Running Etiquette in the Coronavirus COVID-19 Era

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As I write this post from here in the UK we are still allowed to exercise outside, so long as we follow the social distancing measures stipulated by the government. Running is good for our well-being and has many health benefits – nothing new here, however in these unprecedented times it may be the case that running (and being) outside becomes too risky. Therefore if and when the guidance changes we must all collectively change our behaviours accordingly.

That said lets deal with the here and now. In the current era of Coronavirus COVID-19 there are some simple steps we as runners can take to ensure both the safety of others as well as ourselves.

  • Run from your doorstep – guidelines state we should avoid unnecessary journeys – that includes driving to your local park, trail, the mountains etc. Its time to keep your social conscience in tact and explore locally.
  • Run on your own – its rapidly becoming a social taboo to be in even small groups, I run solo anyhow however running on your own is gonna be the safest option moving forward.
  • Reduce your effort – We all need to remain healthy and in tip top condition during this health crisis, running (especially long-distance) can hit the immune system pretty hard. Therefore consider reducing your effort (think winter maintenance mode), you can ramp it up again when this is all over.
  • Give people a wide birth – adhere to the minimum 2 metre gap between fellow runners and pedestrians. I’ve even crossed the road when I’ve sensed somebody may be uncomfortable by a sweaty and heavy breathing running passing them by.
  • Modify your route if necessary – some of my local trails are narrow, maybe a maximum of 2 metres wide. I had a situation where I unavoidably had to pass by some ‘old’ people and couldn’t give them a wide berth. I’m now only going to take that route if its clear of people, and turnaround if necessary.
  • Avoid the usual ‘hot-spots’ – now is not the time to head to your local park run circuit, it might be boring to do laps around your estate or apartment block however we all need to make sacrifices and in the grand scheme of things this really isn’t a big one!
  • Keep your spit to yourself – if you must spit try to do it in a bush (non-edible plants) away from people, and ideally when no-one is around. Its something we should do anyhow, however even more so in the strange times.
  • Stay indoors if and when you have to – We don’t all live in rural/semi-rural locations, have gardens or balconies etc. If its not safe for you to run and if (and likely when) the lock-down comes we all need to get creative. This runner from France ran a marathon on his 7-metre long balcony. I guess you could do this in a corridor, living space etc. If not, some online HIT may have to do for now!

This is certainly not an exhaustive list, add a comment below with your running tips and i’ll add the best ones to the list. Stay safe out there folks and please follow government advice for all our sakes.

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