How does training and competing affect our immune system?

Hi all,

This came up at my running club, and a few posters in the Covid thread asked about it. As it’s an interesting subject and @chad and @Nate_Pearson have often touched on the subject I thought I’d spin up a thread.

This is a recent article:

And a paper published last year in the a journal of Sport and Health Science

EDIT - the graph that was here is disputed by the paper

The science on this subject does seem to be developing, so there may be a ways to go before achieving certainty.



I also want to know about going to races… Unfortunately we all have questions and not very many answers.

Immune system as far as I know is overall stronger in cyclists but is definitely weakened when us cyclists enter the racing/overkill-training portion of the season… I think we all know when that feeling hits us where we get vulnerable to illness.

So skip the racing this year and just keep a steady even TSS and hour-based ramp rate??

Im not sure it’s saying skip racing altogether, but I have a marathon in 6 weeks and my immune system would definitely be impacted by that.

I don’t think you’re getting the same impact in a 30-60min road race or crit.

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that’s true… i hate crits in general… 2-3 hour RR are more fun to me… lol


Great information! Thank you.

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Im deciding what to do this weekend - v02 or SS.

I think i will go with SS as i am still having to commute to work on packed trains :frowning:

Seems like since most races are getting canceled it dumb to load up on training stress. Better perhaps to just go into a maintenance cycle on the cycle and bring in some more flexibility and strength work.


Worth a read in the current situation…


Good article, comforting to know that I have a slightly better chance of not acquiring Covid 19.

Can anyone summarise, in non-medical plain English, the key conclusions of the report as they relate to TrainerRoad users?

I read it but soon got lost in the jargon!

This chart sums it all up:


The report from research done in 2018, is a bit easier to read and concludes that strenuous exercise is good for the immune system. Let’s get stuck in!


This happened because I merged his other, separate post. I could have just closed the other one and added the pointer to here, but I though a merge to pull the replies in the other thread all together here.


Ah, that explains it. Thought forum users were losing their minds for a sec :grin:


I know it can get confusing with merged threads, but I think it’s better than multiple separate threads.


Can we get a definition of what “Moderate exercise” means? There’s a lot of room for interpretation there. For those of use that are used to doing structured training we might consider 3x20 @ Sweet Spot to be a moderate session, but could that realistically be labeled under “Heavy exertion”?

What do you consider moderate (Endurance all the way up to Sweet Spot?) versus heavy (Threshold, vO2max, AWR, Sprints)

Ugh, doing Juneau -1 (4x18 SS) today wiped me out and was by no means moderate. Felt like I needed a nap after.

Moderate in my opinion means under threshold (keep an eye on heart rate too) and also an interval duration that we are used to.

I get ill for 3-4 days after almost every important single day race. I used to get frustrated by it, but now I tell myself it means that I put it all out there.

Coronavirus patient under quarantine: 'I feel fine… been doing my workouts’