COVID-19 and chest pain after strenous running

Back in mid-March just pre lockdown I'm pretty sure I had COVID-19 / coronavirus, as someone in my small office tested positive a few weeks previously. I was ill with the usual symptons for about 5 days but particularly bad breathlessness, deep lung pain, basically feeling like I was at 4,000m altitude the whole time and someone has plonked an elephant on my chest. I was running right up until I had the lurgy but wondering why I felt so knackered running my short commute when I'd done a half marathon fine 2 weeks before. 6 weeks on post recovery, I am able to go out for ca. 5km runs every 2 days with my kids, pushing the running buggy and plenty of nature/train spotting stops. However, when I attempt anything that nears proper exertion e.g. a nice 10k non-stop outing on my own or a 10 min sharp spint on the treadmill, later I can feel all the COVID lung symptons rearing their ugly head again, especially at night (and have not gone away yet). I am wondering if anyone else who has had COVID-19 symptons like mine has experienced similar lung pain weeks later during more strenuous activity. Is this normal e.g. if compared to exertion after say, pneumonia, and how long will I need to wait to get back to 'proper' cardio training? I'm missing my running endorphins from a good workout!


    Claire - I haven't had Covid 19 but I've heard from others that it takes a long time to restore your normal lung function.  By a long time I believe can be several months.   I would suggest that you don't try any sprint stuff, just enjoy being out in the fresh air and run easy and you will recover fully.

    Is there anything on the NHS 111 website maybe, about recovery.   Or on RW website?
  • Seems to be normal - I've had the same issues
    COVID19 early March - 2 weeks of coughs & feeling groggy - couldn't really do much
    Felt better early April - lots of 5k/10k walks with no issues - started running again which was OK but heavy chest & sore throat afterwards - carried on with the walking as before and have been fine
    Started running again this week - nothing major - 6k local route at a slow pace - but the chest pains & sore throat are back
    Going to give it a week or two to see if it gets better then try a run again - if the chest pains & sore throat return then there's definitely a link
  • COVID is known to damage the alveoli sacs in the lungs which in turn would effect gas exchange, blood oxygen and therefore probably all running physiology variables for a significant amount of time (economy, LT and VO2max). One possible practical solution to accelerate recovery could be by using hypoxic adaptation with an altitude machine to induce physiological adaptations in the lungs that would help counteract any damage caused by COVID. This study "..found that chronic hypoxia resulted in increased total pulmonary vessel length, volume, endothelial surface area and number of endothelial cells in vivo. This is the first reported demonstration of hypoxia-induced angiogenesis in the mature pulmonary circulation, a structural adaptation that may have important beneficial consequences for gas exchange." This is just theory I have. Since COVID is an inflammatory condition, you could also start taking various antioxidants to eliminate any inflammation that may still be present in your lungs. Coenzyme Q10 has shown to protect the lungs in various studies online. GOOD LUCK!
  • My own (current) experience, though I don't know if it's COVID-19 related:

    I was running very moderately from the beginning of the year, about three times a week, up to about 25km. I was running well and can run, at 47, near 18 minutes for a 5K. I don't race or do any long distances. I mostly stick to parkruns.

    Somewhere between mid-to-late January, I noticed that when running my HR was higher than for previous-equivalent runs. Nothing drastic, but noticeable. Strava was able to keep telling me my efforts were harder than normal. I was still running okay, though. From then I started to notice the higher HR but also a drop in my VO2 Max. Over a 2-3 week period it went from about 60 down to 55. By the time I got to the beginning of March it was down to 50. During the first 6 weeks of this period I also noticed my left eye was watery and ran/teared a little whilst running.

    Again in January, around the time of the increased HR, I had a couple of nights where I could hear a weird noise in my head, at night mostly. It woke me up once or twice. n fact I'd a couple of 'weird' nights. Maybe tinnitus, which I've never had.

    From the beginning of March things got worse. I had abdominal pains, headaches, weird sensations in my left-hand, some tingling, even in my upper lip. Lots of 'odd' stuff. My sleep was affected.

    In January I ran a 18:46 parkrun but I slowed the last 1.5k and had some abdominal pain. I didn't feel 'right'. This slowing wasn't like me at all. And I'm not a 'pusher'. Something similar happened on a training run on the 10 March, which was when I stopped running and sought medical help.

    Long story cut short. I'd some bloods that fed back a low/reduced white blood count, and raised bilirubin levels (though I've had this since 2016). I had an x-ray and CT-scan, which were all okay. However, from March I was aware that even on my daily walks, my HR was elevated, sometimes by up to 30-40 beats. I could even go out and at the start see a spike to 146bpms, when I'd expect around 90.

    Twice I tried to run 5K to 'see what would happen'. Twice my HR rocketed, once to 186, the highest I'd ever recorded in my life. This on an easy and short run. I didn't feel like I was dying, though it was harder than I'd expect, but my HR was way higher than it would normally be.

    All of this seems to come in 'waves'. Lots of the symptoms ease a little and then pop up again, though I'd feel a general improvement. However, that's not the case with my HR. There was a week or so where I saw numbers on walks move more towards 'normal', but they then went up again a few days ago. Then, yesterday, my HR hit 166bpm on a section of a 10-minute brisk walk.

    I got home and then about an hour later I went back out. I took a different Garmin (230) and a chest HRM (I normally have a wrist-based Vivoactive 3) and went out the front door again. As soon as I hit start activity, the chest HRM activated and my HR was already at 149bpms. I walked about 300m and it was up to 170. I trotted from there for about 30 or 40 metres and I was hitting 180. I stopped with, at that point, some headache, feeling sweaty etc. I went home, checked in with 111 (general medical advice) and they sent an ambulance.

    An ECG said there was no signs of damage to the heart. And given that this wasn't an once-off (though it was the worst episode with my HR), this needed to go back to the GP for further investigation.

    I would also add that throughout this whole period I have not had laboured breathing and even when the HR is so elevated, I'm not experiencing the kind of pounding chest and breathing that I'd kind of expect to have. I'm not saying I'm absolutely okay, but there's a mismatch between the HR and my experience of it when I'm walking or running.
  • Thanks everyone. There definitely seems to be a link and new research and experiences are popping up all the time. I'm still taking it easy and the discomfort is easing almost imperceptibly slowly. But I think it IS easing.
  • Richy88Richy88 ✭✭
    Awful... But are you sure it is because of COVID?
  • <blockquote class="Quote">
    <div class="QuoteAuthor"><a href="/profile/Richy88">Richy88</a> said:</div>
    <div class="QuoteText">Awful... But are you sure it is because of COVID?</div>
    No. At the time I had symptoms they had just stopped testing all but everyone who ended up in hospital. But a lady in my office (we share the same kitchen, loo, keypad to enter etc) tested positive 2 weeks previous. My symptoms are still present 2.5 months later and actually worse this week if anything. I think a doctors is in order 😐 
  • Hi Claire I am 99% sure I had Covid 19 back in Mid march, after returning from my travels to what actually ended up being a hotspot of the virus on the Italian border with Austria. My symptoms followed the classic reported symptoms of V.High fever of close to 40 deg, Persistent dry cough and the later reported complete loss of taste (which was actually one of the oddest things I have experienced, I actually couldn't taste any flavour in a super strong espresso coffee ! My recovery was actually pretty quick and from first symptoms to light training was only approx 7 days (in hindsight and with further knowledge of the condition I would have been more sensible and left it longer). The only legacy was sore chest muscles for a few days when training, which initially I thought was damaged intercostal muscle from the persistent cough, but actually could have been something more serious, but for me it went away fairly quickly.
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