March 20, 2020
Due to the Coronavirus outbreak, social distancing as been advised by the UK Government as one of the best things we can do to stop the spread of the virus. Across our 58 areas, runners have been keeping up a weekly solo run to keep healthy and happy during this strange time. But what about those who are new to running? Below, our trainer in Haringey, Euclides, gives his top tips on how to get started.
It’s grim, let’s face it. This horrid Coronavirus has thrown a spanner in the works and changed single-handedly the way we live and interact in the space of a few weeks. How we work, socialise, drink, and even pray have changed dramatically in a head-spinning manner and we’re frankly all still trying to make sense of it.
How we stay fit in the Coronavirus era has also become much more challenging. Social distancing is quite rightly being lauded as one of the best things we can do as individuals to stop the spread of the virus which has meant that everything from yoga classes to responsible gyms - including your Goodgym group runs and parkrun sessions - have been put on hold for the foreseeable future.
Lucky for us, solo running is still appropriate and people are turning to it, many for the first time in years, as the best way to stay fit and healthy in these very surreal times.
So if you're one of these fortunate individuals just discovering the joys of running for the first time, hurray for you and welcome to your brand new love.
First things first, solo running can be 100% safe under the current conditions. Coronavirus is passed on through coughing and sneezing, so provided that you’re respecting the social distancing golden rule of keeping about 6 feet between you and everybody else, you should be ok. Maybe avoid any places that are still crowded, as tempting as it might be to run through the alleys at Morrisons hunting for that last loo roll, and you will be ok. Also, whilst we're doing the myths-dispelling science bit, taking up running is absolutely fine for your knees. Really!
Now, with that out of the way, what tips can I give you as you start? Allow me to hand you over to the fountain of knowledge, and general loveliness, that is GoodGym Haringey to do the talking.
Goodgym Haringey’s Top Tips for Runners
Start slow: As Latoya puts it, “you’ve got to go slow before you can go fast.” Not all of us can be a Kosgei or a Kipchoge, especially when we’re just starting out, so remember that running is a discipline that relies on constant and incremental gains. So don’t feel like you’ve got to run as fast as Usain Bolt or turn every run into a marathon. “If you're finding it hard you can always slow down, slow running is still running,” as Sarah puts it. “To slow down straighten up your body and take smaller strides. Keep your feet under your body.” Remember, deciding to lace up and go out for a small, short run is where most of us have started.
Work those intervals: When you start, running for long periods without stopping is likely to be pretty difficult. Don’t be hard on yourself. “Intervals are good for stamina,” Dave advises. “If you can’t run for as long as you want, jog/walk/jog is great for building up.” When you’re more comfortable with your running and can go for longer, switch that formula to run slow/run fast/run slow. This is the best way to start building up those incremental gains we mentioned above.
Get structure: “The One You couch to 5k app comes highly recommended and you can listen to people like Sarah Millican or Sanjeev Kohli encouraging you to run - perfect company while social distancing!” advises Sarah. Nurjehan also suggests to be mindful of where you start practicising and giving yourself attainable goals. “Don’t select a huge athletic stadium as your first lap. Endurance and stamina over speed,” she suggests.
Get tooled up: The couch to 5k app mentioned above is a great tool for any budding runner out there. Another app we can’t recommend enough is Strava. As Dave puts it, “Strava is great when you’re starting. You don’t feel like you’re making progress but look back and are stunned at how far you’ve come.” Also make sure you’re wearing comfortable running shoes. And carry tissues. “Running makes you need tissues,” screams Latoya. “I really wish someone had told me that!”. So, yeah, you’ve been told.
Make it fun: Normally this would be the section where I would sing praises for group running. Alas, we live through surreal times. But that doesn’t mean that solo running can’t be fun. Find whatever works for you – whether that’s listening to music or catching up on your podcast list whilst you run, giving yourself little challenges as you go along, or promising yourself certain treats for when you achieve a milestone (my particular favourite) – just find a way to make it fun whilst it becomes a habit for you. Trust me, once it does, you won’t look back.
Guidance for running during the Coronavirus outbreak If you're new to running or a seasoned race runner, its important that you follow government guidelines and advice whilst you are outdoors. If you are running this week: - Stay local and use open spaces near to your home - Do not travel unnecessarily (no run tourism) - Maintain at least 2m distance - Run alone or with members of your household - Wash your hands when you're back.
Stay safe out there, wash yo’ hands, and enjoy your running!