Long Covid recovery program

Hey all,

I’m slowly recovering from long covid and/or post-covid syndrome, a ‘journey’ that will most likely take 1 to 2 years for full recovery.
As things are (slowly) getting better my physiotherapist says it’s safe for me to the start getting back on the bike again (something I am really looking forward to, also for mental health), not outside yet but indoor should be fine as long as it’s very controlled and extremely low profile.

Which made me wonder, is there a setting in the training library of Zwift which can be used as a long covid recovery schedule? I couldn’t find it at hand unfortunately but maybe somebody knows more or has tips.
Does anybody here have experience with this?

Cheers

I would not recommend using any of the training plans for this. It won’t be extremely controlled in the sense that it will propose that you do something you maybe should not do, or finish a ride you should not finish.

The way I would approach this is to move the Trainer Difficulty setting to zero, start with 15 minutes at low intensity and see how you feel the next day. Gradually increase it over time. End any ride early if you feel unwell. Take extra rest days if you need to. Don’t “push through” any effort. If the physiotherapist can offer any guidance on time spent at any particular heart rate, that would be very useful. If you’re feeling good after a month or two of that progression, think about a training plan.

I am not a coach or physiotherapist.

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I’ll agree with @Paul_Southworth - do not do anything you don’t feel well enough to do. And definitely ease into it.
Since everyone is different, and the recovery from this can vary from person to person, quite dramatically also, there cannot be any one-size-fits-all approach or plan.
Getting back on the bike will probably help the mental aspect quite significantly, but at the same time, if the body doesn’t handle it rapidly enough, you have to remember the long-term goal, and don’t let it get you down.
I had a period of what I referred to as a “funk” 2 years ago. It may have been long COVID recovery, I’m not sure. After 20-30 minutes on the bike, I just didn’t feel like riding anymore. My longest ride was 20 miles. It was quite demoralizing. But, I kept at it, knowing that whatever it was was only temporary, and had one of my best years on the bike last year.
Good luck.

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To add to what others have said and from my experience…I was also told I could/should start riding again and used an old easy base training plan I had. Ended up getting caught up in what the plan was telling me to do and not what my body was saying. As the plan progressed I started pushing myself too far and going backwards in some aspects of my recovery. I’ve since ditched the plan and just ride based on what my body is telling me, somedays the rides seem ridiculously easy but those are the cards I’ve been dealt.

If you don’t already have a heart rate strap I’d also strongly recommend using one and watching your heart rate as power is an input and heart rate is an output. You really need to watch what your heart is doing including how quickly it climbs, how easily it recovers etc. If you’re using Training Peaks look at your aerobic decoupling and efficiency factor.

Hope this helps.

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Hi @Jonas_Kraft_4738 I’m Juan, a Zwift colleague. I understand how important it is for you to get back to normal. However, I agree that you would need to set the difficulty of your trainer to zero and take regular rides to avoid any demanding efforts, your health comes first. With multiple maps in the Zwift universe, and multiple routes on each map, there are lots of roads to discover. Go exploring! You’ll find flat routes, climbing routes, and everything in between. I’d like to suggest you click on this link.

Thanks all,
maybe a bit of base information that was missing in my original question; I am actually very familiar with Zwift, not a newbie and have all the necessary equipment (Tacx, HR monitor, powermeter etc. etc.) since I was quite active on the bike prior to Covid, both indoor as outdoor.
Therefor I am able to monitor in good ways and I am very aware of the potential overtraining part in my current condition and with that in mind I will for sure set my trainer to the lightest setting and I will look for the most flat courses in Zwift.
Also very aware of the fact it will at first be just about getting my legs back in motion for a minute or two since I know all too well what it does to my body when I overwork at anything these days…

Just very curious to see/hear if there are any companions out here who have used Zwift as a way to get back to better health/condition whilst suffering and/or recovering from long covid/post covid syndrome and if they have build a good working program for themselves.

Best

did anyone ever tell you that you aren’t very sympathetic…

No idea about the above, but I recommend use a heart rate monitor and keep the efforts very easy because you’ll have very little fitness available.

Your only choice is to go as easy as possible and very gradually start to increase the distances when you feel okay.

Typical training would just be laps of Tempus with TT bike so you don’t get ideas of pushing too hard. You’ll have to go by feel.