This has been a very popular post, so I’m adding a little info as well as a link that many people will relate to. This is from the “Training Payne” blog, posted on November 1, 2009. He’s come down with the flu and is only 12 days out from the Clearwater Half-Ironman Championship Race. Frustrating, but true. Again, the formula is to rest, NOT try to train through the pain, and ride it out.
That pesky Swine flu is hitting hard in a lot of cities. The big question for runners is “how soon can I run after the flu?” Runners are notoriously impatient when it comes to illness, but this is a good time to listen to the messages your body is sending.
The Swine flue, aka H1N1, is a mild form of the flu for people who are relatively healthy. That being said, only YOU will know if your equilibrium is back to where it’s supposed to be. Is it hard to get out of bed and walk down the stairs? Then you probably shouldn’t try to get that interval workout in today. Are you still dizzy? Then stay home. You’re not doing yourself any favors by running.
Once you’re on the mend, how fast should you try to get back to your physical peak? Do you have a race coming up in a few weeks? Were you on a good training schedule before you got side-tracked? If you’ve been down for a few days and are not dizzy or nauseous, and your muscles are doing what you tell them, then go ahead and experiment with your training schedule. Instead of going long and doing a ten-miler, try a six-miler and see how that feels. If you’re feeling pretty good afterwards, then you can probably resume your training. If you need to take a three-hour nap and skip your kids’ soccer game, then you should to hang out on the sofa for another 36 hours before you try again.
As always, listen to your body. The flu is hitting people in various ways and only YOU will know how bad you got it. Case in point: I got the H1N1 flu (swine flu) about six weeks ago, and then got secondary infections that turned into bronchitis and a sinus infection. The secondary infections hit me harder than the flu did and took a lot longer to kick. It took me two weeks of running before I felt “normal”, and another two weeks before I was back to my usual pace and run intensities. I was glad I didn’t have a race scheduled because it would have been a token performance rather than an enjoyable experience.
Drink lots, sleep lots, and wash your hands, and listen to your body.