We find ourselves in an unprecedented global health crisis and a rapidly evolving situation due to the novel COVID-19 (coronavirus). As we follow health officials’ recommendations to self-isolate and practice social distancing, everyone is shifting to a new normal – or finding new ways to maintain their routines.
So we asked Marine Corps Marathon Organization’s (MCMO) medical coordinator Michele “Shelly” Weinstein for some advice on running and staying physically active during the coronavirus pandemic.
Even in most places where we are required to shelter in place, going outside for periods of time to run, hike or just to take a walk with people from your household and/or dog is safe – and good.
“Running outside is good for your mental health, physical health and dealing with the emotions we are all feeling right now,” stated Weinstein.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the NIH National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and two-time Marine Corps Marathon (MCM) finisher, also recommends continuing outdoor exercise while still practicing social distancing of six feet away from others.
Just check what your town or state’s guidelines and restrictions are as some places have limited how far you can go from your house or even driving to the park.
Running in Groups
“Avoid running in groups for now,” says Weinstein. “Social distancing and small groups spread out is OK, but the risk still goes back to where these other people have been, what they have been exposed to and from whom.”
It’s a great time for runners and everyone else to be especially considerate. If you’re not feeling well, stay home, rest and hydrate. Sneeze into your elbow or use a tissue, then wash your hands. Weinstein suggests wearing gloves while running is also a good idea, just don’t touch your face or other objects while wearing it.
Large gatherings including running events are being postponed, cancelled or conducted virtually as the situation continues. The decision to change or modify your training will be based on when your next event is, however Weinstein encourages following your training program as if your event is still on and do it virtually.
“Involve the kids with a finish line and homemade medals,” says Weinstein. “But then take the requisite time off to recover and rest if you do run a tempo event.”
Cross train with biking or hiking if you can. Stay out of gyms and fitness centers even if they haven’t been closed and make sure to wipe down your home treadmills and other equipment after each use.
She also suggests keeping a log of your running. “Sometimes without the stress of an upcoming race, you may find your personal record.”
These are uncertain times, but we will get through this together. Be safe, be responsible, listen to your body and follow government and health officials’ recommendations.
For additional information about COVID-19, please read the latest report from the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) or your local health department website.