By now every cyclist knows coronavirus attacks and affects the respiratory tract, the lungs, mouth and nose, and is highly contagious via sneezing, coughing or even just speaking.

So to get their training fix, weekend warriors, fitness fanatics and amateur race junkies have switched to socially distance training – solo and virtual rides.

But does training during the pandemic put athletes at increased risk for catching coronavirus?

In a nutshell, yes, since strenuous training suppress immunity and increase infection risk.

Here are 7 pandemic training tips to keep top-of-mind, just in case you catch the virus.

1.  If you get novel coronavirus, your body needs to be in peak physical condition to fight off the virus.  With no treatment or cure available, your body is the first and last line of defense.

2. If you have any cold or flu-like symptoms do not ride.

3. Training rides should not leave you fatigued. Skip epic multi-hour rides, trying to set new PR or working to increase threshold power.  Studies show endurance athletes (runners and cyclists) are at increased risk of illness after a strenuous workout or race.

4. Work to maintain, rather than build, fitness during this long  lockdown phase. Treat this phase like winter – a pandemic winter – and maintain both physical and mental fitness so you will be fresh when it is time to ramp up training again.

5. Tour de France champion Egan Bernal has stopped training for the 2020 edition of the world’s biggest bike race.  If he isn’t training hard, you don’t need to either.

6. Make sure to eat and sleep well. Studies suggests that overexercise without adequate recovery makes immunity plummet and our respiratory system more vulnerable to attack.

7.  Keep riding, it helps reduce stress during times of uncertainty. “Cycling is one of the most effective treatments for stress and in many cases has been proven to be as effective as medication – if not more so,” says Neil Shah of the Stress Management Society.

There will be plenty of time to reach peak form when events start back up, until then train in moderation.

This is not the end of our sport, just the first stage of a long stage race, ride smart and you’ll make it to the finish.

Check the GFDN Worldwide Gran Fondo Calendar for the most accurate and up-to-date listings of current, cancelled and rescheduled events