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How to run safety during Covid-19 pandemic

Throughout the lockdown period, we've been told how important exercise is. We were initially allowed one form of exercise a day. Whether running has always been your thing or if it's a new thing to you, you want to be safe when you're out on your morning jog. Runners are getting a lot of stick from walkers who complain that the sweaty messes running along the pavement put them at risk of infection. That's not necessarily true, but it seems to be the perception. It's got so bad that The Guardian, who aren't known for stirring up public opinion with their headlines, called it "A battle for our pathways." That seems a tad dramatic, but you get the point. You need to run safety, considerately and responsibly. Here's how to achieve all three.

Clothing

Make sure you wear appropriate clothes. We're not thinking about your safety here, so we're not going to suggest a line of running shoes to wear. What's we're saying is that you have to dress colourfully, so you're clearly out for a run. Wear the appropriate clothing so that pedestrians will see you coming.

Passing

Don't rush past pedestrians. If you do, you'll be one of the runners that upsets pedestrians – the runners who are quickly becoming as unpopular as cyclists who whizz past walkers too fast. Give pedestrians a wide berth and don't return to the pavement until you're ten metres ahead of them. Scientists tell us that infected droplets can stay in your slipstream because of the low pressure it causes. Theoretically, that means you could be dragging the virus along with you as you ride.

Clear communication

If you're facing a pedestrian while you run, slow down. Give yourself time. Then clearly signal your intent. Switch to one side of the pavement as early as possible. Make it clear that you will run along that part of the pavement, and then when you approach the pedestrian, slow down. If you're also a driver, you'll know how to make your intentions clear to onward traffic. Take the same sort of approach when running.

Don't lose yourself

Try to run without earphones in. Don't get lost in the joy of exercise so much that you miss what's going on around you. Running can get you into an almost hypnotic state. Nearly half of all runners experience a trance-like state during their run. Running is blissful for most people. It's an escape. It gets us outside the home. It gives us drive and motivation. There are so many reasons to enjoy running, but at this time you have to be aware of your surroundings. Don't switch off while running. If anything, back off a little so you can stay in control.

Take it easy

If you've been running during the pandemic, you will have found empty pavements where you expected to find dog walkers, pedestrians and kids on bikes. That won't be the case for much longer. Be aware of that, and you won't make yourself the problem. Don't try and set a personal best. Ignore the stopwatch. Keep to a good pace, but don't push yourself too hard or you might push into others and cause the sort of issue that's currently giving joggers a bad name.

Finally

Don't spit. Don't snot either. Let's not do anything like that now. Not only is it disgusting, but it's potentially harmful to others if they come in contact and you're in the early stages of Covid-19. Why not use this time to stop any of those sorts of habits for good?

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