Keeping shape while ill/sick

by Philip

How does one keep the shape going if one has periods with illness during the plan ?

"Dear Marius,
I have really benefitted from your sub 3 plan, followed it exactly without injury or illness and hit the target times for 5k, 10k and half marathon( 1hr 23...6 minute PB). Unfortunately I have had a viral respiratory infection which has meant I've missed all of weeks 12 and 13.
Phrasing this question as generally as possible; if a runner misses entirely two weeks of the last month how much fitness is lost and can additional sessions be included in week 14?

I hope this question is broadly phrased enough and look forward to your reply.

Answer: Hi Philip and thanks for the question.

Now, here is how it goes : from a circulatory and respiratory perspective you lose very litle from 10-14 days off training. The challenge though is the muscular system. You have two weeks left and that may be enough to get this going again (and then you will be 100 % fine) but I will give some advice next time this happens (and for other runners in your situation) so that you never run into trouble if you have illness periods.

What you want to do next time around is to keep your muscles going throughout the viral infection period. Which means you WALK most of your long runs, say 30-45 minutes, instead of running BUT in running shoes. In addition to that, you run 5-7 x 20 sec with 20 sec rest (the 20/20) 3 times a week. This will not hurt you, no matter how bad the infection is but it will be enough to keep your muscular system going. That way, when you start up again you'll be close to 100 % where you were at.

Having said that, with 2 weeks left there is a good chance to regain things but do not push yourself too much in workouts. You do not want to try and "catch up" so no adding of extra workouts. Remember : you have not lost much cardiovascular/respiratory shape, even if it may feel like it : any "heavy feelin is only due to lack of proper muscular stess. So basically just easily tune into the marathon now, do the same workouts as planned but hold a bit back on pace. Go for "controlled" efforts and that may actually help peak very sharply into the race.

I wish you all the best with your training and race,

kind regards,

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