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How best to breathe during the COVID-19 pandemic

Breathing to help prevent viral transmission

Please note, none of these techniques will stop COVID-19, but should reduce the viral load if you are exposed. And are meant to be used in addition to proper protective equipment.

Crowded public places

In order to reduce any potential viral load when you’re in public places, breathe through your nose, slowly and from your upper chest- slow, shallow breathing. Nasal breathing allows less volume of air into your lungs and less potential viral load. This decreased volume helps your immune system knock out any invaders and prevent it from being overwhelmed.

Nasal breathing is better than mouth breathing as it also offers some resistance and more filtering of inhaled air. You will take in more air particles with mouth breathing.

Coughed or sneezed on

If someone coughs or sneezes near you, stop breathing, hold your breath, and walk away. Avoid taking any of it into your lungs.

Feel symptoms coming on

As athletes, we’re often more aware of feeling “off” early in an illness. Early detection is key to helping your immune system do a better job and not get overwhelmed. But there are other ways to help you catch the early warning signs of disease, especially one that may adversely affect your lungs.

Heart Rate Variability (HRV) Monitoring HRV daily can help you understand when your body is under stress and when an illness may be coming on. For more on HRV, go to my blog all about this metric.

SPO2 or Peripheral capillary oxygen saturation You can monitor your blood oxygen saturation using a fingertip pulse oximeter. These are very easy to use, easy to find, and inexpensive. A drop from the normal healthy athlete range of 94-99% can be an indication of illness. An SPO2 level between 90-94% can be a sign of respiratory infection. This drop-in oxygen saturation can be measured before you feel any symptoms.

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Return to Racing

Yes! We’re talking about returning to racing over the next few weeks and months. This is an exciting and interesting time. Cities and states are opening up training facilities, gyms, pools – indoor and outdoor, and allowing gatherings of more and more people. Here in Colorado, the state authorities have given the green light to […]

Will we ever race again?

My answer to that question is a resounding YES! With all the cancellations of the past few months, it seems like races may never happen again. I’m very confident that races will return. We may not know exactly when that will be or what will happen in different parts of the country. Or what races […]

Although I’ve heard it over and over, I’m going to say it again: we are living in unprecedented times. Our lives are changing daily, even hourly. Sitting still, taking a deep breath and embracing the constant changes with a flexible and open mind are critical actions. Life is just different. It doesn’t mean we lose […]

First up, if you’re sick, you need to go to the doctor and follow all medically necessary advice to get well and protect others around you. I am not a medical professional. I am sharing what I’ve learned through all my years of experience both personally and professionally working to help athletes stay healthy during […]

What is FTP?

FTP stands for functional threshold power. Power (or watts) is one of the most reliable indicators of cycling performance and is an excellent way to measure training intensity. You get immediate feedback on current training zones and intensities. Completing a field test to determine your FTP has become a generally accepted way to measure an […]

Strength Training for Triathletes

Strength training is defined as activities that make muscles stronger. One could argue that triathlon training alone fits this definition. Indeed it does. So, why do you need to add another workout to your weekly training? The reality is, love or hate it, need it or getting by without it; no matter your circumstances, your […]

12 Swim Drills for All Triathletes

Swim Drills: Do they really work? There are two mindsets among triathlon coaches: Drills don’t work vs. drills are a must. On the drills don’t work side, coaches teach frequent stroke corrections when working in person with their athletes. On the other side, coaches say: swim drills, when properly assigned to correct an athlete’s weaknesses […]

How to stay motivated through the winter

When the weather turns cold and the days grow short, motivation to train can falter. Holiday parties and family gatherings bring joy along with the temptation to overindulge. If you struggle more this time of year, you’re not alone. It takes a lot more motivation to get out on a cold, dark morning or evening […]