Sunday, February 6, 2022

Covid Recovery - Slow but Steady

I hope I am not jinxing myself by saying this, but I believe myself to be 100% recovered with no lingering symptoms. In my previous post, I said that this would either be a "normal" recovery or it would turn into my mono-like illness, taking months to recover from. 

In retrospect, it seems like it has taken me slightly longer to recover than the average person, but not abnormally long. Here's a recap:

Days 1-2: Mild sore throat
I noticed that my throat was slightly scratchy. It was more of an annoyance than anything else; I had no other symptoms and was fully energized. Thankfully, I didn't run during this time because I was on vacation and was planning to take a few rest days anyway. I took the required Covid test to fly home from Mexico and it was negative.

Days 3-5: Severe sore throat, loss of voice
These were the worst days. I was moderately fatigued but I couldn't eat whole foods and I couldn't speak. I was continually spraying throat-numbing solution down my throat and using NyQuill to sleep. My at-home Covid test was negative on day 3, but positive on day 5.

Days 6-12: Body aches, coughing fits, skin rash, fatigue
My sore throat lessened in severity but I had coughing fits about 8-10 times per day and it kept me up at night. I had tiny bumps all over my back, butt and stomach, and a few on my legs. Not loads of them; maybe 20 total. I started to feel more energized by day 11, so I walked on the treadmill on days 11 and 12.

Days 13-17: Lingering fatigue, body aches
It turns out that the treadmill walk was too much and I woke up the next day feeling totally wasted. I did, however, test negative for Covid on my at-home test. At this point I think I was rid of the virus, but I was now suffering from post-viral illness, which felt similar to my mono episodes. The big difference between this and my mono episodes is that I was never tired in the sleepy sense. I didn't nap. The fatigue was more of a bodily fatigue and not a head fatigue. I also did not experience dizziness like I had with my mono.

I decided not to engage in any physical activity at all during these 5 days. I just rested. On day 17, I decided to take one of my Turmeric supplements. I had read an article about post-viral fatigue and it said that some researchers believed it to be caused by brain inflammation. Turmeric is a natural anti-inflammatory so I figured it was worth a shot.

Days 18-22: Major improvement
The day after I took the turmeric I noticed a major improvement. If I was at 65% on day 17, I was at 85% on day 18. I felt almost normal the very next day. I decided I could go ahead and resume walking, but very slowly and only for 15 minutes. 

By this point, I had only slightly noticeable throat congestion and the sore throat was totally gone. I didn't have body aches any more. I continued with the turmeric plus the other vitamin supplement I had been taking all along (Zinc, D3, C + lots of other herbs). 

Every day from 18-22 I felt better and better, with my legs feeling stronger as I walked. Previously, they had felt like jello. 

Day 23-Today
By day 23 I was 100% symptom-free and feeling like my normal self. No lingering fatigue. No weakness. No throat congestion. I continued my walking regimen and got up to 2 miles walking before I attempted to run. My first run back was a run-walk on the treadmill because it was pouring rain outside. I did 6 x (3:00 walk, 2:00 run). And I kept the runs very easy. 

Everything felt great during the run and after the run. So I continued to progress my workouts, shortening the walk breaks and increasing the overall duration of each session. My most recent run/walk (today) was 8 x 1:00 walk, 4:00 run. This is 32 minutes of running. I didn't feel like I needed the walk breaks, but I kept them in any way as a chance to "check in" with myself to make sure everything felt normal after each run. 

I can't stress enough the importance of walking multiple times before attempting to run, and waiting to be  100% symptom free. I felt 100% symptom free for about 4 days before I started to run, and when I did run, it was a run/walk. 

While there is a protocol for returning to run post-Covid, everyone is unique and it also depends on how long you were sick and how severe the illness was. Because I have so much experience with illness, I know my body pretty well and I can tell when I am ready to walk and when I am ready to run. My rule is to always wait a few extra days after feeling ready! I probably could have run on day 22, but I waited an extra 5 days to be absolutely sure. I would much rather have a slow and steady comeback instead of a rollercoaster of ups and downs from doing too much too soon. 

Looking Ahead
Overall, this illness took about a month of training from me, plus the 2-3 weeks it will take to get back to where I was. With the Boston Marathon coming up in the middle of April, I certainly have my work cut out for me. Thankfully I was in pretty good shape before I got sick and my body adapts to workouts relatively quickly. I don't plan on doing any hard running for another week; I first need to wean myself off of walk breaks and then increase the duration of my runs. 

I'm not at all worried; I know I will be able to finish the marathon and I wasn't planning on trying to run a PR anyway. My original goal was to run a course PR and I think that's still possible, but I will re-assess as the race gets closer. 


  1. I'm so glad to see that you are recovered and resuming training again! Fingers crossed that you'll be back to where you were in no time!

  2. Smart approach and strategy Zebra. Similar approach to endurance training, start shorter duration and easier intensity, progressively build. And likely the zinc and other supplements help with lessening severity of symptoms and speeding recovery. And appears you have the right perspective on Boston. Just follow the Arthur Ashe philosophy based on his quote; Just do what you can with the training you have when you start (me paraphrasing).

  3. I'm so glad to hear that you're feeling better and it sounds like you did all the right things to enhance your recovery.

  4. Very good approach to dealing with Covid. I know a couple of runners who have gone back to running too soon and are still battling fatigue a couple of months after no longer testing positive. All the very best for your recovery.
    Kind regards,