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Running in Covid times

As vaccinations among Americans begin to increase, there are signs that a return to a pre-pandemic normal is getting closer. However, COVID-19 is still continuing to spread throughout some parts of the country. This is causing many cancellations of races in the United States. Running in Covid times shouldnt necessarily be completely discounted however.

You may be wondering what you should be doing for your own personal health during this time and how it will affect your training and your runs.

Is it safe to run outside?

It is safe but running alone is the best way to reduce the risk of infection. Enjoy the outdoors but try heading out for when you know your route will be less crowded.
30 to 60 minutes moderate or brisk activity can actually boost your immune system and keep viruses at bay. Keep an eye on local alerts to see if there are any restrictions or quarantines in effect. If you do feel ill do the sensible thing and stay in to avoid spreading it.
If there are quarantines in place keep healthy by doing bodyweight exercises or by buying a treadmill to keep up your running.

Should you wear a mask when running?

CDC guidelines still state that people should still wear masks publicly. Even if you’re fully vaccinated, the CDC still recommends against indoor visits without a mask or attending medium or large gatherings.

Some state governments, like those in California and Pennsylvania, have suggested that everybody wear cloth face coverings once they venture out publically.

What this means for runners is that the consequences of their actions should be taken very seriously. Masks only help reduce the spread of the virus if worn correctly. However don´t wear a mask if it´s damp or wet from saliva or mucus. For that reason they shouldn’t be worn for solo exercise if you’re in a place you won’t encounter anyone else. It´s good to have one on your person just in case of emergencies or when you visit a store for example.

Should you avoid running in groups?

The WHOWHOWHO recently stated that asymptomatic spread is still a major issue when running in Covid times. You still endanger yourself and others when running in groups. If you live in an area where the spread is low it may be less dangerous to run with two or three trusted people who are honest about their exposure to the virus. Research has linked the transmission of COVID-19 more to indoor settings than outdoor settings but obviously there is still a risk.

Protect yourself and people around you as much as possible by wearing a mask, and maintaining a distance of at least six feet from other runners. Avoid unnecessary touching and don’t forget to wash your hands when you’ve finished.

Should you avoid touching traffic buttons?

While it is possible that someone can get COVID-19 by touching a contaminated surface this is not the main way the virus spreads.
You should probably however avoid high touch surfaces to be on the safe side. This includes elevators, doors and traffic buttons. If you have to touch the button, try to avoid touching your face afterwards.

Can coronavirus be spread through sweat?

Transmission happens between people who are in close contact with each other. It is transmitted via respiratory droplets and not sweat.

Is your immune system weaker after a tough workout?

Whilst there is a strong connection between regular exercise and a fortified immune system the stress on the body caused by running could slightly increase your chances of becoming ill. Avoid intense runs until it is safe to do otherwise and be more concerned about your health than fitness.

Are gyms safe for indoor training?

Home workouts are your best bet for maintaining your fitness routine. They allow you to stay healthy whilst protecting those around you. Many gyms are open for running during Covid times but will require masks, distancing, reserved time slots and smaller classes sizes,

Buy the best mask you can, wash your hands regularly and wipe down the equipment before and after you have used it.