How To Train During COVID-19 For Cyclists, Runners, & Triathletes

Three months ago, we were preparing for 2020 and for one of the most exciting and defining years we’ve had since opening our doors. Today, we’re faced with a different situation. COVID-19 has made it’s way into our homes and communities, and is drastically changing the way we live our lives. Our families, health, careers, homes, and businesses are all at risk and this can put things like cycling or training on the back burner. In times of uncertainty, like this, we believe it’s important to stay strong, be kind, help others, and keep riding. Don’t quit, we will get through this. This blog article discusses the ways we can help ourselves and our cycling community.

Why Train During COVID-19 Quarantine?

During times of uncertainty, it’s easy to feel down or depressed, especially when the races we’ve been training for are getting postponed or even cancelled. It’s also unclear if or when these races will be rescheduled. So why continue to train? Training provides us with more than just getting faster for a race, exercising, like riding a bike, has several benefits including:

  • decreased stress levels
  • reduced anxiety and depression
  • increased cardiovascular fitness
  • increased muscle strength and flexibility
  • improved joint mobility
  • improved posture and coordination
  • strengthened bones
  • decreased body fat levels
  • prevention or management of disease

We recognize now more than ever, that good health is important so if our lives are turned upside down with COVID-19, we have the option to stay consistent and continue to ride for our health.

Plus, once this is all over, you will be on top of your game and ready to race.

Training Safely During COVID-19 Quarantine

At FLO, we’re following the recommendations provided by the CDC and WHO in an effort to do our part to the best of our ability. We can’t emphasize enough, please practice social distancing and wash your hands. Luckily, you can still train for a cycling event or a triathlon while following those guidelines. We discuss more below.

Cycling – Indoors

One cycling option is to stay indoors and ride a trainer. Riding a trainer at home provides a great workout and control over your environment. If you’d like to still be social, you can FaceTime a friend while riding or use apps, like Zwift, to ride along with others, virtually.

Cycling – Outdoors

The great thing about riding outdoors is that most of our riding is in an area where we are not close to others. I’m sure we all know the rules around drafting. For road cyclists, explore and find a road that takes you to more remote areas and away from others. There are fewer cars on the roads these days too, making some roads much safer than normal. For gravel cyclists and mountain bikers, you’re used to the remote areas, but this might be a great time to find a new course, or take a drive to a different location that you may not frequent often. Replace your commuting time with riding time. We do, however, recommend forgoing the group rides and riding solo or riding just with your quarantine mates. This is a great time to catch up on the FASTER by FLO podcast, listen to music, or take in the scenery.

Running – Indoors

If you have a treadmill, this is pretty self explanatory. Running indoors follows the same principles as indoor cycling, it’s a great training tool and you have control over your environment. There are running apps that can help make things more social or you can rock out to some music or binge that show on Netflix everyone has been talking about.

Running – Outdoors

Running outdoors is currently being advised as safe as long as you are keeping yourself at safe distances from people. Trail running and running on paths are great ways to get outdoors and enjoy yourself while keeping a safe distance. Please note, that running alone can be dangerous for some, especially women. Please take precautionary measures like always letting someone know where you’re going, wearing a trackable device, and trusting your intuition.

Swimming – Indoors

At this point, it’s recommend that all public pool swimming stop. Most pools in the country have already closed so this will prevent most people from swimming anyway. If you have an endless pool, you are in good shape for pool swimming.

Swimming – Outdoors

Currently, the relationship with water and COVID-19 it is being actively researched at this time. The Surfrider Foundation posted an article stating, “The virus has been shown to remain viable and infectious, at least temporarily, in natural freshwater environments including lakes and streams. While dilution is suspected to keep the risk low, high concentrations of the viable COVID-19 virus could put freshwater recreation users at risk. There was no information shared on the ability of the COVID-19 virus to remain viable in saltwater, so it’s unclear if swimming at saltwater beaches elevates the risk of contracting COVID-19. However, communal spread is a serious issue so spending time at popular beaches, if in close contact to other beachgoers, will increase your risk.” You check out this article to learn more about open water swimming. At this time, we would not recommend hitting the beaches, rivers or lakes anytime soon.

Take Your Family With You

If you’ve followed FLO, you know that Chris and I both have dogs that love to explore. Yes, pets are family. Allowing your pets to run along side you while you ride or run is a great way to keep them in shape and keep you company. Currently the American Veterinary Medical Association is stating that there is no evidence that dogs can get COVID-19 or pass it to other animals including humans. It is recommend that you wash their feet and bare skin on their stomachs if they have been out.  If your pet is not used to long distances or different surfaces, take some precautionary measures and make sure to take it slowly, provide adequate hydration and look after their paws.

The outdoors is a great place for kids to learn and stay occupied without a screen. Since most schools are closed, it can be difficult to keep your kids entertained for long periods of time. For the young ones, strollers and bike seats are great options. If you have older kids, ask them to run or ride with you. It can be a great time for bonding and teaching them skills to cope during this time.

What Matters Most

Information is coming at a rapid pace right now and it can be hard to wrap yourself around all the regulations and recommendations. We don’t know how long this could last, some experts are predicting through summer, which means that we’re quarantined through most of 2020. Remember, as much as things seem out of control, there are still things that we can do to experience normalcy. Training is one of those things.

We are fortunate to live in a day to have the ability to connect virtually. We can continue to encourage our teammates and offer advice or help when needed. This is a great time to jump into forums, create conversations on social media posts, listen to podcasts and read blog articles. If you see a question on a cycling or triathlon forum, offer help if you can, be positive and support others any way we can. Let’s not resort to trolling, criticizing or violence.

We are strong believers in helping others. We have a responsibility to follow the guidelines proposed by the experts at the CDC and WHO. These recommendations are here to not only protect us, but others as well. If we can slow the process by training safely and responsibly, we must.

Today, and everyday, we have choice to accept what we are given and realize that this too will pass. We have the tools to cope with whatever is thrown our way and we can make the world a better place. Most of this for us is uncharted territory and together, I believe we can succeed. Stay strong, don’t quit and don’t stop training!