Running to Berlin, Weeks 8 & 9: Covid Strikes

Marathon training or not, running comes second during a family vacation. My plan during our ten days away from home was merely to get in two quality runs at some point, and then jog whenever I could to top the volume as much as possible. Well, assuming I could stay healthy. Then covid strikes.

Of course, that was the best case scenario. It didn’t exactly go like that. Halfway into the vacation, I woke up several times at night. Alternating between cold sweats, overheating, and just feeling achy all over, I knew I was in trouble.

A positive covid test the following day confirmed my suspicions. The focus switched then and there from getting some runs in, to surviving the remainder of the vacation without ruining it for everyone.

Weekly Summary — Week 7

  • Total Distance Run: 89 km (55 miles)
  • Long Run: Pushed to the following Monday because of family vacation plans
  • Workout 1: 6 x 2000 meters @ 3:43-35/km (5:58-47/mile) w/ 200 meter jog recoveries
  • Workout 2: 4 x 3 km @ 4:10-3:55/km (6:42-18/mile) with 1 min recovery

The meagre total running volume for this week was down to no long run. Because of our vacation plans, I had to push my ordinary Sunday long to Monday.

Bad stats in the training log always bother me, but other than that, it was actually a solid week of training.


Because vacation began this week, I made some adjustments to my training from day one. Instead of doubling, I did a slightly longer run on Monday. It was, of course, easy. As you prefer on a Monday.


I skipped my regular easy, short run on Tuesday, as well. Instead, I only did my planned workout.

Because our youngest has been acting up during bedtime, it’s been hard to get out for our club workouts the past weeks. I hope to be back over summer, but for now, I’m doing these workouts solo.

The one good thing about that, is that I can make them slightly longer than our club workouts tend to be. This time around, I opted for 6 x 2000 meters.

From the get go, I felt in control. Much better than I’ve felt for the last couple of workouts. I decided to run from what I’ve determined to be around my current marathon pace (3:45/km or 6:02/mile) and progress slightly throughout. I ended up with the following times:

  1. 7:26
  2. 7:25
  3. 7:23
  4. 7:18
  5. 7:15
  6. 7:11

As I increased the intensity a bit from the fourth rep, I found it cost a little too much to be a true “green light” day (I wrote about my traffic light system for workouts in last week’s report) and decided to stick to the plan.

Looking at my numbers aftwards, the workout may have been slightly too hard. 

More than half an hour in zone 4 is more demanding than what I’m aiming for during these workouts. Still, based on feel, this was right where I wanted to be. C’est la vie! 


Nothing special on Wednesday. Two easy recovery jogs, though the morning run showed that the workout had been more demanding than I’d estimated throughout.

An exceedingly modest pace felt challenging. My legs were stiff and achy, far more than normal.


Before embarking on our trip, I wanted to get in another easy workout. To push the legs a little harder than I normally would on a Thursday, because I knew at this point that the rest of the week would be easy.

I opted for four reps on a 3 kilometre “loop” in the neighbourhood. Nothing particularly demanding, or even near marathon effort. I just wanted to push a little.

The pace progressed from 4:10-3:55/km or 6:42-18/mile, and it was not particularly demanding. In fact, I barely squeezed out of heart rate zone 2.

Normally, I don’t really do structured workouts in the upper aerobic range. But, as my fitness increases, hitting the required pace in long and medium long runs becomes increasingly challenging. Because I was going to do a significant amount of driving the next couple of days, I didn’t want to beat my legs up completely. Hence, a slightly less demanding approach.


“Rest” day, but only if somehow you consider 12 hours of travelling by car and ferry with kids aged 1 and 3 resting. 😉


A short and easy morning run with a couple of other family dads in our travelling party. We wanted to get familiar with the area, and see if there were some nice areas for running. There were plenty!


Another easy run, this one to warm up for a full day at Legoland—the most famous Danish theme park. Probably! I scoped out this stretch of road for my long run the following day. It included a fair bit of work at marathon pace, so the pancake flat road was perfectly suited for the task.

Weekly Summary — Week 8

  • Total Distance Run: 34 km (21 miles)
  • Long Run: 26.5 km (16.4 miles) @4:07/km (6:37/mile) with 14 km (8.7 miles) @ Marathon Effort (3:44/km — 6:00/mile)

Not the training week I wanted. I only got in two meagre runs before covid hit me. From that point on, running was never an option.


At the very least, I got in a solid specific long run workout before falling ill. After my legs weren’t quite ready for a specific long run a couple of weeks back, I was nervously excited to find out if my fitness had progressed enough to tackle a solid workout like this.

A couple of kilometres into the specific segment of the run, I really hit my stride. Popping off kilometres at close to 3:40s felt comfortable. After turning around, I noticed that the sidewind had been slightly in my favour on the way out. Obviously, I paid for that in the back half.

Still, I managed to keep the pace well enough. Heart rate was about where it usually sits for an extended period of marathon effort. All in all, a great workout, and it left me feeling good about what’s to come.


After catching up with the other dads (also my friends going back two decades and more) over a few beers the night before, we left this run a bit late. The heat wave hit Denmark this morning, too, so it was hot as well.

Still, I felt as good (or bad, depending on the framing) as you’d expect given the circumstances. Apart from a slightly sore throat, there were no signs of what’s to come.


Covid, day 1: Around midnight, I woke up with a full body ache. It felt like every pain receptor around my body had been activated at a low, but insistent level.

Later, I woke again, trembling cold despite the heat. At that point, I realised what was going on. By 4 AM when my alarm went off to ensure I caught the Athletic World Champs men’s 1500m, I was dripping with fever sweat.

“I guess I’m not running tomorrow” was the last thing I thought before going back to sleep. I barely got out of bed the rest of the day.


Covid, day 2: Still feverish. In bed most of the day.


Covid, day 3: Travelling back home. The fever had, thankfully, passed by this point. With a solid dose of painkillers, I could function well enough to drive across Denmark.


Covid, day 4: Last leg of our return journey. Health status the same as the day before. I knew at this point that I wasn’t going to be back running anytime soon.


Covid, day 5: Both kids were healthy at this point. My wife was not. I was slowly, but surely improving, but nowhere near well enough to get back to jogging. Painkillers were still necessary to get me on my feet to keep up with the kids.

At this point, the Berlin Marathon 2022 is nine weeks away—and I’ve just spent the last five days not running at all. How will this impact my race plans? Will I even recover in time to train again before the race? Earlier in the year, I spent nearly a month out of commission with a similar respiratory infection.

As of writing this, I honestly have no idea. But rest assured that I will come back with weekly updates in the remaining nine weeks before the Berlin Marathon. You can sign up for the Run161 Newsletter below if you want to keep up with how it goes.


July 27, 2023


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