Running Tips during these times
via Runners World https://www.runnersworld.com/news/a31439358/running-during-coronavirus/
Is it safe to run outside?
Yes—as long as you’re alone. When people congregate together and someone sneezes or coughs, droplets get onto objects that people touch, and then people touch their face, Nieman explains. The best plan for running right now is to go out for a solo run and enjoy the outdoors, in noncrowded areas. And, try timing your run for when you know the trails will be less crowded.
Additionally, people might be afraid to run in the colder weather for fear of illness, but that’s not true; there is no data that you will get sick from really any respiratory pathogen when running in cold weather, Nieman says.
Getting in 30 to 60 minutes of moderate to brisk activity can help your immune system keep viruses at bay. Be sure you know what’s going on in your area and if there are any restrictions or mandatory self-quarantines. And, if you’re sick or at-risk of spreading the virus, you shouldn’t go out—the bigger concern is spreading it to those who are at high risk, such as the elderly or immunocompromised.
During a self quarantine, Nieman suggests doing some exercise while staying where you are quarantined to keep healthy—doing bodyweight exercises or running on an at-home treadmill are great ways to do this. Unless you’re sick.
“If you do have flu or coronavirus, or have fever, sick people think wrongly they can ‘exercise the virus out of the system’ or ‘sweat it out,’ that’s a myth. It’s actually the opposite,” Neiman says.
Should I wear a mask out on solo runs?
CDC guidelines have recently been updated to recommend “wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies) to help reduce the spread of the virus from spreading between people interacting in close proximity.” (Guidelines are rapidly evolving.) Before those updates, some state governments, like those in California and Pennsylvania, began suggesting that everyone wear cloth face coverings when they go out in public for essential activities in order to help prevent those that are asymptomatic from spreading the disease.
“Really, what these announcements should mean to athletes, and to everyone, is that the situation we are in is very serious. And that we all need to consider the consequences of our individual actions on the community around us,” Ferrari says.
For example, the Pennsylvania guidelines state that masks “should not be worn damp or when wet from spit or mucus,” and in a press conference on April 3, Rachel Levine, M.D., Pennsylvania’s secretary of health, suggested that cloth face coverings may not be necessary when out for solo exercise if you will be in a place you won’t encounter anyone else. There is no advantage to wearing a face covering if you are not going to be near people at all, explains Ferrari.
“And that’s what we should be striving for, keeping big distances,” Ferrari says. “Face coverings do two possible things—they contain spread from the ill and prevent inhalation in the healthy. The degree to which they achieve these things is debated, but one thing is not: they are only really effective if used properly. And most people are not trained to use masks properly. Even taking a mask on and off incorrectly can be risky and increase your hand-to-mouth exposure.”
Wearing a Buff or other moisture-wicking face covering while running as well as maintaining at least a six-foot distance from others may help cut down on droplets being spread to others due to heavy breathing if you’re in an area where you may encounter others, Nieman says.
“The purpose of the mask is not to protect you, but to protect other people from you,” Labus says. “If that is the goal, going out solo and avoiding other people altogether is the best thing you can do.”
This means avoiding crowded areas, even if you get to your regular route and there are other people there, you should find a different place to go for the safety of everyone.
“This virus is highly contagious and transmissible, and it appears we cannot be too careful,” Nieman says.
However, wearing a cloth face covering is not a substitute for hand washing, physical distancing, or remaining at home when ill. The WHO has more resources on how to properly use masks. Check your local government recommendations for guidance. (You can find a directory of state health departments here.)
Can you run outside during a shelter-in-place mandate?
Effective March 19, residents of the state of California were ordered to shelter in place until further notice, meaning everyone is to stay inside their homes and away from others as much as possible. However, as outlined in the directive first put in place in San Francisco, for example, most shelter-in-place mandates allow for people to go outside and engage in solo outdoor activity, such as running, walking, and hiking, as long as people practice safe social distancing (stay at least six feet apart), do not gather in groups, and do not go out if they are feeling sick.
Other states, including New York, New Jersey, and Illinois have statewide mandates, and other cities and counties, including San Miguel County in Colorado, Blaine County in Idaho, and Athens-Clarke County in Georgia have implemented similar measures.
Overall, be sure to check your local public health recommendations and the current health mandates in your area, found on your state and local government website before heading outside for a solo workout. (You can find a directory of state health departments here.)
Should you avoid running in groups?
Yes, even if your exposure to sick people running outside should be minimal, as someone who has a fever and a cough should not be going for a run, Labus says. As of March 15, the CDC recommends that for the next 8 weeks, in-person events that consist of 50 people or more are canceled or postponed. And, the President’s Coronavirus Guidelines for America suggest that people avoid social gatherings of over 10 people to help slow the spread.
If you find yourself on a crowded route, you should protect yourself and those around you by spreading out and maintaining distance at least six feet apart from other runners (the recommendation for safe social distancing) and avoiding unnecessary hand-touching. And of course, don’t forget to wash your hands when you get back.
Should I avoid touching traffic buttons?
Though it may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads, according to the CDC. However, there could be a problem if someone coughs into his or her hand immediately before touching a traffic button, and then you touch the traffic button after them, Nieman explains. In general, the CDC recommends avoiding high-touch surfaces, like elevators and doors, so if possible avoid touching traffic buttons as well. If you must touch the traffic button, do not touch your face after. Even better? Use a glove (then avoid touching your face), sleeve, or elbow.
Can coronavirus be spread through sweat?
According to the CDC, transmission of the coronavirus happens between people who are in close contact with one another (about six feet) and through respiratory droplets, produced through a cough or sneeze—not sweat.
Am I contagious if I have no symptoms?
You are probably contagious right before you begin to show symptoms, but we don’t know for what time period and we don’t know how contagious. This is one thing we don’t fully understand yet about coronavirus. It makes sense that you would be more contagious once you are coughing, but we don’t fully understand transmission yet, Labus says.
Social distancing is the answer right now, Nieman says. Experts are still trying to figure out how long the virus lives on objects, and the problem is that it appears to be highly contagious, spread easily by coughing and sneezing, and can be spread by people who don’t think they’re sick. That’s why hand-washing, maintaining at least six-foot distance from others, and not touching your face are so important in protecting everyone.
Is my immune system weaker postmarathon or after a hard workout?
As you deplete your stores of glycogen, your immune system does not function as well as it normally does. That means in the hours following a half marathon or marathon, if you have been exposed to someone who has been sick with the flu or coronavirus, your bodies defenses are down, Neiman says. Additionally, mental or physical stress—caused by running a marathon or a very hard workout—could slightly increase your chances of becoming ill, Labus explains.
“I would caution runners to avoid long, intense runs right now until we get through all this and just to kind of keep things under control,” Nieman says. “Don’t overdo it. Be worried more about health than fitness.”
However, that doesn’t mean you need to quit running or exercising altogether. There is a very strong connection between regular exercise and a strong immune system in the first place, so the long-term immune system benefits of running far outweigh any short-term concerns, Labus says.
Are gyms safe for indoor training?
Right now, no. Many cities and states around the country are taking extra measures to help prevent the spread of coronavirus, which includes closing all nonessential businesses, and on this list—gyms. Overall, be sure to check your local public health recommendations before heading anywhere for a workout. (You can find a directory of state health departments here.)