!

Hi and welcome to my Great North Run 2013 training blog. I’m Alison Eaves, the principle chiropractor here at Revive Chiropractic in Leeds and will be sharing my experiences of training and preparation for the Great North Run in September 2013. From a chiropractor’s point of view it offers the chance to discuss loads of interesting topics surrounding injuries, running and training for an event like the Great North Run. So share my ups and downs and hopefully learn something along the way!

All my chat and enthusiasm about getting training underway for the Great North Run and I’m struggling already and it is only week one! I happily headed out for a pre-work run last Tuesday, not feeling full of energy and was puffing a bit. I thought the 3 mile run felt harder than usual but just put it down to being unfit. As the day progressed though, my nose started dripping continuously and the cold symptoms set in. Poor patients here at Revive Chiropractic (plenty of anti-viral hand wash for me!). What followed was 3-4 days of feeling tired and lousy so no more running for me and more lemsip chiropractor than running chiropractor.

So this seemed a good time to start a discussion about the effect of exercise on the immune system. What you find is that exercise can both benefit and harm the immune system depending on what sort of exercise you do, how long you exercise for and how often you exercise.

But isn’t running good for boosting the immune system?

There is quite good evidence out there now that moderate exercise helps to stimulate the immune system and those who participate in regular exercise are less susceptible to illnesses such as the common cold. Studies have found that during moderate exercise, immune cells circulate better through the body and are therefore faster at killing bacteria and viruses. Furthermore, the more frequently and regularly you exercise the longer these changes last following a training session.

Too much exercise and you will harm the immune system

If you exercise at very high intensity or for durations of longer than 90 minutes then be careful as it has been shown to lower the immune response. Cortisol and adrenaline levels increase during this sort of exercise as they are so-called “stress hormones”. Increased adrenaline and cortisol actually depress the immune system.

I can’t really blame my symptoms of the common cold on high intensity or long duration exercise but I think it probably accelerated the onset of my cold. Just be aware that if you started doing longer runs of 90 minutes or more then make sure you leave enough recovery time.

Thankfully I’m back to feeling fit and well so hopefully this week will bring better training results than a measly 3 miles registered in the training log.

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