A blog by runners. For runners.

3 more allergy relief methods for runners


Yesterday’s run was absolutely gorgeous. The sun was shining and the temperatures were warm with steady breezes. There wasn’t a cloud in the sky – literally. My legs felt fantastic. My pace felt effortless. I rounded the street corner around mile 2 and felt a familiar trickle down my cheeks.

I was crying tears of joy.

No, wait. I was definitely feeling happy, but not nearly emotional enough to cry about it. These were allergy-induced tears. A quick sneezed confirmed it. Allergy season is hitting my area late this year. I thought I had escaped them this season. Instead, I need to get in the trenches and start the battle.

As we mention here and here, there are lots of things walkers, joggers, and runners can do to fight allergies on the run. For example, keeping an eye on pollen counts for any given day is a great first defense. Choosing the right time of day to run – along with watching for weather like wind – can also help tremendously. And when pollen is unavoidable, it’s smart to shower immediately upon returning home to wash away the allergens.

Beyond taking prescription or over-the-counter allergy medicines, there are a number of other things you can do that are inexpensive and even drug-free.

  1. Essential oils. I only recently learned about the impact essential oils can have on seasonal allergies. Anything from peppermint to lavender to eucalyptus and more can help tremendously when just breathed in or rolled on. Here’s so more specific information with instructions for use. I’m going to try this one personally and report back sometime soon.
  2. Saline nose spray. Much like taking a shower cleanses your whole body, a good saline (salt water) nose spray can cleanse your nose and sinuses. I buy a new bottle every year around this time and use it in the morning, afternoon and night. Since it’s drug-free, you can use it as often as needed. Anecdotally, I’ve noticed since I started this practice that I have lessened nasal symptoms and even avoid the repeat sinus infections that used to plague me.
  3. Run long. I was surprised to come across this “remedy” – but apparently researchers in Thailand have studied prolonged cardiovascular exercise and allergies. Their findings? “After allergy sufferers ran for 30 minutes, their sneezing, runny nose, and nasal itching and congestion all decreased by more than 70 percent.” It all works on the theory that exercise calms down inflammation in nasal passages. My run last night was only 34 minutes, so I’ll have to test this one out to see.

Written by  Ashley Marcin.