Pain, fever, and weakness. Sickness or a cold is an unpleasant obstacle in personal and running life. How do you get back on track safely and responsibly after? We''ve got 5 essential questions to answer before you put on your running shoes.
1) How serious was your illness?
It is very important to know how serious the illness is because there are some of them that put only a slight strain on the body, others more so. In general, we can put them into two types of burden:
- Mild body burden: This includes, for example, coughing or breathing problems, without fever. In this case, it is enough to limit the intensity and not overdo the first few trainings. Start with walking and gradually increase the intensity according to how the body reacts to them and fluently move to full load.
- High body burden: Illnesses with fever, viruses or colds can make the body much more fatigued. Even if you are already feeling well, you have to think about your organs, which don't communicate their condition so easily. It's good to rest for a week after an illness and only then move on to a gradual return to training. In case of higher temperatures, you should approach the return even more carefully. When you are feeling well, start by walking for a week at first, listening to your body, especially how fast your heart rate increases and if you are short of breath. Start training when these two things are at "your normal". And again we repeat - slowly and gradually! If you have been sent to bed by your doctor, be sure to consult him/her about returning to training.
2) What medication did you take?
A question related to the previous one. The medicine you take has a major effect on the human body - in addition to the disease, it has to "fight" with drugs it is not used to. If it is antibiotics and similar aggressive drugs, do not count on a quick return to the load, unfortunately. Three to six weeks is the shortest time for starting physical activity. Only then you can slowly start training. What such drugs do to your heart or liver, for example, is not apparent at first sight. If you overdo it, you risk irreversible damage to your body. Even in terms of medication, consult your plan to return to running with a doctor.
3) What caused your sickness?
This question is difficult to answer. Is there an activity in your lifestyle that regularly makes you ill? Try to think about that. Often you don't even realise it because you do some things automatically and no illness occurs. But then comes the frosty weather, stress from work, or the fatigue of a long journey - pretty common things that can make you ill under certain conditions. Try to spot these subtle causes and think about how to mitigate their impact. For example, you could skip a race, take a walk instead of training, or take time for yourself and relax. By taking these small precautions, you can prevent long-term illness in the future.
4) How long did your illness last?
If you are off for two days, the body will return to full strength very quickly. But if the period of illness climbs into the weeks, the return will take longer. The body has weakened, and the intense strain would put you back to bed over again. Give yourself time and space for a full recovery and don't rush anything. Running shoes aren't going anywhere, we promise.
5) How does your body react after an illness?
Every person is different, has different abilities, and reacts differently to stress, strain, and also illness. You will definitely recognize yourself in these situations and if you know you need more time to get started, don't let your friends talk you into running hills a week after your illness. It wouldn't be good for your body, but a risk of reverting to a resting mode again.
General advice on coping with illness
- Always, and not only after illness, try to feel and listen to your body. Watch your heart rate, and your breathing, and notice how you feel throughout the day. If you know what is the "normal" expression of your body, you can more easily detect the beginnings of illness.
- Don't try to go into full training as soon as your fever drops. Give yourself time and space to fully recover and regenerate. Your body will return the care.
- If you have been taking medication, consult it with your doctor. Accept his/her advice and recommendations to avoid further health complications.
- We know it is challenging, but try to approach the disease in a positive way. Slow down, relax, read that book you have in your drawer, or watch that movie you don't normally have time for. You will enjoy many running kilometers after recovery!