Couch to 5K
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Struggling after nasty virus and bronchitis - wondering how long it takes to get back on form ?

Four days in bed flat out with a feverish viral infection, which left me very tired and with a tight wheezy chest. I had no choice but to take two weeks off. I could tell I was getting better when I started fretting about losing fitness!

As a recent 5k graduate I'm still terrified of slipping back into being a couch potato. So last week I headed out for some gentle runs, allowing myself to stop and walk briefly a couple of times when it felt a bit tough. No way could I make it all the way up any incline while still a tad husky and wheezy.

In a dimly lit cocktail bar my voice could just about pass for a jazz singer at the mo - but out there in the real world of being a middle aged runner it's more like a faulty bagpipe.

I managed a whole 30 minutes of running this morning. If you can call it that. Any slower and I'd have gone backwards but I stuck with the stepping stones podcast.

I remember finding it slow first time, but today I was just grateful to finish.

Anyone else been knocked back by an infection, how long did it take you to get back on form?

I'm hoping to do first park run and charity 5k in a few weeks. And if all goes well I'd love to start thinking about a 10k in the summer. But it's hard to keep going when the running feels this tough.

7 Replies

It's taken me a month to get back to where I was :-(


oh no! I've been trying to do exercises at home to strengthen legs as didn't have the energy to do anything else - squats, calf raises, glutes exercises.

but at least if it takes a month i'll be ready for the charity run i've signed up to - so thanks


Lol I thought you were going to say something like "in a dimly lit cocktail bar I reflected on my fabulousness before getting totally sozzled"

On a more serious note, I was off for a few weeks with my chest too (had a bad asthma attack and ended up on steroid tabs) so I can understand a little of how you feel. It was just before Xmas and I was 2wks from graduation. I did what I could to build back up at the right pace for me and for the first week tried to leave a little in my legs at the end so my body was not straining to recover. Having repeated wk 7 I then graduated during week 8 lol as I had a 10k to train for with haste!

My point is don't be afraid to under do it at first. Your body will appreciate not being pushed to it's limits and your mind will be full of motivating pleasure because you are relaxed. Having positive experiences helped me get back into it quickly. You will be able to monitor your runs on the second week and see how your body responds to picking up the pace once you have reminded it what lovely things it can do :)

Enjoy your runs :)


hmm maybe a couple of medicinal cocktails might not be a bad idea! but not the night before a run.


sorry another question - how long did it take to train up for a 10k? I'd like to have a go once I feel as though I've got this 5k licked


I had 2 weeks off due to illness and revision needs. I started again last Wednesday and have done 3 runs. The first one I did 20mins at 8.5kmph, second one 20mins at 8.8kmph and the third I did 25 mins at 8.5kmph. I realised after run two that I wanted to get back up to 30mins so dropped the speed but increased the time. I felt like I could have done 30 at run 3 but didn't want to push my body too hard as I'm still recovering. Now I'm on 25 mins, I'm gonna try and increase by 2 mins each time to get back up to scratch.

Well done on doing 30 mins though! I would never have managed that.



Erm well not sure i would advocate doing it this quickly but I started c25k mid November, had 2 weeks off as mentioned and have a 10k race march 3rd. I started for 10k in Jan. you might find it helpful to have a quick look at my blogs.

Some people like to really sort their speed out first before 10k but others like me just go for it. It depends on your fitness background and goals. I am very over 4 stone but am quite fit and have been exercising regularly for a year or so. My main problem is that I am a little slow (7.5k in 60mins at the mo) but I am patient and working with both speed and endurance.

Sry if I went on too long...Jems


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