Return to play

return to play - Individual Training

With the resumption of swim, bike, run activity, it is important to recognise that there are some lasting effects of the lockdown period. This document intends to support you as you return to organised swim, bike, run events and activity, and to help you train safely and effectively.  Guidance for elite athletes will be available via the relevant performance team. This updated guidance only applies in England, for information about Scotland's guidance please visit Triathlon Scotland and for information about Wales' guidance please visit Welsh Triathlon


Getting back into the water

  • Check with your pool operator before you visit to ensure that you are aware of any restrictions. Expect to have to follow new guidelines around changing, arriving at, and leaving the pool and hygiene.
  • Don’t overdo it when you first get back in the pool or open water. Pace your training and allow your body time to get back into the rhythm of swimming again.
  • Always maintain social distancing as directed. Be respectful of other swimmers who may be swimming at a different pace to you and follow the operator’s guidelines around lanes etc.
  • In a pool, if you need to stop at any point, be aware of others swimming near you and keep to the edge of the lane, turning your head away from others and allowing enough space for them to continue.
  • If you take any equipment with you such as floats or kickboards, check with the operator that this is allowed and ensure that you follow appropriate hygiene precautions.

  • Before taking part in any open water swimming activity, it is advisable to read the Covid-19 guidance to open water swimmers available on the SH2OUT website



Getting back on the road

  • Please be mindful of other members of the public whilst cycling and maintain social distancing. Some research indicates that for cyclists (given your increased work of breathing and distance travelled during each breath) that a distance of 20 metres is more appropriate
  • When training indoors, spend 25% less time on your bike than you would have done outdoors to recreate the normal amount of effort you put into a session. The lack of freewheeling or cruising time indoors makes your session harder than on most outdoor rides



how to stay safe while out running?

  • Remember to socially distance. Research for running shows that distances of up to 10 metres may be required based on your speed and breathing rate
  • Treadmill running can result in a harder effort to achieve the equivalent distance outside. As a result, you may need to reduce the time spent on a treadmill run compared to a similar session that would have been outdoors



supplement your swim, bike, run training with s&c

  • S&C should ideally already be an integral part of your usual triathlon training to both improve performance and reduce your risk of injury
  • You may find that access to your usual training venues and/or equipment is still restricted
  • By being creative you may be able to replicate some of your usual programs in your home environment. Many free resources online provide information and ideas on home training. British Triathlon also has resources online which can be found here
  • If S&C is new to you, start with simple exercises with low weights. It is important to build up slowly as you would with any new activity



make sure you look after yourself

  • Continue to maintain high standards of personal hygiene. Wash your hands regularly for at least 20 seconds with soap (or use an alcohol hand gel of over 60%)
  • Anti-inflammatory medications (e.g. ibuprofen such as Neurofen, Diclofenac such as Volterol, etc) are not advised for pain management of injuries until 48 hours after the injury occurred as they delay healing
  • Maintain a healthy balanced diet with oily fish and plenty of fruit and vegetables to help boost your immune system
  • If you have had to reduce the time you spend outside for any reason, consider taking vitamin D supplements to maintain these levels
  • Currently it is unknown how Covid-19 affects the body after the person has recovered. Depending on the severity of your illness, you may wish to take medical advice and/or undertake medical screening before resuming activity. Your GP can provide you with advice in this area
  • If you experience any Covid-19 symptoms, please take the steps outlined in the government guidance here


considerations before returning to activity

  • When returning to activity and event participation, athletes should consider the following questions:
    • Do I have enough time to train properly for this event?
    • Should I start with a shorter distance than usual?
    • Will the water temperature at that time of year be something I am used to?
    • Have I got any potential health problems post Covid-19 that I should get checked out first?
  • If in doubt, then it is advisable to delay your return to competition until you are ready



British Triathlon and Triathlon England are awaiting greater clarity from Government on the detailed implications of the Roadmap published on 22 February 2021. This is not expected until week commencing 22 March 2021.

We appreciate this is uncomfortably close to the next milestone in the Roadmap (29 March) and so we have published this guidance to support individual participants to prepare for the next step.

This guidance is based on our assessment of what will be and won’t be permissible from 29 March and we remind the reader that the contents of this guidance are subject to change. British Triathlon and Triathlon England publish this guidance in good faith and do not accept any liability for any actions or claims arising from it.


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