Recovering From the Flu

Hey forum,

Looking for advice and experiences recovering from heavy sickness. Especially when it results in a FTP reduction.

At the end of SSB HV2 i took my Ramp test at the start of Sustained Power 1, went from 328 to 341 (Yay) completed the Hard workout on wednesday Wilhelm +5 (5 minutes at 108% x7) Felt a little off going into it, but figured i’d just see how i felt. I completed it just fine, but then as soon as it was over i felt like crap. Not the usual post workout buzz. And went through the full regime of flu symptoms the next 4 days, spending all day saturday and sunday in bed. (Which i never normally do when i get sick) did an easy ride on monday when i was feeling better, tuesday, completed Mills+3 (fading 2 minute Vo2 efforts x11) it was difficult, but manageable. Wednesday, endurance. Thursday, failed Wilhelm +5. Only made it through 3 out of 7 intervals before pulling the plug. easy ride friday saturday sunday, Monday, failed Wilhelm again. only making it through 2 intervals this time.

I’ve finally stopped trying to be stubborn. I thought since i completed Mills (Vo2 Max repeats) that i didn’t need to reduce my FTP, but i played around with different intensities tonight for 5 minute intervals after failing Wilhelm, and sweet spot and threshold only feel correct if i base them off my old FTP of 328.

My intent is to basically take it 1 week at a time, going back to workouts from my Sweet Spot Base, maybe mixing in 1-2 days of intensity in a week, bumping up my FTP 3-5+ watts each week and seeing if i can get back to 341. Then take a rest week, and start Sustained Power fresh at that point.

I figure since i got to 341 from all sweet spot intervals, i should be able to regain the aerobic and muscular endurance adaptations from those same workouts.

But any other approaches that people have taken after illness/ftp reductions would be greatly appreciated.


Best advice, don’t rush it.

I had something very similar but the workout that took me down was Palisade -2 in week 5 of SSB MV1. I tried coming back too early a couple of times which just meant it took five weeks to actually get better (I eventually decided to just rest after about 2.5 / 3 weeks of sickness).

Ramp Test tonight to get back to it then starting SSB LV1, I’m expecting to have lost everything so am just going to start again, no events this year as I’ve had to cancel my A event so I’ve got time to play with.

For this comment I am assuming you had influenza and not just some random viral illness.

When my patients (older adults with chronic lung disease) get influenza if they don’t die I tell them to expect to cough and have no energy for weeks. My guess is that this process will take at least a month before you feel anywhere close to where you were when you switched from SSB to sustained power build. I think your approach is sound, make sure you focus on good nutrition, and drink plenty of water. Don’t set your expectations too high. Focus more on building your routine back to where it once was and don’t fret over the power numbers for a few weeks.


Many where I live have had/are experiencing a 3-4 week virus that is not associated with influenza. We all generally have exhibited the same pattern of symptoms: cough, chest, head congestion but, no fever, aches or chills and sever fatigue that influenza usually manifests. Influenza is going around and interestingly the one that I can think of that came down with it caught it quick, got a script for Tamiflu, and was back at it in less than a week. In some ways the virus we’ve all been experiencing is worse from a meso training perspective.

@Kovacic what @WTriathlete said. For me it was 3 weeks completely off and then basically starting over. FTP went down but, more importantly durability and matches are way off. What I’ve seen happen to those who try and come back from this virus too soon is bronchitis.


Glad to hear Tamiflu works somewhere, we’ve never been too impressed with it in NC. Lots of viruses can be pretty nasty. Parainfluenza, metapneumovirus to name a few. I’ve even seen rhinovirus cause ARDS several times even though we were taught in med school it just caused the common cold. Hopefully our treatments for viruses will be better in a generation or so…

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I’m curious, did you get a flu shot?

@ackvor i did not. because I’m young and invincible. or so i thought.

I never normally get a flu shot. but might be changing that next year.

I’ve been lucky enough to have both strains. Influenza B (Nov 2019) and now A. Looking back I was out from work for a full week with B-strain, but was on the bike exactly 10 days after my diagnosis. I’m now 10 days post diagnosis with A-strain and am no where near ready to get back to training. The main difference between the two strains is that I’m having a lot of post-flu cough with A-strain, that wasn’t the case with B-strain. B-strain elicited much worse body aches and headache, but I seemed to get over it faster. 6 or so days and all symptoms subsided. However, with A-strain I have a lingering cough that on occasion will produce mucus.

I got a check up yesterday because my throat was sore and confirmed I had gotten strep while having influenza. I’m a lucky guy! However, the doc said my lungs sound good.

I’m not ready to get back to my normal exercise routine as they are crackly when I laugh or cough and, as I said earlier, I’m able to get mucus up at times. I think this round of flu has ravaged my respiratory system in a way that B-strain didn’t.

I’ll be happy if I’m on the bike 14 days post diagnosis this time around. I need this cough to get better.

Don’t hold yourself to any 14-day timeline. Rest if you still need it. I had a multi-week virus once (probably a flu bug), stopped riding entirely for a few weeks. Ended up on antibiotics, felt better, and went for an easy-ish ride on a sunny day. That was enough to knock my system down and I ended up with a relapse of the same bug for weeks more. Lesson learned is that the only time I work out when sick is if it was something minor and I’m on the rebound. And even then, I only do a very light, low intensity workout just to use the legs a little without stressing the body at all. Let your body fully recover after something more serious like the flu. It’s a bit frustrating, but a much better option than compounding your health issues.

Honestly, if you were back on the bike after 4 days, I doubt you had influenza.

But it doesn’t really matter what it was, the advice is to take it really easy and don’t rush it. If you’re not feeling up to it, it’s probably too early.

FWIW, I did exactly what you think off, was ill just before ssb2, backed all intensities down and the slowly increased them throughout the training block. At the end of the block, I felt strong enough to bump ftp a bit.

No sir, I’m not. I’m saying, IF I do get back on within 14-days of diagnosis I will feel fortunate. I’ve learnt my lesson with trying to train through illness…won’t ever repeat that again.

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Agreed. Having had the flu twice in the last 4 months I can attest that there’s no way I would have been able to ride 4 days later. Hell, I was carrying a fever both times for 5+ days. I know everyone is different, but still.