If you’re thinking of starting running again, then running during lockdown just might be the perfect time to start. But you may be wondering how to start running again in today’s climate.
While gyms and fitness studios are closed across the world, outdoor sports like running have seen a surge in popularity as people try to get their daily dose of exercise.
Running offers you the chance to get away from your house, and the people within it, and helps alleviate symptoms of stress, anxiety and depression.
The feeling you get after a run is really like no other.
It also adds that much needed structure to your day.
If you’re ready to start running again, then I’ve got some essential tips and advice that you can apply immediately to make this transition a whole lot easier.
Running can be tough, but with the right support and motivation, you can make it into a regular habit.
In this blog I’d like to share some tips on how to start running again during lockdown.
Tips for running during lockdown
Firstly, it’s important to point out that during lockdown there are some important safety points that you need to be aware of and follow.
Ensure you follow the social distancing rules in your area before you start running. This means staying the proper distance away from people.
Some cities have closed their parks and pathways to the public. As more and more people take up running, it can make finding open spaces harder.
Check your city’s local guidelines when finding a spot to run.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has also released guidelines on staying safe during lockdown.
Here are four top tips for running during lockdown:
- Stay two metres away from others. If you need to pass someone, move to the side as best as you can.
- Don’t go for a run if you feel sick. It’s best to stay at home if you feel sick, even if you have a slight cough or sniffle.
- Keep your hands and bodily fluids to yourself. Refrain from touching anything or your face. This includes gates, traffic lights, handrails etc. If you need to touch one of these objects, pull your sleeve over your hand.
- Stay local. Although it can be tempting to find your nearest beauty spot and go there for a run, it’s important you limit the amount of non-essential travelling you are doing so stay local when finding running routes.
How to start running again during lockdown
Build a habit
When you start running again it’s important to build a running habit that you can maintain consistently.
Forget about your times, how fast you can run a mile or how many miles you’re running each week.
As long as you’re running consistently each week, this is enough to slowly build momentum until you’re at a stage where you can think about improving your times.
Start small and slowly build from there. And when I say small, I mean baby steps!
If you’re completely new to cardio and exercise, you will need to build up your base fitness. This means your aerobic fitness and endurance.
You may feel out of breath on your run. This is often a shock for a lot of people who start running for the first time.
But don’t worry! You will build it back up again with consistent training. As you hit your goals, you will slowly build your running confidence.
If you prefer to run on a treadmill, check out my guide on the best treadmill workouts for runners.
Follow a training plan
The tendency for a lot of runners is to go full throttle into a training plan when they start.
This may sound appealing, but you risk burnout and injury so take it in your stride.
Depending on your fitness levels, you may need to start at the very beginning and build up from there.
There are many training plans out there that can get you from beginner runner to mile maiden in a matter of weeks.
The most popular training plan for beginners is Couch to 5k. I love this plan because it’s ideal for beginner runners who are either completely new to running or returning after a long break.
The plan combines walking and running is ideal for settling you into a regular running habit.
Many runners start with Couch to 5k and go on to run a 5k, 10k, half marathon and even a marathon.
Check out my post on what to do after Couch to 5k for more ways to continue your running journey.
If you feel you’re not quite at the beginner stage and would like something a little more advanced, then there are intermediate and advanced 5k plans out there.
The key is to find one that suits your fitness levels, interests, goals and amount of time you can commit to the training plan.
A typical training plan will include long runs, easy runs, speedwork, cross training and strength training along with designated rest days.
More on cross training and strength training below.
Cross training is a great way to build up your aerobic fitness and endurance as well as your flexibility, balance, coordination and core strength.
It is also proven to strengthen your muscles and help speed your recovery.
Walking, cycling, yoga, barre and swimming are all great cross training activities for runners.
Aim to include at least one or two cross training activities in your training plan each week to reap the benefits on the running track.
Strength training is important for runners because it helps you build stronger muscles, tendons, ligaments and connective tissues.
It improves your speed and power and lowers your risk of injury. It also contributes to better running form. In other words, it helps you run more efficiently.
Running is so much more than just running. In order to become a better runner, run faster and stronger for longer, you need to be dabbling in ancillary work like strength training.
Compound exercises like squats, forward lunges, hip bridges, inchworms, planks and burpees are all great exercises for runners.
For more information on strength training, check out my complete guide to strength training for runners.
Find your meditative groove
There’s no doubt that the times we’re living in have got people feeling stressed, anxious and worried for their future.
Exercise has proven to alleviate symptoms of anxiety and depression, and it can often be likened to a form of moving meditation.
If you’d like to start running purely to get some headspace, then mindful running is a great way to get outdoors and be at one with nature.
Check out my guide on how to practice mindful running if you’re new to it and want some useful tips and advice.
Find a running community
Finding the motivation and accountability to get out there each week is hard, especially when you’re discovering your running mojo.
Find some local running groups near you and see what they have to offer.
So many running groups are friendly and supportive, and even offer one-on-one coaching if you feel you’d benefit from this.
You may also meet some new friends in the process!
Of course during lockdown face to face running groups are not an option.
You’ll find a lot of running groups have now taken their members online, offering virtual running meet-ups and races.
If you’re aiming to complete a race during lockdown, check out my post on the best virtual running events in 2020.
Stay positive and focus on the enjoyment of running during these crazy times. Don’t worry too much at this stage about achieving your next PB.
When you start running, it can be frustrating when you’re not quite at the level you want to be. This is only natural.
The key is not to beat yourself up or compare yourself to anyone else and their journey.
Everyone is different and you need to allow yourself time to train and improve your fitness levels.
There’s plenty of time to run your fastest mile or achieve your next PB.
In the meantime, just enjoy the ride!