getting back to running after a virus / flu

After having a bad flu virus that lasts approx a week ,in the infecrted sense, how long is it before its not detrimental to return to running ?
I think obviously its when one feels better, but, in peoples experience? virus can be a very dodgy thing and return if you put any undue stress on the body too soon after the illness... i just wonder what other people have tried and failed with and like wise succeeded with?
I am training for marathons and one is coming up in just over a month and i really dont want to jepardise training by going off too soon after being so ill.
Maybe a 3 miler, ..?  Im at 11 or 12 days after the initial start of illness ?( 4 days after recovery from being in bed? )  


  • Wona, i'm in same boat, just emerging from 10-day dose for second time since Boxing Day! I've a HM in 3 weeks time and marathon early April so I'm itching to get back - going for a 6miler this afternoon and taking it steady.

  • Just trying to get back after over six weeks off with flu, I had a bad chest cough which took ages to clear so no chance I was going to risk running with that. Hard to judge online how ill you have both been of course. I certainly wouldn't dream of running any race in as little as 3 weeks time. My first attempts to run where clearly premature as my whole chest area felt weak and also my back muscles were aching from all the coughing. Did get a check up with the gp in case it was bronchitis but he agreed with me it was muscular.

  • I am in the same situation, wanting to get back into training.
    Once you feel like it, go for a short easy run of 20 -30 mins, If it feels too much or you are struggling, just turn back and walk home or wherevever you started from. Listen to your body. I sometimes go slightly more extreme and just start by doing a 20 min brisk walk, if thats OK and doesnot take days to recover from I can increase gently from that point.

    Wona, if you are only a month out from a marathon just take the time as extended taper period.

  • i would taper if i had have gotten up to anything over 16 miles.!
    i went out today..which is 11 days after the start of the flu.. i got out of bed saturday just gone...anyway i have done a real steady 8 mile, of which i would not have done if i felt at all bad....luckily atm i feel ok,,no plan is to go up to 22 miles by 3 weeks before the race which is actually Bolton hill marathon 10th March... then ill taper back down...i often do a marathon 3 weeks after each other so im use to that shorter than advised period...many friends i know do a marathon a week when they can find on..sometimes 2 per it is doable.
    i think it seems you all are being pretty responsible towards your training so i think we will all reach our goal..hey? image
    good luck

  • i must also say during the flu i drank lots of mineral water..not tap...and drank green juiced veg etc, and ate homemade soup as much as i could..i took no meds (dont believe in pharma drugs anymore) and rested 100%...i  believe this all helped.

  • Well you seem a seasoned runner so listening to your body should be OK. Good luck.

  • Hope you all feel better soon. Lots of bugs going around at the moment.

    Joe V - that sounds awful, hope you are on the road to recovery now.

    Wona - I have a similar question to you - I've not had anything so bad as flu but have had extreme fatigue & general malaise for the past week. It's not bad enough to make me stay at home but has affected lack of energy & more achy then usual.... I just wondered is it possible to get a mild virus with only the symptoms above, or could it just be down to stress and the time of year? (dark mornings & evenings).

    I've had a few days off training and would like to start back gentle running again, so hope to do 3-4 mile easy runs for the rest of the week.

    Hope you all return to full health & fitness soon.

  • This thread is really timely as I havea place in the Grizzly in 5 weeks time and am currently laid low with flu. I can't remember feeling so ill for a long time - it is bloody awful.

    I really don't have the strength to even walk the dogs (albeit I do ) at the moment and I'm beginning to wonder when I will get back to training. ! 



  • @ Lifes too advise as a trainer and runner...take the time off..theres no other way,,if you get all eat up re training you will just set yourself back weeks....if you feel tired , just plod a few miles ..remember if you have been running will take a good while to loose may loose abit of strength and speed..but you will pick up really fast.
    Take in lots of mineral water (not tap) and greens and fruit,,help your body recover itself.
    You can get mild virus of course...what you have to be careful of is if its mild because atm your body is winning the fight..if you stress your body with a big session, you will also lower the immune system that day,then the virus could have chance to take wont do any harm to training for a few days.
    I have gone from 1 week in bed almost with flu (left it another 3 or 4 days) and did a slow 8 miles ( i would be honest and say ,that really was a tad too much,but i had gone too far on the lanes and had to get back to the car) then I left it a few days and plodded 14 miles..(that was ok but i plodded)...this is because i obviously already run alot usually....( and i have the Marathon in March)
    I think we all know that when we feel that bad..slow return is more productive and steady few miles is a better stratedgy ..dont we? :O)
    Hope everyone feels strong again soon.

  • Dartmoor runner...
    You will be back rest. image

  • hi all

    ive luckily had many many years of sickness free running - but last october i had a ( non milignant ) tumour removed from my lung, Consultant told me as i'm such a fit man, even at almost 55 - i take two months off, but 3 weeks after operation i suffered 9 days on and off vomiting with Norovirus, then right on Xmas a severe head and sinus cold, - gp gave me antibiotics for it

    i returned to running two weeks ago - first was 90 mins running pushing Phil in his wheelchair, then a 3 mile solo run last week,  - tomorrow hopefully were at Watford hM  

    i dont feel anywhere near the man i did - so everything i do is going to be slow and gradual - little at a time, - fluids are vital, i eat when i feel like it

  • Sorry- i should have put

    ive luckily had many, many years of injury free running - but severe sickness almost for the  time in my life hit me last year - the top post

  • I had a mild virus a week ago, decided to go and shake it off with a slow run up the hill. The same evening I came down with 40C temperature stand now a week later still feeling feeble and googling 'how to sensibly return to running after a virus' image. A bit of a lesson for myself!
  • Thanks for the advice.

    I've been really struggling for the past 10 days. Went to the Doctor's yesterday and I've been put on a 5 day course of Antibiotics, hopefully it clears my horrible cough as I’d never thought I’d miss running this much.

  • Hi Chris. I sympathise, as I've been out of action for 3 weeks now with a 'flu that turned into a chest infection. Although I've finished a course of antibiotics I am still a long way from full recovery and I can't see myself running again for at least another week.

    In this situation, you have got to be patient and not run until all the symptoms have gone and you feel fully recovered. I've already written off January and February for racing, as I expect it will take me a couple of months to get back to normal fitness.

    However, it's all part of a runner's life and in a way a long break like this (the longest I'll have had in 20 years) can be refreshing.

  • Thanks David, hope you get better soon.

    I’m just panicking at the moment because I’m supposed to be training for London.

    I’d say I got up to 7 mile in my Training before Christmas all that had work would of probably gone down the pan image

  • Thanks Chris - you too.

    You've still got approx 14 weeks before the London Marathon, so assuming you can get back running within the next fortnight, I'd say you still have plenty of time to get the training in. I'm not a marathon runner myself, but the general consensus is that it's building up the weekly long runs to around 20 miles that is key and you should still have ample time to do that without rushing things too much.

    Even if "the worst comes to the worst" and you don't have time to get properly ready, there are plenty of other marathons you can target, for instance during late summer/early autumn.

    Although you shouldn't try to jump straight back in and carry on from where you left off, the training you did before Christmas will still be "in the bank" and will help you get back into more quickly than if you were starting from scratch.

    Good luck and in a few weeks time, it'll just be a memory.

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