Lone female runner

This is a time for 'socially responsible' running

Runners are privileged. We are currently permitted, even encouraged, to continue our chosen activity during the coronavirus outbreak but it is now absolutely paramount that we do so responsibly and in a socially acceptable manner.

We have probably all experienced the reaction of some members of the public as they seek to put extra distance between themselves and a passing runner. People are frightened and for perfectly understandable reasons.

Let's get some perspective right away. We might have had our marathon or favourite trail race postponed and our training is restricted by the Government to: “One form of exercise a day - for example a run, walk, or cycle - alone or with members of your household”. Meanwhile, the NHS is performing daily miracles and thousands of people are suffering enormous hardship.

Yet, we runners innately know that going for our daily run keeps us sane and healthy and more able to help others. And there is plenty of evidence that moderate exercise boosts our immune system and therefore strengthens our natural defences against all forms of illness.

So how can we do the right thing without upsetting anyone else? We all need to learn to run considerately. That person who freezes as we approach may be vulnerable or extra sensitive to the situation. So give them a smile, a polite greeting and say “thank you” for giving us space.

Where possible, we should select quieter routes to run, allowing others to enjoy their stroll without being disturbed by runners. That may not always be practical but we can at least reduce our speed when passing people, then pick up the pace when the coast is clear. Do that a few times and, hey presto, we have created a fartlek session!

We should also consider the time of day. Perhaps this is the opportunity to experience the joys of a peaceful, early morning run or the cool evenings, now the clocks are going forward. You never know, you might find a refreshing new routine that could actually enhance your training.

If we all follow the rules: one form of daily exercise, alone or only with members of our own household, and make sure we scrupulously follow Government and Public Health guidance regarding our own health, we could emerge from this unprecedented situation stronger than ever and maybe just a little more mindful of other people – and that's no bad thing.

Keep fit, keep safe and keep your distance.

Image courtesy Windsor Women's 10K

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