MAF Post Covid-19 infection

by Nizam
(Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia)

I'm 43 y.o and has been running since 2016. On early feb, i started my 3 months MAF at 137bpm. After a few weeks I can see some improvement on both of my pace and HR. I was in my 2nd month when I got Covid and I decided to take a rest for a week. When I started again, I reduce my target HR to 132bpm (137-5 as advised). I was struggling to maintain my target HR, my performance was even worse than before. I had to walk more or if i made a super slow run, I can only manage for a few meters. I would like to ask a few question
1. Is that normal for a post covid. Will I get back to my previous form, or can get better? How long will it takes?
2. Should I take a long break from running (2-3 weeks)?
3. How long should I use 132bpm as my HR limit
4. Should I restart my 3 months MAF training.

Thanks in advance. Sorry for too many questions. I began to give up running already.

Nicole's reply:
Hi Nizam, thanks for the question and I'm sorry to hear that you had COVID.

There are so many unknowns with COVID and there are so many variables on how your body might react and how quickly it might recover.

I am not a doctor so would not be happy to give you any medical advice but if it was me, here's what I would do:

1. Check first with your doctor that s/he is happy for you to start back doing some sport.

2. Start back really slowly and by that I mean "walking". Start with a day on and then a day off for at least a week. I know that might be frustrating but your body is trying to heal itself and if you push it too quickly, you risk pushing your health even further backwards.

3. Do short walks and build them up gradually. When you feel able to run, go right back to when you started MAF training. 15 minutes warm up and 15 minutes cool down and a short MAF jog in the middle. You already took 5 beats off which is good, but I would consider taking off 10 to start with.

4. Get plenty of rest/sleep, drink plenty of fluids and listen to your body. If you feel tired or out of breath, stop and take another rest day or go back to walking. You will know what feels right for you so listen to your body.

5. Only when you feel fully recovered should you go back to your target heart rate of 137 beats.

I hope that helps and that you have a very speedy recovery and are back running again soon.

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