Social distancing and running
For everyone who uses running as a way to interact with others or to be a part of a community, today’s environment with COVID-19 can be challenging.
Running, in general, is an isolated activity, but group running is more about community and togetherness. There are many running groups in our area that meet at a set time and run based on ability levels. Some are faster, others are walking/running, but they all end up back at the same place, and after the workout, many participants grab a drink or a bite to eat.
For many, it’s about sharing an activity with others. Some need a group setting to stay motivated, but what draws most people’s interest is the idea of being active and interacting with their community.
With the escalating health crisis around the world, we have now become accustomed to terms like social distancing. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, social distancing is staying out of group settings, avoiding mass gatherings and maintaining distance.
If you are someone who runs on your own, there is probably nothing better than to go for a run on the beach or on the trails, staying far away from other people. However, if you are someone who enjoys the social aspect of running, social distancing can be difficult.
For my athletes this is what I would recommend:
Do – If you have to run with others, limit the size of the running group. If you have a group of 20 people who normally meet at 5 p.m. for a run, it might be a good idea to run with one or two other people from that group at 6 p.m. instead. You can run with each other, but still keep an adequate distance while running. Some people like running in groups for safety reasons. If you don’t feel comfortable running with others, but still want to feel safe when you run, you can change the time of your runs or the location. Doing a small loop around your neighborhood may be a good option. If you have a treadmill at your house, you could use FaceTime to interact with others while running as a way to stay motivated or engaged.
Do not – I would not use a treadmill in a gym because you have no control of who jumps on the treadmill next to you. It is normally a confined space, and it is very difficult to keep a gym 100 percent germ-free. You may need to alter normal running routines. If you have a route where you run through a high concentration of people, you should skip that portion of the run or add more distance in a more isolated area. In general, runners are healthy individuals who would most likely not have complications if they got COVID-19. However, for the people the runner may pass the virus on to, it could be life-threatening. We all need to be responsible not only to ourselves but also to our community. Stay active, but be responsible.