Safe Running During COVID-19 Lock Down: Take a fresh approach to training, says Aly Dixon

World 50KM Record Holder, Olympian and Sunderland Stroller Aly Dixon is urging runners to take a fresh approach to their training during the current COVID-19 lock down. There’s also some top tips for those who are using their daily opportunity for outdoor time to hit the streets when running is not their normal physical activity.

For the regular runners who were perhaps targeting particular, now cancelled races, the advice is not to look at it as a waste of training. The hard work has been done and now is not the time to press on regardless potentially leading to burnout or injury. “Take a step back and take it easy, we’re not going to be racing for a while now anyway!” says Dixon. Most importantly hard training weakens the bodies immune system, not ideal at a time when we all need to try and stay as healthy as possible.

With many having a little more time on their hands, now is the time to do some of that all important strength and conditioning that many runners overlook

There are loads of programmes and apps to follow, find one that suits you and build up gradually

You don’t even need all the equipment as many household items are perfect substitutes“.

Many of the runners currently pounding the streets are not regular runners, either gym closures or team sports cancellations have forced them to take up running in order to try and maintain some fitness during lock down. Here are some top tips:

Carry ID or a mobile phone with your emergency contact displayed on the screen even when the phone is locked.

Stay local and DO NOT drive anywhere to exercise.

If running for less than 30 minutes carrying water is not necessary, carrying a bottle will upset your balance. Make sure that you are well hydrated before you run and top up (with water) on your return.

Don’t wear too much clothing, it may feel cool when you first step out but you’ll soon warm up. Wear comfortable, clothing preferably not cotton or you will sweat too much.

The best places to run right now are the places you would normally avoid: industrial estates, leisure complex car parks etc. Avoid parks where there are likely to be plenty of walkers. If you do use paths be prepared to move and/or stop to allow other people to pass safely. Greet people with a smile, say ‘hello’.

If you can manage without don’t wear headphones when running. It means you are much more aware of your surroundings, while road traffic is reduced it is still there.

Take things steady and don’t immediately start running further and faster than normal, build up gradually and take rest days particularly if you are new to running

Enjoy it. Take in the things around you. Look for wildlife. There are loads of birds around, see what types you can spot!

Show respect for other people who are outdoors. Some people are wary of runners at the moment due to them breathing harder and heavier so give people lots of room, slow down, stay single file if running with anyone else and give a hello or thank you if they move, even if they avoid eye contact.

Ensure that you drink water/soft drinks throughout the day, this will help to keep upper respiratory tract infections at bay. Also increase your fruit and veg intake if you can (frozen veg & berries are great for this).

If you feel at all unwell DON’T EXERCISE, STAY AT HOME. Wait 48 hours after you feel better before exercising again, now is not the time to weaken your immune system.

One last tip, if you can run in the morning … before your brain figures out what your body is doing!

2 Responses

  1. Pam Mitchell says:

    Thank you for the very useful advise. I joined the beginners in January. I was really enjoying the running especially with the group. Now for obvious reasons I run alone. I’m currently doing between 3 and 4 miles every other day. Do you think this will eventually get easier. Some mornings I really struggle then others are a teeny bit easier. Is this enough training or too much. Thank you a very novice runner xx

    • Harry Harrison says:

      Hi Pam

      Delighted to hear that you’re keeping running, it is so much more difficult to motivate yourself on your own although the recent good weather has helped. I would advise for you not to overdo it, you’ll need to give your body time to adjust to running every other day so ensure you break it up, if you’re finding it hard then perhaps take a couple of days off, just walk out rather than running. What you’ll probably find is that it feels harder but actually it’s because you’re running quicker because you’re able to cope with a brisker pace. Stay safe and we’ll see you ‘fit as a lop’ once we’re able to re-start the Beginners Group!!


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