Social Distance Running

I’ve been running on and off for about ten years now, and have tried a few different methods of the running madness… park running, 10K running, street running, and now… social distance running.

Because, thanks to Covid-19 my chosen form of keeping fit is one of the only things which remains open during lockdown, making going for a run even more appealing than ever. But you have to follow a few basic rules.

Don’t take the piss

The golden rule of exercising during a global pandemic. Yes you can exercise, but at minimal levels – this is not the time to decide to begin marathon training. At most an hour of exercise, so run to your own ability and level, whether that means a 10K or 10 laps round the block. Running to a park to sit and enjoy the sun for half an hour does not count. Running to your friends mutually convenient running spot to congregate and chat does not count. Running anywhere as an excuse to be somewhere you shouldn’t be, guess what… does not count.

You also need to know that driving to an idyllic beauty spot, or to ANY spot to run is against the rules. So it’s a case of running to wherever is within your 1 hour limit radium (including getting home) so now is the time to really assess how much you would love that rural / seaside idyll one day, be bloody grateful for it, or accept you are running for an hour around the grey streets of suburbia and for now, suck it up.

Avoid peak times and spaces

Let’s face it, running is going to have suddenly become a whole lot more appealing to many people going stir crazy, whose gyms have shut, whose football teams are on the bench, or whose co-habitants are driving them up the wall. Your ideal running spot may just have become like the beach on a sunny bank holiday so avoid the prime places and peak times – this could be the first time ever we choose running spots based on their isolation factor.

Early early morning is probably the most beautiful and bestest time to run, as is sunset, when the sun is going down, the light is low and the folk of the daytime are on the sofa. Timing is everything.

Their right of way

Regardless of the situation, as a runner, always give way to pedestrians, dog walkers, walkers, families taking exercise etc etc etc. As a sweaty, panty, speedy gonzalez (we wish) take it upon yourself to dive into the road (look first), skip over the rugged verge, or dive into a bush as needed. It’s common courtesy and now is not the time to be doing the to me to you ‘are we dancing’ move.

Going solo

It doesn’t matter if you run 2 metres apart, this is not a time for group exercise; unless you managed to drag a member of your household out with you, a no go if, like us you have small humans and zero chance of a babysitter (pandemic probs). If you have always relied on a motivational running partner, now is the time to download an app like Strava and let the social networking kudos carry you home.

Self isolation Mr motivation

If you are self isolating because you have observed symptoms in yourself or a member of your household, now is the time to give it a miss if you can. The guidelines are sketchy about whether those self isolating can still go outside to exercise, but if you feel well and fine, there are other ways to stay active indoors without taking unnecessary risks to yourself or others (assuming there are no exceptional circumstances). Joe Wicks, Yoga with Adrienne and a million other virtual workouts from the comfort of your own home. You could even replicate the running around the garden marathon… if you are really desperate. See this as your perfect excuse to have a break, crack open the chocolate… your running day will come again.

Embrace the moment

There has never been a better time to fall in love with the freedom, space, endorphins and sense of achievement running brings. Whether you pound the pavement in silence, rock out to your best tunes, crack out a little skip or dance or belt out a classic in the middle of a empty field. Take this moment for yourself to burn off any extra energy, and feel the stresses and strains fade away briefly.

But… do it safely. Do it by the guidelines. And if you can’t manage to do that, then please, please just stay home.


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