Answer: You don't.
I don't care how healthy you are, how tough you are, how physically fit you are, the flu knocks your body to the ground and does a double body slam. Then it crushes your lungs and takes your physical abilities way, way back to the day you first started the quest for that elusive thing called "The Marathon".
I've had the flu twice now. The first time I was in my early 20's. Wasn't a runner then, wasn't even very physically active except of the occasional trip to the gym. After all, I was in my 20s. Had the flu for a week, took two weeks to feel "back to normal."
This go round, the flu itself wasn't that bad. It couldn't be. I didn't have time to be sick because my poor husband REALLY had the flu and I needed to be well to take care of him. My last good run was on a Friday, 14 miles. Started running a fever on Saturday. Today, it's Friday and I've only managed a few miles on the treadmill in a week's time. My lungs are shot, still coughing. My congestion is gone and my energy level is returning, however, I'm not 'bouncing' back.
It's going to take time and I don't like that!! I've done everything right - nutrition, hydration, sleep. Obviously, I should have been able to run at least ten miles today, right? Right?
Yes, it's frustrating, however, I know..I KNOW... it's going to take at least another week for my lungs to be back to 'normal'. I won't give up, it's not in my vocabulary. Therefore, the answer is, you do not jump back into marathon training, it's simply one day at a time, one step at a time, one breath at a time.
After all... I AM A MARATHONER!!!
And. I have goals!
1) Climb Machu Pichu
2) RocknRoll marathon Montreal
3) TCS New York Marathon
4) breathe normally
5) Celebrate Easter - This list is actually backwards somewhat but that's okay.
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