Running in the Time of COVID-19
August 25, 2020
In late January, a friend who was an avid runner suggested I run a half marathon with him. I initially balked at the thought. I deduced that it would take me over 2 hours if I kept a pace I was comfortable with, and at that point I hadn’t run more than 2-3 miles ever. But my friend was optimistic that I could do it and sent me a 16-week training program that made it feel possible. So I said sure, why not! Fresh off the early 2020 mantra of “new year, new me!” I hit the pavement.
Of course, 2020 had some other ideas in mind for how the year might go. Not long into my training there were whispers of the coronavirus, and as the weeks went on, we soon found ourselves mandated to stay indoors and quarantine. As gyms closed, many people were forced to think more creatively about how to stay active safely. I did some research about what other cities were doing and found that most still encouraged people to run and exercise outdoors, maintaining that 6-foot distance and wearing a mask.
Quarantine measures have highlighted how creative people can get when it comes to adjusting their lives and coming up with solutions to live as normally as possible. As the year progresses and the virus continues to affect our world, it’s important to find ways to cope mentally and physically. Even if it’s not running, we all need activities that help us maintain a sense of normalcy; the CDC lists ways to help cope, because pandemics are stressful!
Exercise is well known for its mood-boosting abilities, and many of us could use a lift. As our work from home routine is entering its sixth month, it’s certainly easy to fall prey to the doom and gloom of current events. Being stuck inside during a quarantine, you are often looking at screens more, sleep patterns can get interrupted, and it’s all too easy to fall prey to bad eating habits and being less physical.
Like many others, I found running to be a great outlet to escape my apartment, and it proved to be very helpful, especially in times of battling anxiety, crisis and fear. I kept to my training schedule and felt myself getting stronger, combating quarantine blues, and feeling encouraged by friends and family. And the longer I ran the smaller the city felt. It made me feel closer to the neighborhoods I ran through.
The half marathon I had registered for was eventually canceled like many other events due to COVID-19, but at the end of May, when the race was supposed to be held, my fellow runner friend and I completed the 13.2 miles. Running has taught me a lot about endurance and problem solving, and hopefully we will all find ways to keep going through this year!
August 25, 2020