I was 10 weeks into a 25 week training programme running then got some sort of chest / sinus infection type thing which absolutely floored me. Haven't ran at all for 3 weeks now but had last antibiotic today and haven't been taking painkillers for a few days now. Been thinking I could probably take an easy run in the next day or two.
But what I'm wondering is how to slot back into my programme... I was running 5 days a week, 4 short runs (8-9km) and 1 long (25km), adding 10% each week then having a recovery week every 4 weeks.
My goal run is just a personal goal it's not time limited, so I don't mind adding X weeks to the end of the programme and pushing back my goal week.
I thought I might try and do an easy, gentle 5km to see how I feel, then build from there, maybe add more runs / mileage over 2 weeks, then try and just pick up exactly where I left off.... is this unreasonable???
Generally after an illness I'd say start gently, not as fast or as far as you were before, and preferably on a route that you can cut short if need be.
Listen to your body, and only start to return to your previous level after you've ensured that your body can cope with it. The last thing you really want to do is come back too hard and have a relapse. I always found - when running 70+ miles a week - that a slow 3 mile run on the first day back felt really grotty, and I'd have a good old cough when finishing it. I wouldn't go any further or faster until I could do it without feeling the effects of the previous cold/flu, and might also have a day or two off to continue recovering.
Definitely take a building back up approach - not only because you risk slowing your body's ability to fully recover from your infection if you overdo it, but also the risk of overloading your joints (now beginning to adapt to three weeks of no running) and causing an injury by suddenly returning to your top end distance / effort. I have experienced this, unfortunately (often the knee is in the firing line).
The good news is that, provided you are over your infection properly, you should be able to fairly quickly return to your previous level as your recent consistent period of training will have positioned the body well to quickly adapt. And whilst you are doing less volume, now is a good time to focus on mobility, stretching and addressing any areas of niggling joint or muscle soreness / imbalance. Depending on how that goes, you could easily find yourself in better overall condition in three weeks from now than you were in previously...
Everything that’s been offered here sounds really sensible. How you return to running after Illness is a personal thing. Whatever approach you take it’s better to underestimate your recovery status than vice versa. Good luck!
I'd say you're starting back right but allow a month to build back up to that original mileage, if you've been on antibiotics and painkillers your body might more need time to fully recover. As you state the only time pressures are your own, so there is no rush.
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