Couch to 5K
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First run in three weeks!!

Three weeks ago today I did a lovely 5k run that felt nice and easy in just over 30 minutes. I was starting to get myself back together, had bought a treadmill to keep running when the weather is just too much. That night I started with a sore throat which was the onset to the worst bout of flu I've ever had.

So here I am three weeks later. Two of those weeks were spent back on the couch (the irony), where I sniffled, ached and coughed my way through DVD after DVD. I went back to work on Monday, taking it easy as I still felt quite weak but every day I'm feeling better. But so is my waistline. 3 weeks without exercise is starting to show. So this morning I took the plunge and got on the treadmill - it's torrential rain here and I doubt the best thing after flu is to go outdoors for a run and get soaking wet. So what happened? Not a lot!! Just about managed 5 minutes before I had to stop for a coughing fit. Walked a little before doing another 5 minutes when I stopped because my legs felt as though they were about to give way.

Have I really lost that much fitness in 3 weeks? It felt as though I had never run before and I cannot believe how out of breath I was. Thoroughly discouraging. But I suppose the positive is that I have actually run. I'm going to see how I am tomorrow and see if I can do some intervals. Any suggestions of a good place to go back to on the podcasts to build my stamina back up? I'm thinking week 4 for a couple of runs before attempting W5R3 again. Any advice would be most welcome.

Hope you're all well and enjoying your running. I've missed this place. :)

6 Replies

Hey Fraz,

So sorry to hear about your flu, that sounds pretty rough but you did the best thing by having a proper rest.

I too have found it difficult to get out running though part of that is just too much work on. I've managed 1 run a week but my last one (Sunday, so nearly a week ago) was awful; I had been regularly running between 5 and 8km 3 times per week (got up to the heady heights of 9k!) previous to this lull, but on Sunday had to stop to walk 4 times in a distance just short of 5km! I'm devastated and haven't been able to bring myself to go out since, even though the work has died down.

It sounds like perhaps you started in again too soon. If you were coughing that much , I'd guess you still have a lot of mucus in your throat and lungs and it might take a while for this to clear even though you feel better in yourself.

I suggest maybe resting for another few days, get your eating back on track (maybe your body feels sluggish from couch+tv+comfort snacks and needs to be kick started again before running?) then building the running up slowly, slow your pace way down and see how you go.

Easier said than done I know, I promised myself I'd run this morning but I've put it off and off and now I need to go do other things. Maybe the Christmas buzz over the next weeks will give us a kick up the proverbial!

Good luck on your next run!



Thanks for the advice Newbie :) I'll see how I am tomorrow and perhaps will take a long brisk walk if running isn't on the cards. Sorry to hear about your run, but try and focus on all the great runs you've been doing before then. Running only once a week and still managing those distances is a great achievement. Think of it as a hiccup and get back out there. The sooner you can get a better run under your belt, the sooner you can erase teh bad one.

Keep it up!


Hi Fraz, good you're up and about again but do take it easy - flu isn't just nothing and especially the phase where you go back to work can be really strenuous. Maybe you had swine flu, I had that three years ago and it flattened me for two weeks and the next four I still had no strength at all. Never experienced anything like it.

I think you've got the right idea with a 5 min run and build up from there. Just start slowly, probably a walk is enough till your cough departs the scene. Once you're properly better your fitness will probably return quite quickly. I had a 6 week break from running due to dodgy knees, I biked and cross-trainered instead and last weekend did my first 5 minute session on the treadmill and didn't feel I'd lost too much fitness at all. I'm sure your unfit feeling is due to the flu and not the not running. If you see what I mean.

Good luck for a speedy recovery! :-)


Thanks Mitts, I'll definitely be taking it easy for the next few weeks. So my New Years resolution will be to get to 5K again lol!


If you had a real bout of flu, as opposed to a heavy cold (and it sounds like you did) it exhausts you for weeks. People who say they've had "a touch of flu" have obviously never had actual flu. Don't be surprised if it takes you a couple of months to fully regain your pre-flu strength.

I had flu once about 15 years ago. I never want it again! I have a flu jab every year now (due to being asthmatic).


Yes definitely real flu. I tend to get colds a lot and nothing I've ever had can compare to this! Thanks for the advice :)


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