I caught Covid a week before my A race

I’ve been working towards an event December 28th which is a 200km (125 mile) MTB Winter Marathon. Now 7 days out I tested positive for Covid for the first time. I’ve been lucky to avoid it all this time but now at the worst possible time it got me.

It’s been very very mild for me so far. A headcold, a little bit of doms and a mild headache but that’s about it.

I’m going to ride this race no matter what, so I don’t need a doctor’s advice but I would love to hear from folks who experienced very mild covid like I’m having and have resumed racing/training without any problems. Or should I definitely expect having to adjust/lower my pacing strategy?

My training plan was already tapering towards next week so I’m not missing much. Can I just do a little bit of Sweet Spot to keep everything maintained or rest as much as possible?

I’ve had covid twice…first time was pretty bad…second time was mild. Both times knocked me on my butt performance wise on the bike. I tried to do a 40 mile MTB race 3 weeks after the mild case and had to abandon. My HR was 10 bpm higher than it should be and I started getting leg cramps, which I never get, after 15 miles. My advice, skip the race and let your body heal. Running yourself into the ground will only make it worse.


Not a doctor - this isn’t medical advice

The one fairly consistent data point from various anecdotes of COVID cases amongst athletes is that it takes longer to recover from than similar severity illnesses. So if it was mild, similar to a cold, it knocks you on your ass longer than a cold. If it was moderate, similar to the flu, it knocks you on your ass longer than a flu. Etc. etc. etc.

As such I’d advise you not to race - make the longer term decision for your health, not the shorter term decision for a potential race result


Not medical advice, just general advice:

Considering the risks of myocarditis you’d be pretty stupid (sorry) to do the race.

Life is long, don’t fuck your heart up (goes for all infections) by exerting your body for that type of stress when you have an infection in your body.

My covid was mild, took one full week completely off, then once symptoms were completely gone, 2-3 more days of rest. Then one week of short z1 rides. Then after that I slowly ramped up training, starting with z2 rides.


I know you aren’t looking for medical advice, but I think pushing through with an event like this a week after testing positive for COVID isn’t the best idea.

Back in 2019, I had another virus a week out from Unbound…tried to push through the race anyway and bailed after 75 miles. My body just wasn’t ready.

Even if you are able to complete the event, you may end up digging yourself into a deeper hole than you are in now.

Schitt happens sometimes…it sucks that it impacts you A event, but I would highly recommend just focusing on another event at this point.


I caught COVID 2 weeks before my A race - Lutsen 99er. 100% expect to lower pacing strategy.

When I did my first ride 3 days after symptoms were gone I was at nearly max heart rate at 50-60% of FTP. One week after symptoms any effort over endurance/tempo killed me. I rode up a steep but very tiny hill (think like 10 pedal strokes to get up it) and I was cooked. Keep in mind, this was after symptoms were gone, not after testing positive.

Yours might not be as limiting as mine was, but if you are 100% set on doing it, change your expectations to “I will try this out but recognize I might have to abandon it early”.

Edit: I had to abandon my race (I had other things go wrong but COVID was primary reason)


There’s a thread on starting over after catching covid. I got it in late August and read that thread very attentively.

Still trying to recover. Covid on July 18th. Raced a 500km backcountry race on the 14th of august where lungs has a lot of phlegm and a bit of fluid. Emergency room on the 18th and was on Levosalbutamol and cortisone inhaler. Feeling much better but with any exercise I start getting phlegm. Do yourselves a favor and take it very easy after covid. I thought 3 weeks was enough and it wasnt close. I am sure the temp at night going down to almost freezing did not help

There are enough stories of fit endurance athletes getting covid, returning too soon, then getting long covid. See @route66 on this forum, the coach Matt Fitzgerald just to name 2 examples.

If I were you I’d seriously question if the risk is worth the reward.


What about the possible impact to others at or around the event?


The event is in a week. In the Netherlands the advice/rules are 5 days of quarantine, which I’m in right now. I’m not willingly exposing other people don’t worry.

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I was hoping for some good news looking at the fact that I’m very lucky to have a super mild case of covid.

After reading all of your advice I guess it would be wise to bail on my race. I was hoping there would be others out there who felt fine during and right after and who could just get back on the bike and continue like nothing ever happened.

This sucks!


No doubt…but I think you are making the right decision.


You should adjust your pacing plan to DNS


I also got covid a few days before one of my high-priority races of the season. It was just like a cold for me, stuffy nose, cough, light fever. I missed that race and was off sick for 10 days. A week after those 10 days, I did another race. It didn’t feel great, I was slow, had no power and felt like I couldn’t push myself. I didn’t have any negative effects from it, but it also was one of my worst races ever in terms of performance.

