Running Triathlon

How To Train Around A COVID-19 Vaccination Or Booster Shot

I’ve had my COVID-19 vaccinations, and I recently took my booster shot.

Fortunately, my response to the vaccinations and the booster has been very mild. I know that’s not the case for many people.

With booster shots currently rolling out in Singapore, I have been getting many questions from our athletes about managing their training after a booster.

This article is my attempt to answer that for everyone.

Firstly, I am not a doctor, and you should never take this advice over something a doctor has specifically told you to do – or not do as the case may be.

That said, many doctors, particularly general practitioners, are very conservative regarding their advice to athletes. Most of the generic guidelines are developed for the general population. A population that, sadly, eats junk food and is mainly sedentary.

The general population are not athletes and, I argue, are not as resilient as people who eat cleanly and exercise regularly.

Here’s my advice.

Cut Race Times, Not Corners.

Racing at your potential and enjoying training is easy when you’re following the right programme.

Before Your Vaccination

In the days before vaccination or a booster, I encourage our athletes to focus on recovery. The immunisation will stress your immune system, so you want to avoid compromising your immune strength in the days leading up.

That doesn’t mean you can’t train hard leading in; it just means that you must pay special attention to your recovery and the things outside of training that impact your overall health. 

In the week of your vaccination, focus on your sleep, aiming for eight or more hours each night. Eat minimally processed whole foods and increase your intake of vegetables, particularly green leafy vegetables. Drink water regularly throughout the week to ensure you take your vaccine or booster optimally hydrated. Avoid stress. 

If you feel fatigued, consider stripping the intensity from your training in the last three to four days before your shot and training exclusively aerobically.

You will take your shot in your best condition to recover quickly afterwards if you follow this advice.

After Your Vaccination

Everyone’s response to the shots are different, so it’s hard to offer a fixed protocol that will work for all. You will need to observe your symptoms, listen to your body, and adjust your approach accordingly.

If you suffer significant symptoms, you may need to take some days off training. That’s ok and recommended if you feel awful. If symptoms are mild, I encourage you to adjust your training and continue. Consistency is the ultimate performance enhancer.

You can pull two levers to adjust your overall training load. 

  1. Intensity
  2. Volume

The recommendations in Singapore are to avoid strenuous exercise, although many doctors advise people to completely abstain from exercise for two weeks. Abstinence seems like overkill to me, but I agree that you should avoid strenuous exercise in favour of low-intensity training following your vaccination or booster.

During the first couple of days, I recommend that you pull on both levers and significantly lower the volume and intensity of your training. You don’t want to push anything until the full extent of your symptoms has shown themselves. 

After a couple of days, as symptoms start to disappear, increase your volume back to your pre-immunisation levels keeping intensity low. If you begin to feel worse, cut back again.

Use a heart rate monitor to guide your training during this time, and stay below the middle of zone two. You may notice that your pace is significantly slower at these heart rates than before your shot. That’s quite normal and is feedback that your body is still under stress. 

Monitoring heart rate at rest (resting heart rate or heart rate variability) and during training is excellent in this situation because it will ensure you don’t overdo things and build your training back up at an appropriate level. 

Outside of training, continue to follow the pre-immunisation advice of sleeping a lot, eating clean and hydrating properly. 

You need to listen to your body and apply some common sense at the end of the day. Don’t rush things. Focus on what you can control and do your best with those things. 

I hope that helps, and I wish you a speedy recovery.

Inside Coached

How We Work: Training Plans

This article is the second in a new series I’m calling How We Work. I’ll post these periodically to share how we work with our athletes and run our business. I hope you enjoy these. 


Ten years ago, I used to write training plans manually. They’d take an hour or so each to craft, which significantly limited the number of athletes I could help, which was a bummer. 

Most coaches use some form of template system when they create training plans – volume tables or workout libraries – which they customise to suit the requirements of each athlete.

After several years of programming for athletes and testing hundreds of runners and triathletes in our lab, I realised that we had enough data and experience to create a software programme that could automate that process even further, to build a high-quality training plan in a matter of minutes. 

This approach has several advantages for a coach. 

  1. It significantly increases the number of athletes a coach can work with.
  2. It frees the coach up to spend time on other things such as communication, reading or attending courses to learn more about their craft, creating content, or coaching in-person sessions. 
  3. The plans can still be adjusted manually to address use cases with unique requirements. Ultrarunning is an excellent example of this where the distance and terrain vary significantly between events and are hard to automate fully. Our coaches always make manual changes to our automated plans for the ultrarunners on our team.

This approach also has benefits for the athlete.

  1. It allows an athlete to access and benefit from the experience of a renowned coach at a fraction of the price of the traditional coaching model.  
  2. It gives athletes more control over their training because they can easily edit or modify their training without input from a coach (although it is always available if they need help). 

After investing significant time and money, we developed the Coached training platform that we use today. 

At the heart of Coached training platform is the training plan. The training plan provides the day-to-day structure our athletes need to achieve their goals. 

Cut Race Times, Not Corners.

Racing at your potential and enjoying training is easy when you’re following the right programme.

Training Plan Types

Inside Coached, we offer our runners and triathletes two types of training plans.

