We know there’s plenty of cyclists out there who have had covid, in fact, there’s more of us who have had had it than haven’t! But one thing I’ve not seen much of, is how you’re supposed to get back to fitness, having had it. It’s an important discussion because too much too soon and you risk running yourself down further, and on the other end of the scale, some people just need a bit of a push to get back onto the bike.
So, here you’ll find a guide for returning to riding, having recently had covid-19.
We’ve been speaking to passionate roadie, and Derby County Football Club Head of Performance, Luke Jenkinson, who has used a similar protocol on his own return to riding and getting his players back match fit, post covid. The key metrics to stick to are the heart rate and power guidance for the first 7-10 days.
Please use the advice below to help you ease back in sensibly, and please listen to your own body and symptoms. An extra week off will do you far more good than bad, if your body requires it, so take your time.
You’ve just tested negative after your isolation period, you still feel a little tired and are not quite sure what to do with yourself, but you’ve not ridden your bike in ages and want to get back in the saddle.
Sub 70% max heart rate i.e max is 200bpm, keep HR below 140.
Sub 75% FTP i.e FTP = 250w, stay below 190w
(Note: this means don’t surge above 190w, not that you should average 190 for the ride)
15 minute gentle spin
Zone 1 (very easy)
Turbo trainer or outdoors (if it’s not too cold)
Flatter the better
You want to dip your toe in and see how your body responds to exercising again, so pay close attention
25 minute gentle spin
As above, stick to the prescribed HR & power zones
35 minute spin
Continue to listen to body but progress on if feeling good
Stick to HR & power zones
45 – 60 minute spin
Providing you are recovering well you can begin to put some effort into your rides, whilst:
Keeping HR below 80% of max, e.g if 200bpm, stay below 160 for the first 3-4 days
Continuing to assess soreness post session and adjust accordingly.
Look to build up gradually each session.
After 10 days of riding conservatively you may wish to ride a bit harder, and towards the end of week 2 start to push the heart rate a bit higher, if you’re feeling good.
Everyone is different, so please adjust accordingly and don’t be afraid to go at your own pace.
Happy riding and best wishes on your recovery from Team VB.