Post Covid recovery plan

Hi I am looking for some science based advice to help me restart my training. The day after a ramp test ( boosted my ftp fro. 247 to 259) as part of week 7 of my training plan, I tested positive for covid. This was almost 3 weeks ago. Am feeling 90% recovered but as a 53 year old male I want to err on the side of caution. Some options I am considering include taking a few weeks off training completely, and instead just walk the dog a couple of hours a day. Or start a new low volume program, accepting my ftp might have slipped somewhat. Or give it another week and then pick up where I left off.
Welcome any thoughts…thanks

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There’s some threads on this around here. My advice, take it VERY easy for a while. Short, easy rides. You don’t want to find out you had myocarditis after a hard interval session.


Got to be lead by your doctor on this.

When she or he thinks youre ready Id look at Active Recovery sessions first.

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I am not a doctor so please don’t take this as medical advice.

I was in the same position, post Covid. I’m just shy of 40. I felt fine 8 days after onset of symptoms, but following some stories of bad experiences on here, decided to be cautious and get medical advice.

I had some bloodwork done; FBC, troponin, D-dimers, as well as an ecg. I had to go private for this (I’m in the UK, and my NHS GP described the request as ‘unnecessary’).

Everything came back normal/as expected (white blood cell types consistent with recent mild infection) so the doc (who was a cyclist, interestingly) cleared me to return to training, with the caveat that I was to listen to my body, save the ‘hero’ stuff for 2 weeks, and to call him if I had any unexpected symptoms following, or reactions to, training.

4 rides/sessions in, the last 2 fairly hard, and so far so good.

I can’t speak for anyone else but that’s my take on it.


From the BBC with a link to the NHS

“ What should I do if I think I have long Covid?

The NHS has a "Your Covid Recovery Plan"which has advice, particularly for those who needed hospital treatment.

It recommends the “three Ps” in order to conserve energy:

  • Pace yourself so you don’t push yourself too hard, and make sure you have plenty of rest
  • Plan your days so your most tiring activities are spread out across the week
  • Prioritise - think about what you need to do and what can be put off

It advises speaking to either your hospital team or your GP if you are not recovering as quickly as you might expect.”

Thanks for the comments. My doctor tells me that about 20% of the swiss soldiers that contracted Covid while working on the border with Italy earlier in the year have still not fully recovered their fitness so taking the long view is important here.

Curious if you had the heavy feeling in your lungs as part of your symptoms? I have heard different lengths of recovery with many getting winded very easy,

Not really. I was a bit more breathless than I’d have expected for the first week/10 days of riding, but it didn’t last. I’m now having the best training sessions I’ve ever had, and expect a decent FTP bump in due course. I’d say I’ve recovered fully (touch wood) without lasting issues.

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I got infected in April. Moderate symptoms but at the advice of a doctor, he advised me not to lay around if I could help it as the clotting issue was coming to light. Initial doc put a stethiscope to me and asked if I was a smoker…No. She said I was extremely congested in my lungs. I did have a burn in the center of my chest. No shortness of breath and my o2 was lower than normal. Fell into low 90s. The lung burn moved around in my chest but was gone in a couple of days. Loss of smell, long term headache and digestion issues ect. Im 55 and was concerned with how to deal after it. I asked the doc if it was ok to get on the trainer as I was locked up in a bedroom. He said fine but just go really easy. Did this on day 3. Kept it light for an hour HR 105. Every day after that I added some time and a bit of power. By the end of the week, was doing tempo power in big gear and z2 HR. 10 days out I took it outside and by the end of the second week I did a 75 mile ride in z2 and felt great. Still freaked at the myocardia reports that were coming out I still avoided anything above tempo HR for a month. As I was an early infection, I couldnt go back to work for 6 weeks as I kept testing positive. We now know that I wasnt infectious but man that 6 week period was actually pretty good as far as training. I slept all I wanted and was putting in 12 hr weeks. 8 weeks after the initial infection, I was flying. Had a really good month of performance. 8 months later, I still feel fine and have no after effects. That being said, Im only one case. I totally agree with taking a break from intensity for a good while. You can still get meaningful training with low intensity and volume. You might even get a bump even though your CTL fell like a rock during your recovery. As an older athlete, there are so many systems that benefit from a long break. Hormonal in particular. Good luck.