  1. Performance plans 
  2. Fitness plans 

Performance plans are progressive, polarised, and designed to bring an athlete into peak shape on a specific date. Volume and intensity increase over time, and the training moves from a general focus before becoming more race-specific and tapering down into the race. 

Fitness plans are not progressive. Instead, they’re a repeatable weekly volume that includes a mix of aerobic and anaerobic training. These programmes are great for anyone who wants to train effectively but without a race goal. They’re also fantastic in-between race training cycles.

Athletes Build Their Training Plans

After working with a coach to determine a season plan and map out the training cycles, the athlete then builds the recommended training plan inside Coached themselves. 

Building a training plan in Coached is a straightforward process. The athlete answers a series of questions that allows Coached to determine their goals, profile their training history and current fitness level, and recommend a weekly schedule that they can further refine to suit their lifestyle. 

Once done, our coaches review it and make any necessary manual changes.

Computer screen displaying training plan builder

The Training Plan

Once built, the training plan provides everything our athletes need to know to execute their training with control and purpose. 

All our training plans specify session volumes, intensities and specifics. We also add coach notes for each session, linking supporting videos, articles, and other resources.

Our training plans are simple yet comprehensive.

How Coached Athletes Feel About Our Training Plans in 2021

Towards the end of each year, we send out an annual survey to our athletes to ask for feedback about our services and how we work. Below are some of the responses to the questions relating to our training plans from our completed 2021 survey.


As you can see, Coached athletes are happy athletes.

Get Coached For 2022

We’ve been doing this for a long time and are confident we can help you achieve your goals.

If you’re interested in trying Coached, we offer a 14-day free trial to all our online coaching services.

If you use the code HELLO2022 when signing up for an annual membership, you’ll only pay for nine months and receive twelve months of coaching.

It’s a great deal.


Skills That Parenting And Endurance Sport Have In Common

On 7 December 2015, I became a dad. That’s six years ago today.

Our little girl Freya arrived in the early evening, followed by her twin brother, Noah, one minute later.


What a way to start a parenting journey.

Parenting reminds me a lot of my years racing professionally. It’s challenging, fun, hard, stressful, rewarding, and I don’t know how it will go – even after all of the planning, work and sacrifice I put into it.

You just have to do the work, be consistent and hope it will work out for the best.

Over the years, I have noticed a considerable overlap between the skills necessary to race at a high level and to raise kids who will hopefully be kind and add value to this world.  

Here are a few …

Poise Under Pressure

Racing is stressful, intense and hard. So is parenting. There are plenty of times in both where you just want to curl up and disappear, but you can’t. You must maintain your composure and stay focused on what you’re trying to achieve.

The more poise you can demonstrate, the better your outcome.

Planning Matters

Success is often determined by the quality of your plan and your ability to execute the plan. This is true in endurance sport, where following a well-structured training plan will help you balance load and recovery to build your fitness and bring you to a peak on race day.

It’s also true in parenting. You need to plan your time carefully to get everything done and avoid making poor decisions under stress. If you don’t plan well, it’s very easy to live on takeaways, forget homework, or a playdate that’s scheduled.

Fail to prepare, prepare to fail.

Cut Race Times, Not Corners.

Racing at your potential and enjoying training is easy when you’re following the right programme.


Even the best-laid plans can run amok. In racing, you need to go with the flow and adapt to new and changing race conditions, blisters, crashes, and anything else that throws you off equilibrium.

It’s the same with parenting kids. Kids can be unpredictable and challenging when you least want them to. Like racing, you must remain calm and adapt your plan to stay in control.

Shit happens! It’s how you wipe it up that matters.

Hard Work

The only place success comes before work is in the dictionary. Endurance sport and parenting require incredibly hard work if you wish to excel. You can choose to put the hard work off or go easy on yourself, but sadly, it will show in your results.

Consistency Is Key

You won’t get fat by eating at McDonald’s once, and you won’t get fit by running for 10-hours. You are what you repeatedly do. If you want to perform well in endurance sport or raise great kids, you need to be consistent and keep showing up to do the work required.

Delayed Gratification

Success in endurance sport and parenting usually comes down to choosing the pain of discipline over the ease of distraction. And that’s exactly what delayed gratification is all about.

Suppose you delay the gratification of finishing your session early and invest time to stretch or use a foam roller afterwards. In that case, you’ll be stronger and lower your risk of suffering an injury.

If you delay the gratification of delicious takeaway foods, you and your kids will be healthier, more energetic, and focused.

Always be in service of your future self.

Emotional Control

Racing and parenting are emotional roller coasters that take emotional control to put forward your best effort. You can have the race of your life only to get injured soon after. Likewise, you can have an incredible experience with your child only for them to get tired and throw a tantrum when you say, “we’re going home”.

Emotional control has never been my strong point, but parenting has improved mine.

When a tired toddler throws a tantrum you can’t blow up, you must pause, calm yourself and return to neutral.

So there you have it. 

Several skills that I think parenting and high-performance sport have in common. If you’re an athlete planning a family, you may be able to bring some of these skills over into your parenting quite naturally. 

If you’re already a parent like me, I am sure you are probably already using some if not all of these skills.

Freya and Noah

To Freya and Noah, if you read this in future; thanks for teaching me and helping me to become a better person. I love you very much.