A magnificent evening for a run with the Sunners group from Atlantic Athletic Club. Pic by fellow runner Comfort

Hardboiled runners are notorious for sneaking out to exercise too soon after a medical intervention or injury lay-off.

For Wendy and me, the ‘bounce back’ question bubbled up even before we’d had our Pfizer Covid vaccine injections during the week.

These days, a swift return to training is nowhere near as dire as it was when we were competitive runners. Couple that reality with the dearth of organised races and you get the picture.

Vaccine run

We’d been hauled along by a close friend to the Western Cape Government’s Lentegeur hospital on the Cape Flats, leaving home well before the sun dared to show its smiley emoji replica. And what a fine experience the medical staff at the hospital shared with us.

The organisation was brilliant, the spirit of the medical and support staff was uplifting, and the process of dealing with over a thousand ‘mature’ injectees (some in wheelchairs) was handled with silky aplomb. I’m looking forward to having my second shot in a few weeks.

An important part of the process is to sit down and relax for 15 minutes after the administration of the vaccine. We were handed leaflets during that period providing us with useful information about the common mild side effects of the vaccine. These include a sore arm at the injection rite, fever or chills, headache, fatigue, muscle ache and nausea.

We were advised to contact our doctor or the Covid hotline (0860 142 142) if the listed side effects are severe or last longer than three days, or if a range of other indicators occur.

‘Side effects can start around 6 hours after the vaccine, peak at 24 hours and resolve in 2-3 days’ and ‘may be more noticeable if you are young, healthy or had COVID-19 before’.

Wendy and I had only the first of the side effects listed in the leaflet: a tender area around the injection site. That slight issue was similar to our reactions after our annual pre-winter ‘flu shots three weeks before. We were advised by the nursing sister to take two days off exercise after having had the ‘flu shot.

Staff at the hospital told us we could begin light exercise if we had no side effects. Our approach was slightly more circumspect as we both had tender left arms. I suspect the advice was given tongue-in-cheek as everyone is likely to have a tender arm around the area of the injection site.  

We laid off exercising for two days and missed two yoga classes and two runs (spoiler alert – we took a casual walk on the promenade on day two of our lay-off).

Recovery run after jab

My Wednesday evening outing with the Atlantic Athletic Club’s Sunners group billed as a ‘recovery’ run after our Tuesday evening track session, took place sans the writer. What a stunning evening I missed.

In my defence, I ventured out for a solo run on day three and thoroughly enjoyed the run along the flat expanse of the Sea Point Promenade. No wonder that in weather fair or foul, the number of runners exercising on the Atlantic coast can be measured in the hundreds.

Note: The information above should not be construed as medical advice. The writer and his wife are highly experienced athletes who competed for many years at national and provincial level.

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The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Safrea or its members.


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