The recent spate of flu sweeping across the UK has affected more people than I can remember in many years.  Amongst those people are many triathletes who previously had been desperately trying to maintain their training plans.  For those who were already into their full training the pressure you put your body through training for an endurance event can impact the immune system leaving you vulnerable to infections.  This is a triathletes guide to recovering from flu to help you get back to full fitness and go faster.

Avoiding infections to keep training

Unless you live in a bubble, you will to be exposed to infections. Minimising the risk of getting sick in the first place is always the best plan.  Hitting it hard with your training can have a direct impact on your immune system afterwards and last for up to 3 days.  This is called the “open window.”  While you are in this window you need to really up your game with prevention. In other words, avoid babysitting sick infants after a long hard ride.  If you can.

Taking Supplements and Vitamins to boost immune system

Several nutritional supplements and strategies have been shown to bolster immunity.  Bonking during training is bad for your immune system. Ensuring adequate carbohydrate fuel during and after any heavy exercise helps counteract exercise-induced immune dysfunction. Meaning.  We Love Carbs.

Do not train through sickness

Returning to triathlon training after flu

Returning to triathlon training after flu

It will happen though.  You will get sick, it will stop you from training and every day will chew you up as you fail to hit your weekly targets.  Training through sickness is a pretty bad idea and can result in a nasty bout of the flu becoming something much worse.  You are much better to scale back your training for a few days rather than risking being out of action for much longer than you need to be.  While you are sick, rest, drink plenty of fluids, and take whatever medication you need.

Guidelines to returning to training after flu

Here are guidelines for getting back into triathlon training following flu:

  • Ensure you wait one day after symptoms have passed before resuming any training.
  • Resume training with a day consisting of only one recovery-paced session avoiding swimming until you have fully recovered
  • Continue training at a recovery pace until you feel your strength fully returned
  • Stop training and return to rest if any symptoms return
  • If you were sick for three days or less don’t get back to your training plan until at least completing one recovery day.
  • If you were sick for more than three days wait to get to training after at least three recovery days.  Gradually ramp up your duration first, then intensity, to full training loads over the course of a week but listen to your body.

We hope this helps and you stay fit and well.  This has been a triathletes guide to recovering from cold & flu season.

Check out more from us on how to boost your performance with winter triathlon training.

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Billy Ferguson

Having founded Trivelo in 2015 after many years competing in triathlon Billy continues to enjoy training and triathlon. Founder Billy is strongest in the water but continues to try and convince his body that he is an ultra runner.


Jon Carter · 26/05/2020 at 12:15 am

Like!! Great article post.Really thank you! Really useful pointers in terms of the mental side of getting back to training.

Harry Martin · 26/03/2020 at 5:17 pm

Super relevant content here given everything we are all facing with the Coronavirus.

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