Running Through

‘Running Through’ COVID: Researchers need your help

Our chance to help medics learn more about the effects of the virus on runners, recovery and running life

Scientists from the University of Nottingham are appealing to the running community for our help in learning more about the relationship between coronavirus, training and recovery.

The ‘Running Through’ project, led by Dr Stefan Kluzek, Associate Professor in Sport and Exercise Medicine, aims to identify the characteristics of those of us who are at higher risk of developing symptomatic COVID-19 infection, developing common injuries and making a poor recovery after infection. 

As the participant information sheet for the study explains: “Understanding of the relationship between COVID-19 and other common viral infections, changes in the running activities and early symptoms of poor recovery is needed to help understand the impact of the pandemic on running communities. If found to be beneficial, running could then also be prescribed to the wider population.” 

While a necessary consequence of lockdown and a disappointment for many runners, the lack of regular competition over the last 12 months has also given the Running Through team a unique opportunity to investigate patterns of injury. 

As they explain, “Currently, it is not clear what training regime changes are linked with an increased risk of injury. Some suggest that changes of running intensity rather than weekly distance, as well as common viral infections, have strong links to injury.” 

The Running Through project will also investigate the effects of ‘Long Covid’ – prolonged tiredness and/or cardiac or respiratory symptoms – on previously active adults by monitoring those returning to training following their recovery. In particular, the scientists will examine the impact of the virus on subsequent physical activity, training performance and cardiorespiratory complications.

As with most surveys, there will be no direct benefit to runners for taking part – but the training data we submit will allow the researchers to produce ‘data-driven recommendations regarding training load, intensity or infection recovery’ that will benefit us all. 

The online survey is now open to members of running clubs, running groups, parkrunners and users of fitness tech like Garmin, Strava, MyFitnessPal, Fitbit or WattsonBlue aged 18+, of all levels of ability, all around the world.  

The initial survey should take around five minutes to complete and is available in English, Spanish, French and Portuguese. 

Runners are welcome to take part whether or not they've had COVID-19.

Image courtesy: Running Through/University of Nottingham

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