Running After Covid – How To Return To Running The Right Way
Like any sickness, returning to running should be taken lightly, regardless of whether it’s Covid or not. If you return to running too fast after Covid, it can set your training back and delay your return to fitness. That’s why it is important to know when to start running again, how often, and at what intensity.
In this article, we help you return to running after Covid and what precautions you should take during your return.
– How to return to running after Covid?
– When can I run after Covid?
– Running a marathon after Covid?
How To Return To Running After Covid?
If you don’t have chest pain, shortness of breath, fever, or any other symptoms, you should be all clear to start running again. However, it is always wise to get the ok from a physician before starting training again.
In most cases, you can start running again when you have been asymptomatic for at least a few days. That is unless you have experienced cardiopulmonary symptoms.
Many studies (including the HSS Journal) note that you shouldn’t resume training for at least seven days after having Covid. Studies by the HSS Journal and the BMJ, recommend that you:
-Can resume training after seven days of no symptoms
– If you are asymptomatic, you can return to running seven days after the date of the diagnosis.
– A report by the AAC says ff symptoms are mild, and downtime can be reduced to 3 days. However, this is only recommended if you have is no chest symptoms.
– Your return to covid after running should be progressive in all cases.
– If you have had cardiopulmonary symptoms such as chest pain, dyspnea, palpitations, light-headedness, or syncope. You should consult a physician before returning to any running after Covid.
For most people that experience Covid, you should be able to return to running after 7 days. However, it is important during this time that your training is progressive. You should not try to return to the level you were at before contracting Covid.
This means during the first week, running should be kept in zone 1 heart rate, Zone 1 power, or if you don’t have access to any measurement devices, kept as easy as possible (RPE 1-3/10). All intensity should be dropped, and you should slowly increase the duration of your runs.
For some people, this may mean mixing running and walking during the first week. For others, it may mean easy 30-minute runs. The amount you can run will depend on your current fitness level and the volume you were running before contracting Covid. A good starting point would be to start with 15-20 minute jogs, then increase the duration by 10-15% each week.
Once you have returned to running safely for two weeks, you can then start to increase the duration of your runs much faster. After you reach the four weeks and don’t have any symptoms (breathing issues), you should be able to start introducing higher intensity workouts back into your training plan.
Bare in mind starting too hard during the first few weeks can put you at risk of further illness and even injury (if you have been out with Covid for more than a month). So, it is important to take your time and slowly increase the load on the body until you safely surpass a few weeks of training.
When Can I Run After Covid?
For most people, you should be able to return to light running after seven days. However, this is a general recommendation based on recent studies. Some people may find they need longer than seven days if they have had symptoms of Covid for numerous weeks.
Can I Go For A Run if I have Covid?
No. Even if you have mild symptoms of Covid. You should not try to run. Running when you have Covid can reduce strength in the body to fight the infection. It can also affect cardiac, pulmonary, hematologic, musculoskeletal, and gastrointestinal systems.
If your symptoms are above the neck, do another form of exercise that keeps the heart rate low. For example, walking or a light core workout. Since light physical activity has been shown to boost your immune system, implementing some light physical activity can help fight the virus.
When Should I Stop Running After Covid?
You should stop running after having Covid if you experience any of the below symptoms.
-Tightness in the chest
– Shortness of breath
– Feeling light-headed
– Feel like you are going to pass out
– Get winded when your running
If you feel any of the above symptoms, rest immediately and speak with your doctor. This is a sign that your body is not yet ready to return to physical activity.
Running A Marathon After Covid?
If you plan on running a marathon after COVID, you should plan to have at least 14 weeks between contraction and your marathon. Ideally, for most people 20 weeks would be better. As this will allow adequate time to rebuild your form and fitness. It will also prevent any illness from appearing during the first few weeks after recovery.
Even though most people will only lose 2-3% of their fitness after Covid. Your muscles, bones, and tendons will need to adjust back to running. Trying to speed up this process can not only bring on illness but also cause injury. That’s why it is important to slowly build your running back up within the first month of training.
If you are unsure of whether you can safely return to running after covid, you should reach out to your physician and get the all-clear. You should also speak to a qualified running coach. They can help build a training plan that can safely increase you’re running back up to your previous fitness.
Alternatively, start by introducing walking and running for the first week, then slowly reduce the walking periods. Within two weeks, you should be back up and running for 30 minutes safely without danger.
Remember, each patient with COVID-19 is unique. However, some general guidelines and recommendations have been reported over the past few years for us to follow.
-Each person with COVID-19 recovers at a different rate. That means each person’s recovery will vary. That means, your return to running may differ slightly from someone else.
-The severity of the disease, may impact recovery. However, this is yet to be proven.
-Physicians should advise patients that their return to activity should be gradual and in a controlled manner.