Training in the Coronavirus Outbreak

by Coach Kurt J. Lindboom-Broberg, Team Rev3

Hi.  My name is Kurt.  (Hello Kurt)  I am a triathlete, triathlon coach, personal trainer, and biology professor living in New Haven, Connecticut.  And I am doing my best to train responsibly through the Coronavirus outbreak. 

In the wake of Coronavirus, it is important to both stay calm and to be conscious of the risks you take for yourself and others in your community.  Schools are closing, many businesses have moved to remote work if possible, gathering places have reduced capacity, and as of Saturday, March 15th, the CDC has recommended no gatherings of 50 or more people.  With all this extra time and seclusion in place, it is hard as an endurance athlete to ignore the inner desire to see this as an opportunity for more training. 

We can do it, but we need to be responsible.    

Swimming

Many gyms and pools have followed recommendations and closed.  A number of my athletes are no longer swimming, whether by personal choice or force.  In the meantime, for those in the northern US, we are working with exercise bands such as Stretch Cordz or similar to work on swim muscles.  You’ll be surprised how well this works to maintain swimming capability.

I also have one athlete in the south and open water swimming in the ocean is always an option.  It is always good to have back up plans. 

No matter what your situation is, please take the time to consider whether your choice of pool, open water, or other has any potential affect on potential contraction of COVID-19 to yourself or others in your community.  The safest route is to stay home and use your exercise bands.

Cycling

If you have an at home bike trainer, you are all set!  Plug in a movie, queue the latest streaming binge show, or crank the music and ride to your hearts content.  You are at home, practicing social distancing, and have all the time you want to enjoy your bike. 

If you attend any style of cycling classes, please consider not attending until after the CDCs recommendations change.  If you have the option to join a Peleton or similar class virtually from home, that is a much safer alternative. 

If you are equipped to ride outdoors in your area, this will always be an option.   I would not recommend joining your local large group ride, but for you or you and a friend, the road is the perfect area to practice safe social distancing and still enjoy your bike. 

Running

If you are a gym treadmill runner, I would recommend moving outdoors.  If you’re working remotely, you might be able to make use of time mid-day when the temperature is higher to enjoy a safe socially distanced run outdoors.

If you’re a group run runner, I would recommend suggesting or creating smaller groups.  Yes, group run members are social individuals, but let’s be health conscious and socially aware runners. 

If you are a solo, outdoor runner, then the Coronavirus outbreak apocalypse is your playground.  Run the roads, the trails, the tow paths, and more all to your personal enjoyment.

Training & Racing

Many races, both local and large scale, have been cancelled or postponed and many more will be.  Do not expect a race to be held until late May.  This may mean that you should reevaluate your training.  As a coach, some of my athletes have extended their base phase a few weeks, some have moved into a sport-specific block (cycling or running specific), while some will continue as planned.  If you were prepping for a race in March, April, or May, you can change gears, alter your training plan, and refocus on another race.  Racing any time before then – while always tempting – is not the best personal and public health choice.  Plus, additional training will leave you even better prepared to nail it on race day.

What have I been doing?

Now after all of that advice, what am I doing to be socially responsible?  I have ceased swimming and made more frequent use of my own stretch cordz and exercise bands at home.  As a swimmer, it’s hard for me to feel mentally okay away from water, but it is an easy choice for public health.  For cycling, my fiancé and I have continued using our bike trainers in our apartment though with some warmer weather recently, I am considering going outdoors for a ride soon.  For running, my apartment has a small gym and I have limited my use of the treadmill to low volume hours while making sure to wipe it down both before and after use.  Most of my recent runs however have been outdoors on my own where I have free reign of the roads to enjoy at my leisure (and momentarily pretend that nothing in the world has changed). 

Remember that training does not have to stop!  But for the older and less immunocompetent members of your community – both triathletes and non-triathletes – we need to be considerate and responsible.  Train on! …but safely.

My Regards,

Kurt Lindboom-Broberg

USAT-certified & RRCA-certified coach

NASM-certified personal trainer

Anatomy & Physiology professor

Rev3 Triathlon Ambassador, Flo Factory Team Member, BOCO apparel Ambassador, & Honey Stinger Ambassador

BONUS: How to Train for Free/Cheap

  • Peloton – 90 days free trial (No CC required using the phone app)
  • Planet Fitness classes live on FB (https://www.facebook.com/planetfitness/)
  • LA Fitness classes online (members only)
  • Lots of local studios and gyms offering streaming (check with them)
  • Rouvy = 14 days free (then $10/month)
  • Zwift = $14.95/month
  • TrainerRoad = $19.95/month

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