Performance Triathlon Coach Steve Davis has a Degree in Science, majoring in Microbiology, and worked for 10 years a microbiologist before becoming a full time Triathlon Coach. Here, Coach Steve shares his tips on safe, and socially responsible triathlon training safety guidelines.
We are in uncharted territory right now, but the one thing that I keep saying to all athletes is that it is so important to get out in the fresh air and sunshine to help your mental and physical wellbeing.
Obviously we have to maintain the social distancing regulations that have been put in place and stay away from squad sessions if showing any symptoms of the virus. To maintain peace of mind, however, and help to bolster your immunity and recovery, it is vitally important that you keep your training going and give your body the best chance to stay strong and resilient as you move through pre-season into your specific target race training phases.
Races will start up again in the near future, and it is in the best interest of every athlete to drop back training load and intensity to a pre-season build style phase with the focus being on fun and interesting training without FOMO.
To help athletes and coaches keep squad sessions going responsibly for as long as possible, it is recommended that the following practices are brought into every squad environment.
While I feel that pools will be closing sooner rather than later, while the pools remain open, then we should encourage swim squads to continue.
- Chlorine is an effective killer of the virus so all in-water activity is safe.
- Recommend that swimmers come to the pool already in swim-wear, then at the end of the session, towel dry and put on some clothes and shower and dress back at home or work. This will remove the need to congregate in change rooms.
- Recommend that all swimmers maintain 1.5m between each other when finishing sets and resting.
- Reduce the intensity of the sessions to help reduce the respiratory output of the athletes.
Once the pools do close, then shift to the open water where possible. Please contact your local governing body around open water safety and regulations.
Where open water is not possible due to location or temperature, then land based swim-specific S&C and mobility is an excellent way to maintain or improve both swim technique and strength. At Davey Black Triathlon, we have online S&C sessions available and are moving to live streaming of our S&C and Yoga classes to help deliver each athletes training goals direct to their lounge room if required.
Getting out into the countryside with your bike and squad mates is a great way to maintain your fitness and sanity. A group ride almost self regulates given that you are rarely in close contact with other riders. A few key points to consider though would be as follows:
- Maintain a distance of 1.5m between every rider both while riding and while stationary at lights and when stopped.
- I wholeheartedly encourage you to head to the local cafes for coffee and breakfast. These small businesses are really going to need our help right now. However, it is advisable to maintain the 1.5m rule when inside the cafe.
- When inside a cafe or stopping for a toilet break, leave all helmets, gloves and any other equipment out in the open air, preferably in a sunny spot as sunlight is a great killer of the virus.
- Ensure that you have all the necessary tools and skills to fix any of your own mechanical failures from a flat tire to a broken chain.
- Be sensible around the size of the group ride. If necessary, break the group up into two or three seperate bunches.
Running is a great way to get out into the open air and see things that you have taken for granted in your local area.
It is a bit easier to congregate closely together in a run squad than it is to do in a group ride, so be consciously aware of how close you are standing to one another, and maintain at least the 1.5m rule while running and while stationary.
Some other ideas to help with social distancing in a run squad are as follows:
- Break up into smaller groups to do your active and dynamic warm ups.
- At the end of the session, ensure that you do not give high fives or pats on the back to your team mates, regardless of how well they have nailed the session.
- When doing warm up or cool down drills that require touching a stabilising object, try to adapt the drill so that no contact with external objects is required.
- When discarding outer layers such as jackets or beanies, place them on the ground rather than on other objects like fences or benches that are more likely to be touched by others.
- Never share drink bottles
- Find a safe and secure location for your valuables that does not require pooling into a central location.
Outside of these recommendations, I cannot stress enough the importance of attending your local small businesses and keeping your eyes peeled for people in your community that may be struggling.
Stay safe, listen to the credible medical advice being given, be kind, maintain your own mental health and jump into your physical health with intention and enthusiasm.
We will get through this. We cannot physically stick together, but if we are there to support our friends and to support anyone who looks like they need it, then we will all be a better society on the other side of this.