Hi Mark, I had covid too (blog), was admitted to hospital and now have long covid. If you want any advice or help email me; if needed I also have a completely free cycling recovery plan if that helps. best of luck in your recovery!

55 year old male here and have just been told I’m positive, not feeling too bad really, achy joints and muscles, prickly skin, slight cough but not continuous.
One thing I will be doing is using the Fatmaxxer app and governing my heart rate using DFA Alpha1 readings to ensure I’m staying in the “easy” training terrain.

47 year old male. Contracted Covid 2 weeks ago, spent 10 days in isolation. Had only very occasional cough, loss of smell and taste. Fatigue/tiredness mainly. Just coming back to activities slowly - dog walking and easy trainer sessions, strength training. Will definitely keep it in endurance zone for another 3-4 weeks, slowly upping the watts up to tempo. Planning to take ramp test after xmas to set up training zones precisely and start low volume base plan.

My understanding is that even once symptoms have cleared , even if your symptoms were mild, you will still have some damage and inflammation in your major organs. It may just be heart and lungs , it may be more widespread such as kidneys. Just because the symptoms have gone doesn’t mean any damage caused by the immune system battle is repaired in same timescales.

I would take any initial time back on the bike easy. Do a 1 or 2 hour session below your LT1 and compare your heart rate, power and perceived exertion. How do they compare to normal, how much are they out of whack?

Next time out push it a bit harder and again pay attention to heart rate, power and perceived exertion. Do they feel aligned like usual or out of whack? If say you push as hard as 80% max HR does your breathing match up, does it feel like you could go harder, or does it feel like you are maxing out on perceived exertion?

If it doesn’t feel quite right then back off and drop the intensity. If it feels ok push a bit harder next time.

I haven’t had Covid but I had a heavy 10 day cold beginning of October. A week after symptoms cleared my perceived exertion was well out of whack with my HR. I’d be at 77% of my max and feel like I was at 92% of max HR. Like I didn’t have much extra in the tank. It just didn’t feel right. It took me about 4 weeks after end of symptoms before things felt right and I could push up into that 90-100% of max HR band and stay there a while.

Good luck with recovery

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Day 2 today and I feel totally different to yesterday, I don’t feel anywhere near as ill, won’t be entertaining the thought of getting back on the bike until day 14 though and then it will all be HR governed.

Posted this in another thread…

This is a good article:

And it links to this UK “graduated return to play” protocol that worked well for me:


Day 3, feel worse, taste and smell have disappeared :roll_eyes:

Thanks, I’ll give that a good read.

I had 3 days of bad flu and then felt like crap for a week. Relative oxygen never dropped below 96%. Never lost smell or taste. I had pneumonia about 15 years ago and that was worse than my C19 symptoms. Regardless, I followed the Graduated Return to Play protocol linked above, it’s a super easy return to training. Then started training and within 6-8 weeks was back to peak fitness from May of this year (6 months earlier).

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I’ve been very lucky so far, had some mild achy joints and muscles on day 2, sore skin on day 2 and that’s all gone now, I’m hardly coughing at all, 2 or 3 one offs today, hoping to be symptom free after a few weeks then go from there.

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@WindWarrior Hi, I’m now day 10 since positive test and finally feel motivated enough to plan out a recovery plan as per the link you sent. I’m allowing myself to get to day 12 then I’ll allow a 7 day period to be symptom free then I’ll start on stage 1, at the moment that will be 13th December.

I’m hoping start of stage 2 and first day back on the bike will be 23rd December.

Clearly my fitness will have fallen off a cliff, not bothered about that really, but am still going to begin data collecting again for my PMC etc so wondering where I should peg my FTP.

I was at 252 so I’m thinking of setting it crazy low like 200W or something, it’s always going to be a stab in the dark.

Any recommendations as to where I should set it? I know it’s not vital but I do want to have a reasonable approximation to track progress from.