THE LOWDOWN ON LOCKDOWN RUNNING
The weather is getting warmer, the sun is shining more often, and… we all have to stay at home in order to fight the global pandemic, COVID-19.
While the coronavirus has closed our schools, gyms and fitness studios and cancelled many of our highly anticipated events, one thing it hasn’t closed is the outdoors. If you are currently living in a place where you are still allowed to go outside for leisure activity, then now is a good time to test your running legs, as long as you do it safely.
Here at Midnight Runners we are all for people taking a stab at the sport that we love so dearly. In fact, helping people get into running is one of our favourite things to do. With so many people now turning to running for their daily exercise, we want to give you some advice to get you started.
How to Start Running
There’s nothing quite like a good run to clear your mind and get some fresh air in your lungs. A solo run can help you to feel more connected to nature, to your city, and of course to your own mind and body. Getting started in a way that allows you to enjoy your run and also not get injured can be tricky, so we’ve compiled a few of our best tips to help you run, stay healthy, and have fun.
1. Warm-up properly
When you go to the gym you don’t just walk in, grab a barbell and start maxing out immediately. That would likely be a one-way ticket to injury! Treat running just as you would your gym routine or your favourite spin class: do a warm-up first. Five minutes of stretching and elevating your heart rate before you start will not only make the first 10 minutes of your run feel easier, but you will be less likely to pull a muscle or hurt yourself in some way.
2. Don’t do too much too soon
Our bodies are amazing machines that can do much more than we often think we’re capable of. If you do too much - ie. too far, too fast, or too often - when you haven’t properly built up to it, you will be walking down the stairs backwards the next day or at the very least develop some pretty gnarly shin splints. Take it easy, enjoy the process, and don’t run every day.
3. Start with a Walk-run
Along the same lines as point #2, walk-running is the perfect way to be gentle on your body while getting started. The amount you run versus the amount you walk will be dependent on your base fitness level. For example:
- Walking for 5 minutes and running for one.
- Walking for 1 minute and running for five.
- Go for a 30-minute run and every 10 minutes take a two-minute walk break.
- Taking your usual walking route and running every other block or telephone poll.
- The idea is that every run you go on, you walk a little less and run a little more until you can run for a full 30 minutes (or more!) without walking at all. The best part? You set the pace and you decide how quickly you decrease the walk breaks.
4. Stretch and strengthen
Running is amazing for your heart, lungs, bones, and muscles, but it can still be hard on the body if you’re not careful. Take five to ten minutes after each run to stretch, and do core and strengthening exercises two or three days per week. This will keep your muscles balanced and your tendons and ligaments healthy, allowing you to run longer and further without getting injured.
The Do’s and Don’ts of Running During the COVID-19 Lockdown
Running is a great way to get fresh air and exercise and escape the confines of your living room for a little while. That being said, there are certain rules that all runners must follow to ensure the safety of both themselves and those around them.
- Stay up-to-date with and follow the social distancing rules set out by your government/local health authorities.
- Avoid running on crowded trails or paths and of course, if a park or trail is closed, do not use it.
- Plan your runs for less popular times of day- perhaps early in the morning or later in the evening - to avoid crowded sidewalks.
- Maintain proper distance. When passing people move over to maintain the proper two metres space between you.
- Don’t spit or shoot snot rockets.
- Resist the urge to pet people’s dogs (tough, we know!).
- Don’t push yourself too hard: Whether your a newbie or a seasoned marathoner, now is not the time to be pushing big mileage or intense workouts. Intense exercise temporarily depresses your immune system so keep your runs easy to moderate intensity and take this time to simply enjoy the outdoors.
- Wash your hands first thing when you get home.
- Make food choices that support your immune system and keep your whole body strong and healthy.
Again, we can’t stress enough that you stay up to date with the regulations where you live to avoid the consequences of breaking the rules.
What to do if you can’t run
In many countries you are still allowed to go out for fresh air and exercise at least once a day. In some places hit harder by the coronavirus, however, this is no longer an option. Rather than becoming a couch potato for the foreseeable future, there are still plenty of ways you can move your body and stay fit even if you live in a tiny apartment with no “real” fitness equipment.
Try Virtual Fitness
Most gyms, fitness studios, and exercise clubs are offering free or discounted virtual classes to help keep you moving.
Missing your weights? Use wine bottles, fill up a backpack with books, or find some other heavy household item to lift, pull, push, squat, and lunge with. It’s amazing how much of a sweat you can get going with a little creativity and a couple of shopping bags full of canned goods.
For many of us, the thought that we can’t go out for a run is scary. While not being able to go out is hard, take this as an opportunity to work on some other areas of your fitness. Do plyometrics, try HIIT training, and practice yoga and meditation. When all of this is over, you will be back out and running in no time.
Never Just Running
Midnight Runners has always been a community first and a running group second. We understand the stress and anxiety brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic and want to support our communities around the world.
If you need advice, help, or just a friendly voice to cheer you up, please send us an email. We are stronger together and will make it through this difficult time as a team.
Stay healthy, stay safe, stay strong, and of course, stay home.