Expert Panel Question???
Question: “Everyone is different, but in general, how long should a runner wait after recovering from an illness, such as a bad cold or flu, before doing a long marathon training run 15 to 20 miles?”
(ask your questions to the UtahRunning.com Experts here)
(a brief response)
When not taken care of appropriately, a harmed immune system can lead to a cascade of problems when involved in heavy or high-volume exercise training. If you are not careful when resuming exercise following a damaged immune system (e.g. a cold or flu), you can chronically impair muscle tissue function, cardiac (heart) function, and of-course extend or rebound your illness. This is why more experienced runners will always tell you that patience always pays off in the end.
Intensive exercise training should not be resumed until a few days following the complete resolution of common cold symptoms (e.g. sore throat and runny nose without general body aches and fever). To date, research shows mild to moderate exercise (e.g. walking) when sick with the common cold does not appear to be harmful. Some data even suggests mild to moderate exercise during a cold enhances the immune system; speeding recovery.
With symptoms of extreme tiredness, fever, swollen lymph glands, and muscle aches (e.g. following a bout of the common flu), it’s best to allow yourself 2-4 weeks following resolution of symptoms before resuming intensive training. A long training run (e.g. for marathon training) is considered intensive training.