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Coaches Blog

Training Through the COVID-19 Vaccination Process

Updated: Apr 21, 2022

Recently we have noticed that some industries or companies have requested evidence of a COVID-19 to have access to their service. The most recent example is IRONMAN Lake Placid, which will evidently require proof of vaccination for participants.

Some athletes have been reluctant to receive the COVID-19 vaccine for a variety of reasons, from stories they’ve heard about side effects or concerns that it could disrupt their training process. We wanted to offer some information and advice to athletes that have not been vaccinated and must do it to participate in upcoming endurance events.

A few known facts:

  • In a great majority of the cases, individuals don’t experience any symptoms or side-effects from the vaccine beyond pain in their shoulder.

  • Vaccines can produce some mild effects like mild fever, fatigue, or soreness for 12 to 36 hours.

  • In a minority of cases, the symptoms can include headache and fever for 24 hours. Most people can treat these symptoms with common pain killers, like acetaminophen. Ask your doctor for the best medication for you.

  • Actual information about anaphylaxis or systemic damage says that these effects are very rare--currently less than 1%.

  • There is not any reported evidence that vaccination interferes with the physiological process of adaptation to training.

  • Pfizer vaccine doses are separated 21 days between each other. The Moderna vaccine requires 4 weeks between doses and Johnson & Johnson is a single-dose vaccine.

  • In general, COVID-19 vaccines are safe and can produce very good protection against serious illness.

  • The symptoms like mild fever, headache, tiredness, or soreness typically only interrupt training for a maximum of 48 hours for most athletes.

Advice on how to schedule your COVID-19 vaccination with your training:

  • The preparation process for an IRONMAN race takes months, so we can plan to get the shots in the base phase of your training, where key workouts are not as crucial as the later phases.

  • In general, you can train after you receive any COVID-19 vaccines, but you must listen to your body. If you are experiencing fever, headache, it is better to not train that day.

  • Most certified coaches use a 3:1 training plan, which means 3 weeks of progressive workouts and 1 week of reduction up to 50% of the volume of the third week.

We can incorporate the doses in our training plan as follow:

  • Moderna vaccine: Schedule your first dose at the beginning of your discharge week, the second dose will be scheduled at the end of your next discharge week.

  • Pfizer vaccine: Schedule your first dose at the end of your discharge week, the second dose will be scheduled at the beginning of your next discharge week.

  • J&J vaccine: Schedule your shot anytime during the discharge week.

  • With this program, you can skip up to 2 workouts during the week if necessary, in low-volume weeks and the effect in your conditioning would be minimal (if at all).

  • Ask your certified coach to program this vaccine plan to your training plan.

For more information or to ask specific questions, you can reach

Dr. Manuel Delgado Gaona at


Manuel Delgado Gaona is a USAT Level II and Youth & Junior Coach, FMTri Level II Certified Coach, an ACSM Exercise Physiologist, and a Physician specializing in Anatomic Pathology. His coaching philosophy is based on exercise efficiency. Coach Manuel can be reached at


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