Running is a great way to beat the COVID-19 blues; it keeps you energized, as well as physically and mentally fit. As a Skechers performance athlete, I run year-round and participate in competitive races—although virtually since the start of the pandemic. Here are some tips that will help if you’re new to running and don’t know where to get started.
CHECK THE WEATHER
The temperature can change at a moment’s notice in Canada, so make sure to check the weather in the area of your run and dress appropriately. During the summer, it’s best to wear lightweight, loose-fitting clothes. Typically all you need are shorts, a shirt, socks and a good pair of running shoes.
However, running in bad weather can also help work on your mental toughness. When you run, your legs are only as strong as your brain. You must train your brain to keep going despite the weather.
Start slow and easy. Give your body a warm-up period, whether it is stretching or a slower-paced run at first. This should be about five to 10 minutes in length before you pick up speed. Taking the time to do this allows your muscles and joints to loosen up, which reduces the chance of a cramp mid-run while also gradually bringing up your heart rate. My warm-up exercises include jogging slowly, walking, marching and jumping jacks.
It is important to keep hydrated before and after a run. Drinking five ounces of water 30 minutes before you start running can help you recover quicker after your run, reduce cramping and maximize performance. It is especially important to drink extra water in extreme heat to combat dehydration.
MAKE A SCHEDULE
It can be hard to find motivation to go outdoors and run but you will feel energized and refreshed once you do it. Set a realistic goal and stick to it, unless extreme weather arises. Creating a schedule establishes a routine in your life to provide you with more structure. I set a reminder in my phone calendar on the days that I am running, and also track how many kilometres I ran. To properly adjust, a first-time runner should aim to run about three to four kilometres three days per week in the first month.
Safety Tips during the Pandemic
KEEP YOUR DISTANCE
It’s a good idea to maintain social distancing even when you run. Keep a minimum of two metres (or six feet) between you and other runners or pedestrians. You can also cross the street if you see someone coming your way.
STAY AWAY FROM SURFACES
Try to avoid touching traffic light poles, park benches or fences. Being cognizant of these little details that may cross your path will make a difference in keeping yourself and others safe.
DON’T TOUCH YOUR FACE
This can be tempting—especially if you get something in your eyes or you have an itch. But do your best to not touch your face until you get home, where you can wash your hands first.
Some runners spit when they run, but try to avoid doing this. Keep tissues on hand so that if you must spit, you can do so into a tissue and then dispose of it properly in the garbage.