COVID-19 and a return to running

There is no need to litigate the devastating affects that the COVID-19 pandemic is having on individuals health and well-being, every countries health care system and the world economy again here. The tragedy and the travesty of the response have been well documented in multiple places. The pandemic has also led to an incredible amount of misinformation, conspiracy theories and outright lies about it. Social media commentary is often given greater weight than what a preponderance of the experts are saying. This has consequences for the individual and society as a whole when it comes to dealing with this problem. For sport, this has led to the cancellation of sporting events from the Olympics all the way down to community sport. For runners all the major marathons have been cancelled. The return to sport following the COVID-19 lockdowns will need to be carefully managed.

There have been numerous reports in the media of runners who developed COVID-19. Most cases are asymptomatic or mild and clear up as part of the natural history of the condition. however, a significant minority of runners who get COVID-19 are having major problems despite their relatively young age and their high levels of fitness and health. It certainly is not as what you see often claimed in the media and on social media as it “just a flu”. The effects of COVID-19, especially on the lungs of the health causing a shortness of breath are being reported as persistent for months in these runners. They are generally not able to run despite having recovered from the initial infection as they are just so short of breath. The return to running for this group of runners is going to be hard and take a long time. What is not known if they can actually fully recover as that research has not just been done. Nothing is known about the long term complications of COVID-19 yet. Given that these healthy runners, with good lungs, are finding it so hard, this should be of concern to everyone. This is further evidence that we should be following the advice of the preponderance of the real experts and not some random media commentators or social media posts. Stay safe.