Training: Running during coronavirus

As a runner, you naturally have a responsibility to protect our own health and safety on a run. Even though lock-down restrictions are changing, social distancing is likely to be with us for a while yet. Now more than ever, it’s vital to take steps to protect both yourself and the people around us. 

The most important thing to keep in mind is to run only when and where it’s safe to do so for both you and your local community. When you run, always keep in mind the NHS guidelines on social distancing. If you are unsure or feel unsafe, stay inside. "Running solo or with someone who you live with and share the air every day is the safest,” said Dr. Stuart Weiss, New York Road Runners’ medical director. “It's hard to maintain social distancing with a running partner who is not part of your everyday life.” Maintaining social distance may also mean changing your favourite running route or the time of day you run and being flexible in the moment with how far or how long you run.

It is possible to get the benefits of exercise while staying indoors. Many runners are using this time to rest or focus on a different aspect of their training through online yoga or strength work. Find exercise that works for you and your space, whether it is treadmill running, cycling, or following along with a virtual dance or fitness class. 

Our blog 'Strength, condition, strengthen' could be a good place to start.

If are able to get outside and run, there are a few simple things you can do to keep you and those around you safe:

  • Always try to run where you can maintain social distancing between you and another person. At the moment in the UK the advise remains to stay 2m (or 3 steps) away
  • On any running route there will be pinch points - most pavements and paths weren't built with social distancing in mind! Be prepared to slow or stop to allow others to pass
  • Stepping onto the road or even crossing the road to avoid people is fine. But be very aware of road safety and only step onto the road if it is safe to do so.
  • Keep your eyes on the path ahead of you and read the scene. Throughout your run, ask yourself, “Can I pass safely if I keep running in this direction?”
  • While running routines are comforting, catch yourself if you start thinking “I must run my normal route today” or “I must run five miles.” Instead, ask yourself how you can make those you run past feel safe. This will mean making lots of space when passing or by varying your speed to pass safely. Being flexible with your running plans and generous in sharing the pavements and paths with others is important to staying safe and keeping those around you safe
  • Now is a good time to try different types of training runs, like shorter laps in an open space if that is the safest option, introducing interval sprints to shorter runs or hill work.

At the moment, running is not about breaking records, even personal ones, or accumulating distance or time. Running during this pandemic is about keeping yourself and others healthy. Yes, you are staying healthy by running, but you can take basic precautions to avoid spreading the virus, particularly if your runs take you onto crowded paths or trails. This is a time to slow down a bit, stick closer to home and help keep everyone safer.

Please seek medical advice before starting any kind of intensive training or exercise plan.




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