How to stay safe and embrace lockdown running

Our running lives have changed drastically over the last month since the Covid-19 lockdown measures were announced, so here are our tips of how to make the most of the situation.

Note: This article was written to comply with the UK’s lockdown guidance that were announced on 23rd March 2020. Please respect the current advice of your local authorities

Reduce the risk

First and foremost during this crisis we should all seek to reduce the risk to both ourselves and the wider community by respecting social distancing guidelines. Here are 3 things to consider before heading out for your run:
  1. Timing – We all have a routine we like to stick to but it may be we have to be a little more flexible and choose the right time to head out the door. Mid morning or late afternoon can sometimes be busy with people walking dogs or taking the kids out to play, so try to pick a time which is more quiet. The early morning or early evening might be an ideal time to have the trails to yourself. You’ll also get those stunning sunrises / sunsets to yourself and maybe even spot some wildlife that would otherwise be hidden.
  2. Choose your route – Where possible stick to wider paths and trails for running to allow you to pass others at a safe distance. As a runner I like to stick to the left that way any bikes can also pass you safely. If a narrower path is unavoidable and you come in to contact with a passer-by, take the opportunity to stop and stretch until it’s safe to continue. You could even incorporate a little fartlek effort to make up the time and improve your fitness (if this fits with your current training plan)
  3. Cover your face – It may not be for you but plenty of runners are fashioning a snood these days. It doesn’t have to be a thick one you wear in winter you can also purchase them in thinner material which make it much easier to breath whilst still fully covering your face. However, the additional of a colour coded headband may be one step too far?!?

Embrace the terrain on your doorstep & add variety to your running

In normal times, when left to our own devices, it’s easy for us all to gravitate towards our comfort zones and run on routes that suit our strengths. Why not use this time to expand your horizons and find some alternatives.

Whether you live close to some amazing hilly off road running or in the middle of the city make the most of the terrain you have on your doorstep. If you generally like to go on the hills but live somewhere flat you could use the time to work on your speed and do some faster running. Likewise if you have hills on your doorstep get out there and get strong. Either way you may need to be a little more flexible and embrace your immediate surroundings.

It may not necessarily be the route you wish to change, but more to vary the way you run it. It could be:

  • intervals based on certain landmarks,
  • hill repetitions or
  • running a ‘tempo’ run on hilly rather than flat terrain.

Training variety is essential for consistent and continued improvement, so really embrace these new challenges.

Work on your weaknesses

The current lockdown situation is unique and possibly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to really focus on improving your weaknesses without the fear of missing out on races and events.

Write down areas that you feel could do with some improvement. This could be:

  • Stretching, flexibility and mobility
  • Specific strength or muscle imbalances
  • Running drills and form technique
  • Goal setting and/or psychological improvements

Use the spare time in your day to practice and perfect these areas. You will be a much stronger and well rounded athlete once life returns to normal. Oh, and if you need any specific guidance, please do contact us for some specific personalised input 😉

Indoor / At-Home training

The current government guidance in the UK permits one daily outdoor exercise activity. So if you’d like to train twice or simply wish to reduce your risk even further, opt for some indoor or at-home workouts.

This could be your favourite S&C activity, stretching, yoga or, for those of you who are fortunate to have a treadmill at home, there is always Zwift where you can run with other ‘real’ people. You can choose to run at your own pace, complete an interval workout and there are even regular virtual races to keep the competitive juices flowing. Zwift is also even better on the bike, so if you fancy doing a little cross training and have a turbo or smart bike trainer, ride on.

Don’t have any gym equipment? No problem, improvise with what you have and train “Rocky” style. A few ideas:

  • Fill old food containers with sand, water and/or cement for lifting exercises
  • Use a heavy rucksack, spouse or child for squats
  • Tie a rope around your waist to practice high knees and running form drills

Make it fun

We may have to run solo but you can still remain competitive with your running group or training partner.

I’d never normally advocate such activity but we are living in unprecedented times…. …so why not try a bit of Strava segment hunting and see how far up the leader board you can go? Or maybe set up some challenges with your local running group. Some examples:

  • Run a route that crosses as many bridges as possible in the local area
  • Draw the best strava art
  • A virtual race over a set distance
  • If you can run with someone from your household, take some action shots on your local routes

So get out there, have fun, stay safe and make the most of the current situation. Better times are round the corner but make the most of now!