What does the process of returning to running post COVID-19 look like? Below are some concise notes and relative info graphic to help you, the athlete, navigate this period. It's important to note that some (not all) athletes may require a medical assessment to return to sport, including blood testing for signs of inflammation, cardiac monitoring and assessment of respiratory function. Severity of infection impacts outcomes Athlete's who test positive but are asymptomatic, the recommendation is 10 days of rest followed by a graduated return to play. Athlete's who test positive with mild symptoms are encouraged to take 10 days of rest with the possibility to undertake cardiovascular testing before commencing a graduated return to play. Athlete's who test positive with moderate symptoms (no hospitalisation), the recommendation is 10 days rest and no exercise until 10 days after symptom resolution. Following that period, an evaluation by a medical professional is required before commencing a graduated return to play. Returning to running Athletes are encouraged to monitor for cardiac symptoms when returning to running such as; chest tightness, excessive shortness of breath, feeling winded, feeling light headed or passing out. Should any of these symptoms develop, the athlete should rest and return to play once resolved. On the return to running, athletes can monitor resting heart rate, rate of perceived exertion, sleep, stress, fatigue and muscle soreness. Protocol
Practical tips for you on your return Zoom out and respect short term rest for long term health and success. The short period of inactivity during and after infection accounts for an incredibly small part of the long term training picture. Operate on your own timeline as you rebuild your training load. Focus your attention forward with a growth mindset, thinking less about what you may have lost and more about what you can gain on your return. Continue to make post run notes in your training log so you're able to monitor progress. References Elliott N, Martin R, Heron N, et al
Infographic. Graduated return to play guidance following COVID-19 infection
British Journal of Sports Medicine 2020;54:1174-1175.