Running with Allergies

By Elle Williams

Hey guys! Here are some tips for running with allergies!

1. Pollen counts are usually highest in the morning between 5 and 10 a.m., and then again at dusk. If you usually run during these times and are having allergy flare-ups, see if you can switch up your schedule and try for a lunch hour or after-work session instead.

2. Weather also plays a big part in allergies, and if you live in an unstable climate, you know planning your week by the forecast isn't always doable. Avoid going out on dry, warm and windy days - all of which can aggravate allergies. Conversely, wet weather cleanses air of pollen so if you don't have mold allergies, try running just after rain or during humid weather.

3. Usually the best time to take allergy medications is prophylactically, before you go out. If you are prescribed or instructed to take a regular medication for your allergies, make sure you are compliant with instructions. On the other hand, if you usually take an antihistamine only when symptoms flare up, try taking it 2 to 3 hours before you go outside. If you have allergic asthma and have an inhaler, use it about 15 minutes before you hit the pavement. Allergies and asthma are closely related, so you may want to take your asthma inhaler with you on your runs during allergy season.

4. If your only option is to run during high-pollen times, there are additional measures you can take. If you're up for it, wear a mask or bandanna over your nose and mouth to keep particulates out while you run - this is also helpful if pollution bothers you, so consider it on heavy smog days as well. When you've finished your run, use a saline nasal spray or salt water to remove pollen from your nose and nasal cavities.

5. Disrobe: 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.

6. Hat: 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.

7. Proper Breathing: 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.

8. Rain: 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.

9. Honey: 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.

10. Foods: Foods that decrease inflammation can help reduce allergic reactions! A few great options: apples, broccoli, kale, citrus fruits, spinach, turmeric, garlic, chia and avocado. 

11. 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.

12. Sunglasses: 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.


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