How to run outside during the era of “social distancing”
Your running club has shut. You haven’t met up with your mates for a run since March. But what exactly can (and can’t) you do regarding outdoor running during Covid-19?
How to cope if your running route is busy
If your preferred running route is busier than usual – with other runners or with people out on their walks – you’ll need to observe social distancing. Be courteous, cross the road if possible, move to the side if the path is wide, or you might need to stop or slow down. Run on the left. Stay aware of your surroundings (leave the headphones at home for busier runs) and be mindful of the situation.
How to make progress with training
Can you increase your endurance, pace, or speed during lockdown? Definitely! You’ll just need to plan things differently than during normal life. Choose routes that will be empty, or places where you can run laps. Don’t risk being slowed down or distracted by walkers, cyclists, or lots of dog walkers. Avoid popular outdoor spots. Instead, choose steep hills, laps around the block, or use out-and-back routes.
How to deal with pedestrians who get too close
Running during lockdown is difficult enough, without pedestrians who can’t keep their distance. What should you do if you see people walking two abreast, or oblivious on their phones? Try to catch their eye, and make it clear (by using hand gestures) whether you will move left or right. If you are running up behind someone, a loud but friendly “runner coming through please!” should work. If they really don’t notice, you’ll need to slow right down and give them an ultra-wide berth. It’s annoying, but necessary.
What to do if another runner is on the same route
Have you noticed that your regular running routes are busy with extra runners? Everyone has the same idea as you, plus new runners are taking to training for the first time. Which is great! But does cause some problems. If you find yourself running behind someone else at the same speed, you’ll need to do something to break the pattern. Turn off at the next junction, turn around and run back, or slow down for a couple of minutes. That’s all it takes.
How to replace your club/group/training partner run sessions
Running alone isn’t for everyone. If you’re used to running with a club or a training partner, you might be struggling. You can now meet up with one other person to run together, but you must stay at least 2m apart (and leave an extra 2m for pedestrians). Otherwise, get smart with technology. Use Strava to see who else runs your routes, and see how you compare to them. See if anyone from your running club wants to pair up and run the same route at different times (you can compare notes later).