Wheeze, sniff, atichoo…snot rocket. Just when the joy of putting winter 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 of the year, but during allergy season we often have all three at once combined with difficulty breathing! Turns out the harsh winter, will make levels of pollen and ragweed even higher this year.
Here are a few tips to help you enjoy your training with less suffering:
Medicine: The obvious first solution if you are having a lot of allergy 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.)
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 peanut butter and bread before heading out the door.
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 .
Hat: Not only does a hat can 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.
Disrobe: If you have neighbors, you might wait until 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.
This story first appeared on runtothefinish.com.