Running After Covid
If you read my previous post HERE.
You know I had COVID. I am healthy female in my late 20’s who has ran for the past 6 years. I should fall into the “I’ll be alright” category. But that doesn’t stop me from worrying. What will my journey back to running look like? Will I have stamina? Be able to even run? What will my capacity be? Not even bringing in the worries about my non-running life.
Like to many others, I have no idea what those answers will be. I am hopeful that I’ll be back up to full speed in no time but am also being realistic that it may not be my reality. To keep my mind busy in quarantine I’ve thought a lot about what my plan to return will look like. I went through a big roller coaster of emotion. This year was supposed to be my strength year. I plan to run a marathon in December, I am hoping to hit the 4-hr. mark, and I wanted to be strong and fit going into it.
The old Yiddish adage is “We plan, God laughs”. I say “We plan, our running laughs.” While running owes us nothing we still try to plan everything. Life throws us curveballs to keep us humble and our running doesn’t go as planned to keep us motivated. I guess if everything went as planned, we wouldn't have anything to fight for.
Since I’m writing this is the thick of going through COVID, I don’t have the insight yet to know what the recovery portion is going to look like. I worry about my overall health and realize that me being able to run isn’t the most important thing in the world but with it being such a big part of my life I can’t help but add it to the list of worries on my mind. My lungs, my heart and overall fitness will need time to heal and get back into normal routine. I know it’s not going to be easy, but to keep it manageable I’ve been putting my coaching hat on and thinking a lot about what I would tell my athlete with these concerns.
For me having been a postpartum runner at one point I’m trying to approach a lot of the basics the same. I can’t just go out and start where I left off. The same can be applied to a runner coming back from an injury. Running can’t be the primary source of the comeback. Cross training, strength training and brisk walking need to be the foundation. I need to build my endurance and strength before I can really worry about the running portion.
Re-entering the World
1. Getting out of quarantine and just focusing on every day activities:
This may seem super basic but so far in my experience my stamina for just cleaning up has been HARD. With the virus it affects everyone differently so I feel this is a safe step for all
2. Going for a regular walk
Mine will probably be with a stroller because #momlife but just walking around the block for a longer period of time will give me some resistance and focused movement vs laundry, regular cleaning, etc.
3. Adding in cross training:
I had bought a bike trainer a few months ago that is situated in my garage for ease. I’m happy to be able to use that for short spurts to work my legs back into running mode. It’s low impact, I can get my heart rate up and don’t have to worry about bobbing and weaving from strangers (or dogs). It’s controlled and I can stop at any point when need be, without worrying how far I have until home.
4. Aqua Jogging:
Ok, hear me out. I know with this you immediately think of a retirement home with a bunch of old people in swim caps jazzercizing but it’s not like that!!! I’m considering getting a belt to properly aqua jog so that I can get back into the motion without the impact. I’m luck enough to live in a warm area and have a pool so I might as well use it! Also, I can again stop at any time and not have to worry about being far from home and needing to be picked up.
Introduction Running Again:
I am going to stress this as much as possible: RUN LOOPS!!!
I only plan on running loops vs a full route because in case you haven’t caught on to the gist of this whole article stamina is going to suffer and you don’t want to be stuck on a 5-mile route with no fast way to get home. Pick at max a mile loop, this way l can add an extra loop depending on what you feel.
Bonus points: If you have someone to run with you or bike with you take advantage of it! The buddy system will be your friend.
Do not be a hero with your pace or mileage. Consider yourself a beginner until you can determine otherwise. You push too hard and it never ends well. Especially with what has been shown with the virus it’s unpredictable. Make it a point to run down a street, if that feels good go to a mailbox that’s a few yards away, if you feel tired take a walk break.
Need more structure? Try running for a min, walk for a min, repeat as it feels good. You’d rather leave yourself feeling like you could have done more than not enough.
From what I have researched from various articles. It’s mostly advised to wait a week after you recover to start any exercising (also depends on your symptoms, etc.) So I am going to do my best to use my first week out of quarantine just doing every day activities and throw in some leisurely walking before I make a game plan for week two.
This mean sound crazy that it's even on my radar as I'm in the depths of recovering but it's part of my every day normal. Even during this I have no appetite but continue to make fueling a priority. I know my body needs food to fight everything off and recover so I've focused on making sure that I am getting all my food groups and staying hydrated. My "recovery runner" mind kicks in and I just do it. Just like how I know once all of this is said and done my "runner comeback" self will go into hyper drive.
The only way my body will feel normal again is to get back to my normal ways. Regardless how long it'll take, its a race I know I can do.