I want to run my legs, not run a fever!
December 19, 2014 4:15 AM   Subscribe

I think I might have the flu. My first half marathon is 4 weeks from tomorrow. Can I still run it? How can I get on the mend fast, and back to training ASAP?

Woke up yesterday with some bad body aches and slight dry cough. By evening, I was shivering under 3 heavy blankets. Now I can't stop sweating, and my god, everything hurts so bad.

My training has been going pretty well so far - had a 15k trail run last weekend (ohmygod it was so damn hilly), and ran it entirely, save for one 20-second water stop, and to wiggle out my limbs. I feel really good about it, though my runkeeper app measured it closer to 16k - my time was just under 1:33.

Had two runs this week, and both were pretty bad. Now I've definitely come down with something. How can I get better FAST and get back to training?
posted by raztaj to Health & Fitness (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Good, you're getting the taper sickness out of the way early. Rest and hydrate. The general rule is if you are sick above the neck, then go ahead and run. If you are sick below the neck, don't run. Its better to take a few days off and get some rest. Also, at this point in the training, can do a lot more to hurt than to help.* Missing a week is okay. The hay is mostly in the barn. Don't try to make this week up later. Shortening your taper by a couple of days is okay, longer than that will hurt you more than help.

*For instance, if you run a marathon with a bad cold because, hey, its in New York and its on your birthday, you may end up with a slow time, a cough that lasts for weeks, and eye rolling doctor and a puffer.
posted by TORunner at 4:37 AM on December 19, 2014 [4 favorites]

If you have the flu that I've just had (sounds similar), it's a really bad idea to do _anything_ for a week, let alone train for a marathon. Seriously, if you want to be recovered by the marathon, just rest now.
posted by advil at 6:10 AM on December 19, 2014 [1 favorite]

It's 4 weeks away? You'll be fine. Take the time to rest and recuperate without even thinking about running. Once you are no longer feverish and not too congested, start your training again. You've already put in a lot of work, and that won't be erased by taking a week off while you're sick.
posted by barnoley at 6:56 AM on December 19, 2014

If there's any way you can get to the doctor today, they might be able to give you Tamiflu which could shorten your symptoms. You have to take it within the first 48 hours of symptoms to be effective.
posted by fanta_orange at 6:57 AM on December 19, 2014 [1 favorite]

Oh, you've got no worries. Based on that 15k trail run time you're plenty trained now, so all you have to do is at least recover from this off week and you'll have 2-3 weeks to do that. No problems.
posted by ftm at 7:24 AM on December 19, 2014

You'll be fine. Relax and let yourself get over whatever you're fighting now, and get back to training when you are fully better.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 7:46 AM on December 19, 2014

I just had a really excellent flu recovery (all things considered) by sleeping sitting up for a week. I didn't end up with a secondary sinus or chest infection, for the first time ever.

I happen to have a bed frame with a manually adjustable head, but you can do the same thing with a recliner, a massive foam wedge for the purposes of sleeping inclined, or a couch with the right pyramid of pillows.
posted by Lyn Never at 8:03 AM on December 19, 2014

Response by poster: Thank you all for the advice and reassurance. I'm so bummed - my training was going well, but I guess bumps in the road happen. But this is also the first time I've had the flu - I don't really know how long to expect my body to fight it or get strength back. But I'll park myself in bed for the immediate future and take it day by day :-\
posted by raztaj at 3:56 PM on December 19, 2014

I've only seen research that says zinc is effective for shortening a cold but for me, it seems to help with the flu too. I take a whole pill the first day (50 mg) and drop down to a half pill until I feel on the mend.
posted by stray thoughts at 8:43 PM on December 19, 2014

The shaking chills and sweats indicate a fever, which may or may not be caused by flu. My son recently went to Urgent Care because he was having the same thing and was immediately admitted to the hospital with sepsis and a kidney infection, though he had no kidney symptoms. He was in the hospital for four days, to the tune of $17,000, and thought he just had a bug of some kind.

To my mind, fever with shaking chills means a trip to a physician. Period.

As for running, I think it would be a poor idea to be exercising at that level when you're also running a fever, especially if your fever is due to a bacterial infection of some kind, in which case you could damage your heart with heavy exercise. You'll surely be okay in four weeks, though, IF you either get back on your feet within a day or two or you see a physician, which is the best idea of all.
posted by aryma at 11:55 PM on December 19, 2014

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