Hi, I'm a competitive runner and have been training for the Edinburgh half marathon which is in 18 days since January and on for a 75 minute time. I have raced quite a bit recently and as a result have come down with a chest infection. I have now finished the antibiotics and predniselone steroids and I'm only coughing up white fluid not green which indicates that the infection is gone. I am asthmatic and have been running the past 4 days 7-8 miles. My problem is that my chest feels tight and I a unable to run faster than 7mm pace!! Any idea on what I should do? How long before lung function is back to normal?? I am taking 5 days complete rest which leaves a week of training and few days of taper but I'm worried I will have lost all of my fitness? Any advice is appreciated and I welcome previous experience in similar level runners. I can do the race ie the distance but it's the speed that will Be effected Thanks


  • How long were you out for? It has been said that even professionals can not exercise for 2 weeks and not lose any fitness.

    The infection may be gone, but you may also still be carrying some fluid on your lungs which will decrease the function of your lungs. This may take some time to clear, but running should actually help that. There isn't really any way of telling how long it will take.

  • First of all you have not lost all your fitness

    If you are an asthmatic, do you have a peak flow meter? Do you measure your peak flow regularly? If you have not got one then go to your Pharmacy and ask for one, it should not be too difficult to get one.

    Basically test your peak flow now and then again in a few days and see what happens. Obviously it should improve! Try taking a cough remedy with an expectorant in it (chesty cough remedy). You could also try using something like a 'PowerBreathe' (Google it!) to get your chest working again.

    Do not forget that this problem is at least partly in your head, setbacks in training always mess with your head. The 'how long' question is going to be difficult, I am assuming that as you were prescribed Prednisolone you had a full on chest infection, so it is a "who knows" answer! 

    So whilst it is worth remembering that there are plenty more races out there, I do not think it is game over for Edinburgh. Let us know how you get on image

  • Hi, I 've had asthma since a kid aged 5 and have been running only 3 years at this level.

    I have bought a peak flow and it measures at 700 but I'm sure Ive had it maxed out previously. 

    From any medical perspective, would it be worth having say 5 days of complet rest with today being day 1 then trying to sharpen up with some speed sessions and a couple long runs in the 11 days before the run?  


    The GP just gave me 5 days of predniselone at 40mg and i was on 1500mg of amoxycillin per day. All that is over now but my chest just feels tight.


    Just massively concerned that I will have lost the ability to run the desired time and if that's the case then 6 months of training is down the bog!

  • What's the point worrying about it? You can't change it now.

    If your muscles in your chest are tired then it may help, but then the running may help the to find their previous elasticity. It is really hard to tell what is going on from description alone.

    In person there are all sorts of tests and checks that could be done. You could see your Dr again or you could just see how you go.

    This close to the day though, there isn't much you can do to change things so why worry?

  • ian ritchie wrote (see)
    . I have raced quite a bit recently and as a result have come down with a chest infection.


  • "6 months of training is down the bog!"

    I feel your pain, I really do but you are not the first to have their preparation ruined.

    But, the Edinburgh half is not the only race this year... a sense of perspective needed.

    A peak flow of 700 is impressive! I have just done mine; 600...

    Are you sure you are not hyperventilating?

  • booktrunkbooktrunk ✭✭✭

    Ian richie...

    Almost snap.  I've ran Milton Keynes marathon Monday.  That was 5 days after I stopped my antibiotics, and 7 days after i finished the steroids.

    Normal every day activities I was fine, gentle running as well was fine. when I ran hard i was still after 8-10km struggling as i could feel my lungs filling with crap so had to stop and clear them out.

    So the marathon first half perfect went to plan. Around 14m stopped to clear lungs out and what shattered, just had no energy left after coughing up the crap. I struggled around but 22M slower than I wanted, some of that had to be down to the chest, but if youve got 18 days, i'd say skip training you've done loads, rest as much as possible, and you should be back to normal physically just without much running.

  • I have plenty of experience of chest infections and asthma. My asthma constantly affects my training and chest infections frequently stop it all together for weeks at a time, so I've missed many races too. But also competed in races after being off for several weeks and surprised myself with a good result, my theory being that my legs are fresh and well rested. Got a first in class a couple weeks ago after 6 weeks off (8 weeks on steroids and 3 different antibiotics to shift the infection).

    The white and/or clear stuff you're coughing up is a product of inflamed airways and that along with the tightness are signs of your asthma. You may need to increase preventer medication for a while so best see your doctor or asthma nurse. 700 is a good peak flow for most people, but for you it might be 80% of your best, which is not good for running your best times. Unfortunately there's no fixed timescale as to when your lung function will be back to 100%. For me it varies depending on how bad the infection was, how long it takes to clear, how bad the asthma was etc.

    Sideburn suggested a cough remedy, but do be careful to avoid anything with a cough suppressant in it though. Coughing is an asthma symptom, so if that's suppressed then it's difficult to know when to take relievers/treat asthma and we also need to cough to move the mucus produced by irritated airways. If we don't cough this stuff out it makes us more prone to further infection. I've found the best way of loosening it up is to drink lots.

    Hope you're racing fit very soon. 

  • I suggested a cough remedy with an -expectorant- which is the opposite of a suppressant. +1 for drink lots.

    Other medication like Codeine can be a great cough suppressant, a pharmacist is a great source of information on medication and their wanted and unwanted effects.

  • All is well, 7 days rest and I did 10mins 20 at a 2 mile relay on wednesday and felt great. Half marathon a week sunday! Cheers for the advice people!

  • it takes 3 weeks following a chest infection for an asthmatics lungs to return to normal. Its all to do with the hyper-responsivness and hyper secreation that is exacerbated in the asthma patient.

    Any strenuous exercise done now will exacerbate that so I would suggest (if you were my patient) to double up on your steriod inhaler for 1 week after finishing prednisilone and to use your salbutamol 20 minutes pre exercise. Also increase your vit c and oily fish intake ( both will help with the inflammation).

    Better to trust in your training and still be in with a fighting chance come rest day.

  • Thanks for that, I appreciate the medical opinion for future reference.


    My GP wasn't that clued up and just said 'Stop running.'

  • Dave the ex spartan! If you had read between the lines you would see that too much racing causes a decrease in the immune system from being overtrained and tired, cheers for the smart a**e reply tho ;-(


    Anyway, I managed a 1hr 16 half marathon yesterday and am pleased with that!

  • Congratulations; nice to hear it went wellimage

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