For many, the cancellation of races and loss of group sessions can lead to a loss of motivation, but the option of outdoor running is incredibly beneficial. (Please follow your city, state and/or government’s guidelines regarding health and safety orders). Regular, moderate exercise can help your immune system keep viruses at bay, and the need for ‘headspace’ has never been greater.
While lockdowns and social isolation are a necessity, there is no point dwelling on it. This isn't a time to explore far reaching goals. View this period a chance to get back to basics and learn something new about yourself. Here’s our tips to help get you through COVID-19, hoping you rediscover a love for running and to create the building blocks for long term success.
Again, please check specific Governmental guidance before you get out, and if you are suffering symptoms it’s better to stay at home and rest...
ENJOY THE CHANCE TO RUN SOLO
With no pressure to hit times or ‘peak’ for events, this is a great time to develop your mental skills and become more attuned to your body's feedback.
Listen to your breathing and pay attention to signals from the rest of your body. Listen to the sound and severity of your contact with the ground, and monitor the tension in your face and shoulders. A quieter, softer landing and a relaxed upper body will improve running economy.
Try some Fartlek sessions - a Swedish term loosely translated as ‘speed-play,’ allowing you to experiment with different pace and effort levels.
You can go freestyle, by including a series of varied pace ‘surges’ in the midst of a steady paced run, or you could go for a bit more structure. For example, go for a 20-25 minute run where you vary 60 seconds ‘fast’ with 60 seconds ‘steady’ or ‘easy.’
Ignore your watch - just run! You can compare your ‘splits’ post run, reinforcing the subjective feedback from the session and help you better monitor your pace in the future.
Many runners have been training hard for spring races and events, but you cannot maintain this intensity indefinitely. Hard training or a consistently high volume of training can suppress your immune system. So, ease back on tough endurance training and think about other skills you could develop to improve your running. Take the opportunity to focus on basic speed and coordination, including strides or drills in your training routine.
BUILD A ROUTINE
Many of us have lost the routines around which we built our lives. Running can help us establish a schedule and give our lives purpose. Set aside times to run and use 'triggers' to ensure you stick to your regular exercise slot. For example, try to put your running gear on when you wake up, or leave your running shoes visible by the door.
The most important thing is to make that initial step out the door. Once you’ve started you’ll rarely turn back.
BUILD FROM THE BOTTOM
Being consigned to your home gives you an opportunity to work on building a more resilient running body. There are a lot of simple running workouts available online, but start with a simple at home strength screen or test to underline any weakness that might need addressing.