It’s been almost half a year since the new Coronavirus started plaguing the Chinese city of Wuhan before spreading globally. Because of it, our lives drastically changed. And the constant threat of acquiring it made everyone more cautious and anxious.
One of the things affected closest to my heart is running. Before the Philippine government implemented the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) last March 17, I was running at least 3 times a week. However, to comply with the directives and also for safety, I had to stop.
Though I’m still physically active through exercise, removing running from my routine made me unhappy.
More than two months later, the community quarantine was relaxed to enable the economy to breathe and now allows several non-contact sports like badminton, biking, tennis, and running.
I had mixed feelings about it. First, the danger of the virus is still widespread and has already reached our province, and second, I don’t know if I can still run as well as before.
But I’ve been through a running hiatus already. I just have to adjust my speed and intensity and trust my muscle memory to do the rest.
Here are five changes which I started to do to cope with running amid the pandemic:
1. Running with face mask
One of the most basic requirements when going outside nowadays is wearing a face mask. It doesn’t matter what kind, as long as your mouth and nose are covered.
Because of this, breathing became heavier and running more difficult. The good thing is it can build up the lungs over time, as explained in a Runner’s World article.
But prolonged running while wearing a mask is also risky. Just like what happened to a man whose lungs collapsed while running in a face mask. So proper pacing is the key to running cautiously during this time.
2. Looking for a place to run
I have multiple running routes. But I usually run from my house to Bagasbas Beach which is approximately 6km away. With the precaution of physical distancing, going through my usual routes is tricky because of the volume of people along the way.
Using the consideration above, I decided to run in the basketball court in front of our house instead. (The ring was chained since March to discourage basketball players.) And luckily, rarely anyone is using it early in the morning.
If someone arrives ahead of me, I can just run around our small subdivision. But I avoid it if I can because many unleashed dogs are out there to chase me.
3. Running in the morning
I am not a big fan of early morning runs although I tried it before. I experience body aches every time I do. It seems I need to do longer dynamic warm-ups.
What I do love is after-work runs late in the afternoon because it gives me time to think and relieve the stress I incurred during the day. But this difficult time forced me to adapt and try morning runs again. And honestly, I will choose those morning run body aches than no runs at all.
4. Fewer apps, more running
I know many runners can’t run without their trusty gadgets and apps. Honestly, I am one of them too.
I love listening to music during runs. However, every added accessory like the earphones is a point of exposure. With my cellphone tucked in my running belt, using it in loudspeakers can be an alternative. But I think we should try to get more used to running with our thoughts. We can meditate, pray, or think about ideas.
Another are GPS watches and running apps. I’ve been using Strava or Nike Running since I first had a smartphone to record my activities. Unfortunately, the small, covered space of the basketball court gives inaccurate GPS readings. Maybe I can use it when running around the subdivision.
But for now, I will revert to the good old-fashioned pedometer to measure my distance covered and go back to the basics. Maybe disconnecting from technology every now and then will help me be more connected with my self and just enjoy running more.
5. After-run routine
As a precaution, after running, I have to leave my shoes and clothes outside and wash and disinfect. These are added nuisances for safety. Just like the household protocols we put in place since the beginning of the pandemic.
As runners, we love to run. But during this time, we have to run with caution. Hindrances are part of growing, so we just need to keep that fire burning. May each of us also come out of this pandemic safe and stronger than ever.