Socks and OJ

December 25, 2012

Caveat #1: I am not a doctor. I have no medical training. I just have experience, and even that is limited. With that in mind, please take my advice as truth and accept it without question.

Every time the cold weather comes around we all experience that same ominous feeling. You roll out of bed in the morning and try to clear your throat. Your heart sinks as you feel that lump making it hard to swallow. You know that some sort of sickness is imminent, but is it inevitable? Is there a way to stop it? The anxiety is always compounded if you are signed up to run a winter race or if you are just trying to maintain your shape through all those holiday meals and baked goods in the office.

While most of what follows may be something you have heard before, it is still important to think about. These basic principles have worked for me and plenty of skeptical friends over and over. There have been no FDA clinical trials in my house, but please remember this post any time you feel like you might be getting sick.


My first guiding principle is to just stay warm. This is the time to abide by all of the cold weather advice you ignored from your parents when you were younger. If you go outside, make sure to wear gloves, a hat, and a warm enough jacket. Since the long-held belief that we lose most of our body heat through our head was debunked, make sure to cover up all over. I know, this is all pretty obvious. It may be for some, it may not be for others.

Now to my big secret: wear socks. As long as you are in lumpy throat defense mode, they should be on all the time. For me, there is little I hate more than sleeping in socks. So if I get into bed with my feet covered, it is a clear sign I am not messing around with germs. No need to overheat, just do not let the cold temperature further compromise your immune system.


After you have your body wrapped in sufficient layers, you also need to start attacking the virus, or whatever it is. For that, I say lots and lots of vitamin C. Since your body is already losing the battle, you will need regular amounts to replenish supplies, plus tons more to beat out the sickness. If I wake up feeling sick, it’s tough to eat anyway. In that case, my entire breakfast will consist of orange juice. So will lunch, if I feel like I need it. Really just as much OJ as I can handle, which helps fight the cold and soothe the throat.

If that is not enough, which it may not be, I will also add Airborne Effervescence or Emergen-C to the water that I drink throughout the day. It helps me stay hydrated and on the offensive. You can also try taking an echinacea pill, an herb (also found in Airborne) that can help treat colds.

Finally, while doing all of that, always stay irrationally optimistic. Tell yourself there is nothing to worry about and your body will hopefully follow suit. Being sick is no fun. As a runner, low grade sickness is a real pain in the rear because my desire to go out—in the cold—for some exercise will often supersede my common sense. That is why I have developed this surefire way to beat any winter illness.

Caveat #2: If something more serious is wrong with you, please seek medical attention from somewhere other than a running blog. Preferably, a doctor.



  1. I hope you’re not sued for dispensing medical advice without a diploma inspite of the disclaimers. I don’t do anything you suggest: wear a hat or gloves, drink a lot of OJ or water with vitamin C. Whatever I do works for me, right?

    • I hope I am not sued either! If your method works for you, I say go for it. This is meant as a suggestion if you are looking for a new method, or just wanted a good laugh at one of my quirks. Either way, thanks for reading and commenting- stay healthy!!

  2. I totally agree with your cold weather remedies! I even take an Airborne after a cold run as a preventative step. And boy, was it cold today- 31 degrees!

    • Definitely can’t hurt- make sure to dress properly on those runs too!

  3. Vitamin C is a huge part of my winter health regimen as an elementary teacher. I also reap the health benefits and ward off colds/flu with TONS of fresh chopped garlic cloves over scrambled eggs. Echinacea, grated ginger and Black elderberry extract are my other favorites! I love the power of healing colds/flu with Black elderberry extract! I don’t blog often, but have written about organic health in the past:)

    • Thanks, Kara! Being a teacher (first off, awesome) definitely presents that winter cold/flu challenge in a special way. You have some very well thought out prevention measures and remedies here. Thank you for the comment and your tips, I will definitely put them on my list!

  4. I drink Airborne like it’s going out of style! I teach elementary school and need extra help to fight colds!!!

    • Created by teachers, right?! Clearly, they have a great market with their own, with us outdoor athletes, and I would guess medical professionals too who work near sick people all the time!

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