Training and racing during Covid-19

No one would like the situation we're in, but we're here and we need to make the best of it. A number of events have been and will be rescheduled in such a way that it might as well be a different event. It is very likely that large events through May or June will not be held, and potentially the entire summer season.

I would not want to take a shot at predicting any further, but it will all depend on if we as a world are able to contain, cure, vaccinate, eradicate, and what the timetable for all that is. Suffice it to say, the spring and summer seasons appears glum with regards to large scale athletic events. I am hopeful that things are under control for later summer and fall events.

What does that mean for you? While it will be personally disappointing to have to miss your planned events, it behooves you to maintain your healthy life and exercise routines. One part of having a strong immune system is being fit. Another is getting good sleep. A third revolves around a healthy diet and post workout nutrition. Lastly, avoid stress (bad for your health) and panic (bad for your mental state). There is a large piece of mental health involved with long periods of social isolation. Read more here. So all the things you are doing well now, you should keep doing.

Regarding training, my coach advice is to continue to train as if your event will not be cancelled, as well as possible. Make your race day a virtual event that you finish regardless. If it was a spring Ironman or 70.3, you could afford to shorten the actual distance somewhat to mitigate the impact on your immune system. For sprints & olympic distance triathlons and shorter running events, go ahead and complete as planned. Don't let this disruption stop you in your tracks. Things will return to normal.

We are going to face serious challenges regarding access to pools, gyms, and even group workouts. If you live near a lake, prepare for a lot of open water swimming. Now is a great time to organize that home gym you've been talking about. Equipment like TRX, swim cordz, kettlebells, and exercise balls can carry you through, especially with the vast library of free workouts on Youtube.

As endurance athletes we have the mental fortitude to do quite a bit (or all) of training alone, so you're ahead of the curve on this one.

Don't get discouraged or depressed about things that are beyond your control. Do the best you can, and keep on keeping on!

Stay safe, stay healthy, stay positive.

Marty Gaal, CSCS, is a USA Triathlon coach who lives in the Triangle area of North Carolina. Marty has been coaching endurance athletes since 2002. You can read more about OSB coaching services at

One Step Beyond is the producer of the Powerstroke®: Speed through force and form freestyle technique DVD, intended to help new to intermediate triathlon swimmers become faster and more powerful in the water.