Running Through Allergies

It hasn’t felt like it the past few days, but believe it or not, spring is here.  With the change from winter to spring, many people begin to suffer from seasonal allergies.  If you’re a runner, like me, you know that allergies can ruin the best intentions for running.  You may not even suffer right now, depending on what you’re allergic to. For some reason, my allergies are the worst from August to September.
Running is considered “high exposure” in regards to pollen count. Because running increases the respiratory rate, more airborne pollens strike the face and are inhaled into the lungs.  I’ve seen it suggested that running in the early morning hours is best because that’s when the pollen counts are at their lowest. The truth is it all depends on where you live.  Plants release pollen early in the morning and the air carries it away throughout the day. So if you live in a pretty rural area, with lots of trees and fields, the pollen count will most likely be highest between 5am and 10am. If you live in an urban area, the pollen count will probably peak around noon. The weather affects the pollen count too. It is usually higher on warm, breezy, dry days and lower on rainy, cooler days.
-Check the pollen count before your run. You can go to to see the count for the area in which you live.
-Wear sunglasses. This will help keep irritants out of your eyes.
-If you can, choose routes that avoid trees, grass and flowers on the days with the highest pollen count. Run on asphalt instead of grass. If it’s extremely high, run indoors on a treadmill.
-The worst symptoms may occur post-run. This is due to the extra adrenaline released while running that dampens the allergic response.
-Immediately after your run, take a shower, wash your hair and wash your clothes.
The ability to avoid all plant life is not very realistic, especially for outdoor runners.  Hopefully, these tips will help you get outdoors and have an enjoyable spring running season, with or without the pollen.

Written by Genie Bianchi

No comments:

Post a Comment