Training in the Time of Coronavirus

It is a strange time in the world, and many athletes in the various countries affected by the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) are starting to see it affect our usual modes of training. For instance, cycling has been banned in Spain, movement restrictions have been implemented in many other places, and it seems to be vital to #FlattenTheCurve and keep medical services from being overwhelmed by number of cases to #StayTheFuckHome.

But even as we adhere to quarantine and social distancing guidelines in the places we live, continuing to train and staying active is one way we can remain healthy both physically as well as mentally.

Here are some ideas for how to continue to train indoors in the time of Coronavirus.

Swim

If your neighbourhood pool has not been closed yet and you are not under home quarantine it might be worthwhile to get some pool time in.

However, you do need to make sure you wash your hands, as the virus is known to stick around on surfaces for a while. You may not be exposed while in the water (pool treatments kill viruses and other microbes), but once you get out of the pool is a different story.

One alternative to swimming -- and it’s only a partial one -- is training using swim cords or resistance bands, and turning to the dryland workouts swimmers use to boost their arm and core strength.

Try this workout with swim cords:

Complete each exercise once, rest for 30 seconds, and then repeat the entire circuit a total of 4 to 12 times (10-30 minutes).

  • Bent-Over Two-Arm Pull with Resistance Cord (30 secs)
  • Prone Flutter Kick (30 secs)
  • Bent-Over Alternating Single-Arm Pull with Resistance Cord (30 secs)
  • Supine Flutter Kick (30 secs)
dryland strength exercises for swimming

In the video above, MX Endurance swim expert and head coach of Effortless Swimming Brenton Ford takes you through some exercises that will increase your strength and power in the water.

  • Arm pulses (60-90 secs)
  • Push Ups (5-20 reps)
  • Crunches (45-90 secs)

Brenton also presents 10 things to do while your pool is closed.

To get the full cardio equivalent of a swim workout, it might be better to turn to bike or run workouts (or if you have access to a rowing machine, rowing!).

Bike

Macca on indoor vs. outdoor training

We’re sure athletes who live where winter drives them indoors half the year are quite used to this sort of situation. Also, in the past few years due to difficulty training on open roads, we’ve seen more and more athletes -- including the professionals -- turn to indoor bike training. With Zwift and other platforms it’s also easier to plug and play a workout simulating course elevations and conditions, and there’s opportunity to make things social and competitive with virtual racing and virtual group rides. You can actually get quite a good workout in on a trainer, since there’s no coasting and you’re constantly pedalling.

In the video above, Chris McCormack talks about how much of training one can do indoors versus outdoors. While he doesn’t encourage all workload to be done on a trainer, he recognises that it sometimes needed to be done.

If you are using an indoor trainer, you need to be specific in the workload with time- and effort- (or power-) based intervals and targets to hit. You can also use this time to spin and focus on little things you need to tidy up, such as pedalling, strength, and position issues.

Many of our bike sessions in our MX Endurance training plans as well as the individual bike sessions in our video library can be easily transformed into indoor trainer sessions.

Run

Depending on the availability of a treadmill at home or conditions of quarantine, you may or may not be able to run during this time. Treadmills are easy as you can run any kind of session on them.

Chris McCormack discusses a favourite treadmill workout "Roli-Polies"

But if you can’t go for a run, the best thing you can do during this time is cross-training.

One easy way of cross-training is just to add more time on the bike. While the movements are not the same, cycling works many of the same major muscle groups and also helps maintain your cardiovascular fitness so that when it’s time to get back on the road, you won’t be left gasping for breath.

Another way is to do some much needed physical training to work on your core strength, shoulder and hip flexibility, and other movement imbalances you may not usually have time to work on during a normal season. Our Sportoga video sessions available in the MX Endurance library offer a great starting point for this sort of work.

As we live through these challenging times, know that the same mental disciplines you use in endurance sport can apply. Chris McCormack has often said, "Control the things you can control, and ride out of the storm."

Want to find out what MX Endurance is all about? Use the code MXFREETRIAL to enjoy your first month for free!