It's a mere 16 days since our last post, and the world is now a very different place. The Coronavirus (Covid-19) is now very much a (unwanted) part of our lives.
The month of March is typically a busy time for runners. Every year, the number of races, 5ks, 10Ks, half marathons, marathons, and all the rest, increases dramatically. This year, however, the Coronavirus outbreak has changed everything.
There isn't much that hasn't been affected. As the disease spreads, society is responding in many interesting ways. Supermarkets have been emptied of essentials, the majority of shops and restaurants have closed, public transport is winding down, mass events are being cancelled and society has been put into 'lockdown'. As runners, we are having to respond to an uncomfortable new reality.
If you were training for a race this spring, you will have been disappointed. There are no races for the forseeable future. And training is now a solitary experience. In addition to races being cancelled and postponed, the recent 'lockdown' has put paid to any organised training. How we run, and who we run with has been dramatically restricted.
So, can we carry on running? And if so, how?
We've put together a number of suggestions based on our current understanding of the situation :
1. Exercise as permitted
Despite being strongly encouraged to stay at home, we are allowed to leave our homes to exercise. The thinking here is that keeping fit will allow you better fight the virus should you be unlucky enough to be infected.
2. Run solo
To prevent infection we need to keep at least 2 metres (6.5 feet) away from each other. The only exceptions to this are when running with members of your household.
3. Wash you hands after running
We have been strongly advised to wash our hands as required, e.g. after running. Use alcohol-based sanitiser if you have it. Otherwise, soapy water will be a fair second best. Wash for at least 20 seconds.
4. Avoid touching surfaces
A significant route of infection is touch. Covid-19 can survive on surfaces, including plastic and steel. Avoid touching fences, park benches, lamp posts, buttons at traffic crossings, etc. We strongly suspect that a pair of gloves may be a worthwhile investment.
5. Stay at home, especially if you are feeling sick or unwell
When not exercising, stay at home. This will stop infection to / from others.
If you are feeling ill, rest and take break form stressful activities. Its is important to avoid becoming run down. Keeping rested and reducing stress allows your immune system to stay healthy and ready to fight the virus.
6. Run local
As much as possible, don't venture too far from home, or run in unfamiliar areas. Keeping to familiar roads and paths will ensure that wherever you run that you will be confident of being able to keep 2 metres distant from others.
7. If you think you may have Coronavirus, follow government instructions - https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus.
Take care everyone. Run hard and be safe.