Here are some health and safety tips for runners exercising during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Safety is paramount. All runners must lead by example and closely follow local health advisories/guidelines. If you can’t keep your distance, depending on your location, or when in doubt, we strongly advise staying at home until you’re able to do so. Here are guidelines from the CDC on staying safe.
- Managing stress. For many, running is a light in a dark period. It helps maintain sanity, reduce stress and offers a bit of an escape. As long as you can maintain distance stick to your routine but adjust and consider how stress might make typical training paces feel harder. Go by effort. Now is not a time to add in more stress or maintain a rigorous training program. If you’re experiencing a lot of mental/emotional stress you should compensate and adjust your training to prevent overload on your system (e.g. reduce your workout and weekly volume).
- Keep training fun, light. If you’re feeling good, routine is helpful during a time of social distancing. Race will be cancelled for the foreseeable future so enjoy the process and appreciate that you can run. Keep workouts easy and fun. Fartlek running or short Reps are fine as long as you’re adding in lots of recovery so the intensity never stays too high. Also, focus on time-based running, not distance. Dr. Megan Roche is a running coach, medical doctor and epidemiology researcher, she says, “Exercise can help manage stress, boost the immune system, and improve energy levels.” “However, it’s important to stay in tune with how your body is feeling and keep an eye on exercise load and intensity. Overtraining and/or rapid increases in training volume can burden the immune system. ”
- Focus on mobility and strength. These are two areas most runners ignore or never do enough of when training. Now is a great opportunity to work with your coach or a PT on developing an at home routine that focused more on these aspects of your training. When you come back this summer/ fall you’ll be an even stronger runner for it.
- Stay connected. Find community through your local running store, clubs, training platforms, workout classes online. VDOT O2 now has virtual racing (VDOT Challenges) to help with motivation and social isolation. Participate by walking or jogging using it as your workout on one of the designated race weekends.