Last time I had pneumonia, pretty much as soon as I was able to stand up, I started riding hard again. I pushed myself to regain my lost fitness as fast as possible, doing fast, hard rides almost immediately.
I also spent the next four months coughing during and after rides, sometimes so hard and uncontrollably I could barely breathe. It was not fun.
That experience is in the front of my mind as I try to recover effectively this time around. I really want to get back to my former level of fitness, but I don’t think last time was the best approach.
This time I’m trying a different recovery method: slow and steady. I’m riding, but being really strict with myself about not breathing hard. Speed isn’t a factor; my lungs tell me what’s too fast. If I find myself starting to get an elevated heart and breathing rate, I back off, regardless of how fast I’m going.
I’m forcing myself to stick with this plan through the end of May. That gives me most of the month the doctor said I would need to fully recover.
I’m getting better, though: I’ve started wanting to chase some faster guys and push harder on hills. Soon enough.
…I just have to exercise the discipline to stick with this plan when riding with faster guys.