A common question I get from my running clients lately is, "Can I run after getting the Covid vaccine?"
It’s a good question, considering you probably put in a lot of time and effort into logging your miles and following your training plan. And, though the vaccine is protective against Covid-19, it can come with side effects ranging from a sore arm to flu-like symptoms.
The CDC lists some common side effects as redness, pain and swelling at the site of injection on your arm, as well as muscle ache, chills, headache, even fever or nausea. The symptoms tend to last a day or two and are more mild than getting the Coronavirus itself.
So, first of all, you cannot technically make yourself sicker by running after the Covid vaccine.
Since you are not infected by the live virus with the vaccine, it is not like a typical case of the flu, in which you want to rest to give your body a chance to heal.
That being said, your body is adjusting to the vaccine and the immune system needs time to adapt. If you are feeling run down, tired, or having other symptoms, it can be best to listen to your body and take a rest day or two if you feel the need.
You may be paranoid about missing a day of your scheduled training, especially if they have big race on the horizon.
That’s a fair point, but remember you don’t have to be 100% perfect in your training to have a great end result, as long as you are usually consistent. It can take up to ten days of no training at all to affect your fitness, and if you’ve been training at all too hard, the rest may even do your body good.
Others have reported symptoms of feeling dehydrated, which could affect your body’s ability to perform the workout well. And, being overly fatigued can leave you open to injury due to loss of coordination (and no one wants a sprained ankle…) and pushing too hard on the day.
Having a headache can cause your mental focus to be off, as well as the pounding of running on the pavement not helping. Nausea is never desired on the run.
If you have any symptoms that you are allergic to the shot, such as hives, swelling or wheezing, or you notice yourself getting short of breath when you normally wouldn’t in your run, call your doctor.
You can also plan to get the shot with your running schedule in mind. Hope for the best but plan for the worst – you can schedule it for a recovery day or easier workout day, “just in case.”
As for the possible pain in your arm, the shot is a muscle-based vaccine, so if you are up to it, exercising and using your arm can make the pain go away faster.
So, I encourage you to go by how you feel on the day. It’s a good thing for you to tune in, be mindful, and listen to your body before starting any workout.