You might be finding it hard to find purpose in lacing up your trainers and getting out there at the moment. I know I am. Races, parkruns and club/group sessions nationwide are all cancelled until ‘further notice’ and it’s impossible to know how long the current situation will go on for – or if it will get even worse and render us unable to get out for runs at all.
So, difficult as it might feel (and provided you are well, of course) I gently urge you to maintain your running. Running helps to reduce stress and anxiety, both of which have a negative impact on the immune system. In fact, running itself helps to maintain a healthy immune system, provided you don’t run to exhaustion. Being outdoors is far healthier than being cooped up inside, especially if being indoors means close proximity to others. (I do find it hard to believe that UK Athletics has issued a directive to cancel all running group sessions, when gyms and yoga studios remain open.) Keeping your routine, as far as is possible, helps to bring a sense of order at a time when everything feels a little out of control.
If you are used to running with others, you might struggle with the idea of going out alone. Perhaps you could team up with a friend or fellow runner from your running club or group? Or go out as a small group, keeping your distance from each other and avoiding any spread of respiratory droplets by refraining from spitting, nose clearing, coughing and sneezing.
As one of my group members so wisely commented this morning, ‘physical distancing’ would be a better term than ‘social distancing’ – in these anxious and uncertain times, we need each other more than ever. If you do run alone, you can still share and discuss your achievements on social media platforms – we are posting our twice-weekly Rye Runners sessions on a virtual whiteboard and inviting members to report back when they’ve completed them or any other runs. This helps us all feel like we’re still part of a community – and that there’s a point to getting out there and clocking up some miles.
What if you don’t feel comfortable about running at all in the present climate? You could use this time to do one of those many running-related tasks that there’s never time to do. It could be something physical, like strength training or plyometrics. Drills in the garden? Or if you’re not up to that, why not do a kit inventory and clear-out, or clean those mud-laden running shoes? Running isn’t going anywhere. It’ll still be here when all this craziness is over.
Keep the faith and stay safe.