COVID-19 Has Made Marathon Training Harder
I’ve been learning the hard way that recovery from COVID-19 is in some ways reminiscent of dealing with sarcoidosis.
After being diagnosed with COVID-19 in early January, quickly obtaining monoclonal antibodies to aid in my recovery, and then completing a 20-day isolation period due to my immunocompromised state, I was very excited to get back outside.
Prior to my COVID-19 diagnosis, I was training for my first marathon in May. In November, I hope to run the famous New York City Marathon, and the upcoming May marathon would be a chance to learn how it feels to run such a long distance.
Running has taught me plenty about managing pain, and I love the challenge of running with pulmonary sarcoidosis. But I had never run quite that far before. I have run three half-marathons of just over 13 miles, which weren’t easy, but the thought of doubling that was a challenge I was looking forward to.
I have no idea whether finishing the run is even possible with my version of pulmonary sarcoidosis, but the best way to find out is to try. While I certainly want to finish the marathon, the journey of seeing what is possible with sarcoidosis is admittedly the appeal of my attempt.
But then came COVID-19, which took almost a month of my training time away from me. After isolation and various negative COVID-19 tests, I’m finally cleared to train again. But it’s tough!
While I haven’t experienced any long COVID-19 symptoms, such as brain fog, I have been struggling mightily with fatigue and insomnia. Both had been prior challenges with sarcoidosis, though I generally had managed them fairly well. But after COVID-19, insomnia and fatigue went from occasionally challenging to downright awful. And when you struggle with insomnia and fatigue, you are bound to struggle with training.
I am slowly running again, though I am measuring running by the amount of time I run, versus the number of miles. Today I was able to run 45 minutes without stopping, which I consider a successful run post-COVID-19. However, just a month ago, I would run much longer than that without difficulty.
Admittedly, today wasn’t that tough all in all, but it is clear that I need a lot more training before I am truly comfortable running or ready for a marathon. So, I am now in an interesting period of training and testing my limits.
I need to run to get my body in shape for the marathon. I must push myself to have a shot of meeting my goal. But I also must be mindful of not pushing myself too hard or fast.
I suppose that’s the nature of any exercise program: If you don’t push yourself hard enough, then you might not get the results you seek. But if you push yourself too hard, then you might find yourself injured.
My 16-week marathon training plan is now a 12-week plan. From chatting with more experienced runners, it sounds like I might still be able to pull this marathon off, but it won’t be easy. Truth be told, whether I am ultimately successful or not, I am really excited to attempt it.
But hey, when it comes to sarcoidosis, and now COVID-19, when is it ever easy?
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