Marathons? 10ks? 5ks? No more. Gyms closed. Seems like everything is cancelled. Don’t let that stop you. Going for a run outdoors during COVID-19 is vital for your mental and physical heath.
Notice even more runners out there than before? You’re not alone. Cities across the country have seen a surge in running, biking, and exercising outdoors. Thankfully, health experts say your risk of infection from outdoor exercise is low.
It still pays to be mindful out there. Here are some quick tips to keep your miles up:
- Know Your Space: Be sure to allow at least six feet of distance (or more) for other runners. Dr. Sanjay Gupta even recommends 10 to 12 feet as your run because you’re breathing more heavily as you work out.
- Etiquette: If you find yourself approaching other runners, provide a friendly notice as you approach: “On your left”, “On your right”. A few words of encouragement or even a quick wave goes a long way right now.
- Cover Your Face: While the CDC recommends masks or other face coverings while indoors, it is a good idea while outside as well. Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, notes that as many as 50% of people who have the virus may be asymptomatic. The mask is a gesture to protect others. Consider a bandana, scarf, or “buff” for extra comfort versus the traditional mask.
- Go Solo: The current pandemic is the perfect time to ditch the usual running buddies. Use this as an excuse to seek out a new trail. Avoid the most crowded and popular sites. Enjoy the solitude. The time spent can be seen as a meditative respite from the past few months.
- Stay Connected: Just because you are training solo more doesn’t mean you can’t stay in touch. Consider Strava to share your runs and motivate one another. Check out some virtual races or plan your own virtual events on social media. Host a post run happy hour over Zoom. Get creative on what it means to be together until running returns to normal.
- Stay Motivated: Many have lost the familiar routines during this drastic shift in day-to-day life. If you work from home, and if you’re a parent, the demands of your job and family can often push your running routines to the side.
- Set Goals: While your pre-pandemic goals may not work right now, remember that fitness and running are essential to stress management, immunity and our overall well-being. Set reasonable and achievable milestones to keep on track.
Looking forward, everyone has a reason they run.
Times like this are a reminder to push through, keep up your pace, and find your finish line – even if you find it alone. That runner’s high is simply not possible without a little strife. While we don’t know what this pandemic finish line looks like, we know it’s just ahead.