Wheeze, sniff, atichoo…snot rocket. Just when the joy of putting winter running behind you arrives…so does the dreaded allergy season that can irritate even the happiest Spring runner.
A running nose, watery eyes and itchy skin can make for a terrible run any time, but during allergy season we often have all three at once combined with difficulty breathing!
What’s more is many runners find themselves in a slew of bad runs, but don’t realize that allergies are to blame! If you’re doing everything right with training and recovery, but suddenly feeling more fatigue and headaches it might be time to consider allergies.
A number of studies have shown that we can develop or lose allergies roughly every seven years because of the cycle our bodies go through eliminating and growing new cells.Here are a few tips to help you enjoy running outside with allergies:
The obvious first solution if you’re having a lot of symptoms is to try an over the counter solution like Allegra or Claritin. However, as I can attest, this alone may not be enough to make your runs great during the high pollen season. What it will do is mitigate symptoms, meaning less sneezing, snot rockets, coughing, itching and headaches while you run.
**NOTE: After trial and error, I’ve found it’s best to take medicine AFTER your run. Experience and studies I’ve found show it can hinder breathing during the workout.
A long time home remedy for helping with a sore throat, a teaspoon of LOCAL honey is also great for curbing allergy symptoms. Consider it your pre-run gel or combine it with your PB and bread before heading out the door.
Foods that decrease inflammation can help reduce allergic reactions! A few great options: apples, broccoli, kale, citrus fruits, spinach, turmeric, garlic, chia and avocado .
Not only does a hat keep particles out of your eyes, but also from catching in your hair. Hair gels and sprays act like a magnet holding on to pollen from the air, which means even after you return inside the allergens are with you.
If you have neighbors, you might wait til you hit the bathroom . Otherwise, start making a habit of removing shoes and stripping off layers immediately when coming in from a run. It’s easy to spread allergens throughout the house via shoes or clothing as you sit on any surface.
Shower before bed
Be sure to shower before changing or ever laying down at night. The goal is both to clear off your skin and to ensure you don’t transfer any allergens to your pillow, which will ensure you wake up looking more dog tired than bright eyed and bushy tailed.
I’ve harped on wearing athletic sunglasses for UV protection and to keep your face relaxed (result less energy expended), but during allergy season they have the added benefit of keeping all the flying debris in the air out of your eyes.
For consistently itchy eyes, use eye drops before you head out and as soon as you get home to keep them washed out and moisturized.
I know these might seem like a total fad, but I think there’s something to it, hence my recent purchase of a diffuser and increased stock of a variety of oils. According to studies the most beneficial are: lavender, peppermint, eucalyptus, chamomile and lemon. You could dab some on your wrist or just below your nose before running for a heavy effect or use the diffuser throughout the day.
This one might surprise some folks, but I’ve definitely seen it work for myself and others!
Here’s a little science to say why
“The strength of both the immune and respiratory systems depends largely on proper communication between the brain and spinal cord to control and coordinate their functions properly….adjustments may also help regulate the rush of histamine and amount of cortisol produced during high allergy season.“
In other words, when you are out of alignment, which happens due to the pounding of running and our sitting culture, your body has to work harder to keep your immune system working.
Are you a mouth breather when you run? Allergy season is your chance to get better at breathing! In through the nose, out through the mouth is optimal because it allows the nose to filter the air.
A light layer of lotion may cause you to sweat more, but provides a light barrier. As your warm sweaty skin mixes with allergens that results in the painful itch that can sideline you mid-run.
Running right after or even during a rain shower means cleaner air! The dust, pollen and ragweed. is knocked down and can make for easier breathing. It could also help to find out what time of day your allergen is highest and if possible adjust your runs.
Give the lungs time to open up and adjust by stopping after the first 1/2-1 mile to walk or stretch, then you should be able to continue the run much more comfortably.
If all else fails, it’s time to embrace the technology age and jump on the treadmill! Here are my top tips for surviving long runs on the treadmill.
Can you do a snot rocket?! (I fail miserably)
Do allergies disrupt your running?
Other ways to connect with Amanda