Getting fitness back after illness

I've been running for about 8 years, and in the last two years have run three marathons, getting progressively fitter and faster. The last one was Amsterdam in October, where I ran 4h6m (I do have sub 4 in my locker, I do!)


I was going to do Paris in April, but then a combo of a tough time at work and a six week chest infection mean that I've had nearly four months off running.


I've been lucky enough to get a ballot place in Chicago in October, and so am now getting back in the saddle. I'm starting off gently, but have been really shocked at how dramatically my fitness has reduced. I'm not exaggerating when I say I'm struggling on two mile runs, and while I know I need to keep plugging away and my fitness will come back, I'm really discouraged.


Is this normal? Can I get back to where I was in five months? Help!


  • booktrunkbooktrunk ✭✭✭

    how about just going that little bit slower until your fitness levels rise, that will keep you going longer, so should be good image

  • Maybe you're trying to go out too fast. I had the same problem last year when I had a three month break over Christmas. To make myself stay at a good running level, and not run out too fast, I started using a heart rate monitor and stay in HR zone 2, which I think is between 70-80% of maximum HR (can't remember off the top of my head).

    I'm pretty sure you could get back to where you were, 5 months is a long time, aren't most marathon training plans under 5 months anyway? 

    Good luck with the training and getting that sub 4 marathon in Chicago image

  • I'm in a similar place as you - I've run for 9 years and recently ran 3:48 in Amsterdam in October. I started training for Copenhagen in January, but then came down with the worst case of shingles anyone had ever seen, which took me off running for 8-10 weeks (and I barely remember February due to the SIX painkillers I was on).

    It was frustrating at the time, but due to possible complications between two meds, I was only allowed to run slow and long for about a month when I came back, then could finally do tempo and hill sessions once I came off one of the drugs. I've been able to train properly for a few weeks now and it remains to be seen how well I'll fare on Sunday, but I think the few weeks of ONLY taking it slow were actually really beneficial to me, as I've been able to go up to a faster group at my running crew now that I'm back in training.

    So that's my long-winded way of saying to really take it easy for your first few weeks back. Things will feel harder as your body readjusts, but you've still got plenty of fitness in your legs and your body will readjust.

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