This past weekend I ran a half marathon. For months I had been training to the best of my ability, pushing myself on long runs every weekend and racking up mileage throughout the week. Before any big race you're supposed to taper in the days leading up, allowing your body to rest and recover before the big performance. So, I followed directions and cut my mileage. But as the week went on and the race inched closer and closer, I could tell my immune system wasn't exactly thriving—and I promptly began to panic.
After the race came and went without a hitch, the realization that I wasn’t feeling my best became more difficult to ignore. With some research, I found that it was actually quite normal for your body to crash when you finally slowed down after bouts of intense activity. To further understand how my immune system was impacted by the half marathon and what I could do to prevent my decline the next time, I spoke with Michael J. Stephen, M.D., who explained the effects of a difficult workout on the body and why you may feel less than great after hitting a PR.