Covid, running and me

For the second time this year, and my second ultra training cycle, I’ve got covid. Which, if I’m honest, is a bit if a bummer.

First time round I got it early in the training cycle and whilst I didn’t feel too poorly with it at the time it I found it hit me hard when I started back training. My heart rate went sky high when I ran and I had to go back to basics in terms of training. All speed training was cut as I was concerned about pushing myself too hard. I relied on slow runs to get my through. I found it took me about four weeks to stop my heart rate spiking. This seems to be in line with lots of other people, based on the very helpful community that is the runners of Twitter. There were some really useful tips to help with training and easy runs, which I took on board to build slowly back up again. I felt like I lost a lot of fitness, especially because I’d only been ill for a day.

The ultra itself was fine. It was a great lesson in fuelling properly as I slowed down and really enjoyed myself. We walked most of the ultra which meant that I didn’t feel short of energy at the end and my recovery was fairly quick too.

The first day of covid round 1 it was really clear I was unwell. This time round though it’s felt different. I didn’t even realise I had covid to start with. I’d completed my 22 mile training run and had the sniffles but that wasn’t unusual for the route we’d taken. I’ve always struggled with the pollen on the Wales Coast Path so I’d assumed that’s what it was. It was only when I woke up the following day and had a cough I thought I’d best test just to put people’s minds at rest it wasn’t covid…. Even with the cough, perhaps naively, the positive test was a surprise.

The good news is this time round other than the cough I’ve not felt ill at all. Even running up the stairs hadn’t made me feel like I’m gasping for breath when I reach the top. Always a bonus!

As the law has changed I popped out for a very early run before the world awoke the other day. Having the experience from last time has definitely helped. I took it slowly and made sure my heart rate didn’t spike. Whilst I was slower than my normal pace to make sure my heart rate stayed down I didn’t feel like I’d taken as many steps backwards as last time. My breathing also wasn’t an issue thankfully. I may only have run just over 3 miles but mentally I needed to know where I was at, or at least have an inkling.

The next challenge is how do I now train safely for Race to the Stones? Half of me wants to stick to the training plan so I don’t fall behind. The other half of me knows that’s not a great idea. I’m supposed to have 28 miles on the plan this weekend but I’ve no idea what the impact of a longer run will be, if not during the run, the post run and in the following days. If I follow the plan now will that have a negative impact closer to the race? I guess it’ll be trial and error, working out what’s going to work and until I test the waters properly I’m just not going to know.

I’m tempted to try to do a half on the weekend, or maybe slightly longer, or aim for the half and see how I feel. There’s plenty of options. Race to the Stones is a month away so I guess there’s two ways of looking at it. Either that gives me plenty of time to train and be fresh for the start line having under trained or it’s the mindset that it’s not that far off and really I need to get back as close the the plan as possible. I need to find out how this weekend’s run pans out then look again at my training plan. I guess I just need to be aware that whilst I feel fine sat down writing this and pottering in the house I don’t really know at the moment what is really going on inside my body.

What I think I really need to focus on is being grateful that I’m fit, healthy and am able to get out there and run.

Whilst writing this post our start waves have just been released. The excitement is real so its going to be a challenge to rein that in I think.

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