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I had a very mild case. Not even positive on the rapid test (my wife was on rapid and PCR). Only symptoms were a lingering sore throat and mild cough. No fever. Once I started riding, probably after about 10 days, I was down at least 20 watts. Maybe 30. Given what I now know of the risks, I wish I had taken longer to come back to activity.


I’ve had it at least twice, most recently it was mild like yours. Didn’t even knew I had it and kept training. At the time my wife was required to test weekly for work, and she tested positive, and then I tested positive too. The other time it was Delta variant, just over a year ago, and had strong flu symptoms for 5 days. To be careful I took almost 3 weeks off, fitness dropped of course because 3 weeks off, however I restarted training using heart rate zones and after 3 months of base training was hitting power targets not seen since 2017 (to be clear, I think it was 1+ year cumulative impact of switching to best practice endurance first training, and not the after effects of C19 :joy: ).

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I’ll chime in with my experience from this fall.

I had it twice, once in 2020 and again this fall. The second time was way less severe, similar to what you’re describing. The first time I noticed some huge HR spikes post COVID. The second time I didn’t see these spikes so I proceeded with riding/training.

I tested positive August 22, with my A race being Cheq 40 on September 17. I was completely off the bike until August 29. Then I rode a total of 10 times over the next three weeks, none of them being hard training rides, mainly just long Z2 rides. My ride September 5 was 3 hours of tempo-ish and it went really well and I remember being surprised how good I felt. Probably from the time off.

I ended up doing very well in my race and hit all my goals.

Just my experience. Do with it what you’d like. Just note I had a few weeks more to recover than you did.

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I tested positive in November. I tested positive for 9 days, testing every 48 hours. I wouldn’t assume that you won’t be infectious after 5 days.

Mine was mild, sore throat, bunged up nose, runny nose. Just like a cold and I’d be none the wiser had I not tested.

I did 2 weeks of Z2 after I tested negative , before moving to some Z3 , then finally did some VO2 max after 3 weeks.

My fitness hasn’t been impacted, but I didn’t jump right back into intensity, feeling my way back and assessing myself at lower intensities first.

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Well that’s what the RIVM (the Dutch version of the American CDC) is assuming with all current knowledge. They say you can end quarantine if it’s been 5 days since your symptoms started OR if you’ve been totally without symptoms for 24 hours if you had symptoms to start with. The risk of spreading the virus is the biggest 2 days before until 3 days after getting symptoms.

But like I said, I’ll probably skip this race although it breaks my heart. This was my experiment on how big of an event I could complete with a full year of mostly inside Trainerroad workouts due to life limitations and a newborn.

I’ll try your approach @GoLongThenGoHome, ease into it while listening to my body and ditching the ego.


After being double vac’d and boosted, I got it a few days after Leadville this year. Did not feel well at all for a few days (bad chills, cough, very sore throat) and then ended up mainly tired and had that annoying dry cough. However I was able to get back on the bike and did a short Z1 (Lazy Mountain-2) four days after diagnosis and then a 90 min Z2 ride two days later and continued with longer Z2 rides as the days went along. I was careful to not go too hard, but actually felt better with getting these Z2 rides in. I did however continue to test positive for about 14 days. I wasn’t allowed to return to work until I have hit 14 days or had a negative test, so had a fair bit of free time to do Z2 rides and get stuff done around the house. I did sleep A LOT during those two weeks. About 2.5 weeks after the initial Covid diagnosis I was doing a 4.5 hour hard gravel ride and felt pretty much normal.

What was interesting was that I didn’t have any major set back in performance after this. My numbers were all about the same and I had a really good Sept - Dec riding season. So at least my N of 1 is go easy for a couple of weeks and see how you are feeling.


Been there. I caught Covid about 3 days before my A race this year in the middle of September - the Barn Burner 100. I literally did every workout, the full taper and was feeling like I was going to nail it. It’s a bummer, but better off sitting it out. (Double vacc’ed and boosted here too, wasn’t all that sick, but no way I was doing a long MTB race). I just put some races on the calendar for 2023 and moved on.

For me - ended up testing positive for 14 days. Took two weeks completely off the bike. 3rd week I was back to easy endurance. 4th week I started adding in intensity but my heart rate was significantly elevated. 5th week I was feeling mostly back to normal. AI FTP knocked my FTP down 5W plus loss of some progression levels which felt about right.