With Lockdown 2.0 upon us and the prospect of a long winter ahead, you would be forgiven for feeling pretty bleak right now. However, just because there are new national restrictions in place does not mean it is time to skip that all-important run. In fact, with the overwhelming evidence to show the mental health benefits of exercising outdoors, now could be more important than ever to schedule in that run!
Of course, it is important to follow the government guidance in place, and certain things have changed with the implementation of lockdown: we are told to stay at home, but there are legitimate reasons for leaving the house. This includes:
To exercise outdoors or visit an outdoor public place – with the people you live with, with your support bubble or, when on your own, with 1 person from another household (children under school age, as well as those dependent on round-the-clock care, such as those with severe disabilities, who are with their parents will not count towards the limit on two people meeting outside).
So, while running club meet-ups or going for group-runs is out, Lockdown does not necessarily mean you have to run alone. Running with someone in your support bubble or with one other person from another household is also perfectly acceptable. This is particularly welcome news for those of us who live alone, and use running for social purposes as well as for its physical and mental health benefits. It seems that both of these important advantages are recognised by the government, as it “recognises the vital role sports and physical activity plays in ensuring physical and mental health.”
If you are a runner who relies on the spirit of your teammates for getting you round that final loop, or last mile, then you might be worried about how Lockdown will affect your resilience as a runner. Perhaps, then, it is time to seek inspiration from a Virtual Race, and sign up to the Lockdown Virtual Run 2020 - https://www.the-running-bug.com/store/p24/the-lockdown-virtual-run-2020.html#/ Simply sign up, and set your own distance. You send us your evidence, and we send you the medal to prove you’ve done it! It’s a great way to keep on track (excuse the pun!) and keep motivated in these troubling times when so much that we are used to relying on is unavailable.
So far, we have looked at the new rules surrounding outdoor running. What about visiting the gym? Well, under current guidelines, gyms have had to close and so if you prefer to get your mileage up on a treadmill, you might have to have a rethink for the next few weeks. The good news is, that there are no specific guidelines on the duration of your outdoor exercise. So, you can go out for as long as you feel comfortable! (See last week’s blog on ‘Light up your Winter Runs’ - https://www.the-running-bug.com/blog/archives/11-2020#/ for some tips to see you through the cold and dark months, if you’re used to running indoors!)
The guidance when it comes to making longer journeys for the sole purpose of exercising is perhaps less clear. It states:
While a ‘short journey’ is not explicitly defined, it is definitely suggested that you try and stay local, so it could be a good time to check out some new routes close-to-home. Strava heat maps are a good place to start and you never know, Lockdown 2.0 might unwittingly be the reason you discover you new favourite routes for 2021!