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How to Be Courteous of Social Distancing While Running 

If you are a runner, you may not have missed a single day of training during the COVID-19 pandemic unless you lived in a city with a strict lockdown order. Maybe you were even like the French fellow who ran a full marathon on his balcony!

How to Be Courteous of Social Distancing While Running

However, as states reopen, it’s vital to maintain social distancing while running. With more people on the road, you are more likely to encounter exposure to germs. Follow the seven tips below to protect others and yourself as society heads into the new normal.

1. Stay Home if You Feel Sick 

Even though statewide stay-at-home orders may have expired, that doesn’t mean you can safely expose others to your germs. Yes, this advice grates against your die-hard, I-will-get-in-my-miles-come-sleet-or-snow attitude — but heed it, anyway. You may have unclogged a stuffy nose by blowing snot on the sidewalk in the past, but doing so in the age of COVID-19 is dangerous and potentially deadly.

2. Give Plenty of Room While Passing 

The return of crowds means winding through others, and maintaining social distancing takes finesse. You can learn a lot from the hard-of-hearing on this score, who often use signals to communicate what they intend to do next. This practice is safer for runners as it keeps you from spreading germs by shouting. It’s also more inclusive to those near you who may have hearing impairments.

If you are approaching someone from behind, you do need to use your voice. Take a tip from skiers and say, “on your left” from a safe distance so you don’t startle the person.

3. Carry a Face Covering 

While you don’t need a mask to go on a rural trail run, you might want to wear one if you live in a congested urban area. In some places, like New York, the streets and sidewalks are too narrow for you to pass safely without spraying others with your germs. Remember, you can have the virus without showing symptoms, so remain considerate of others.

Even if you live in the sticks, though, carry a cloth with you when you run. Air currents can carry aerosol-sized virus particles as far as 20 feet, and runners tend to breathe heavily. While you don’t have to wear it all the time on a remote trail, looping one on your keychain lets you quickly cover your nose and mouth if you do encounter another adventurer.

4. Pick Unpopular Routes and Times 

The more crowded your course, the more likely you are to contract the virus — or spread it to others. If at all possible, try to avoid the peak hours of just after sunrise and before sunset. Also, don’t stick to the same route if it typically sees heavy traffic. Rather than interrupting your run to let people pass safely, bike to a more remote location — and take advantage of cross-training.

That said, you do want to protect your safety and health from more than COVID-19. If you go running in the dark, invest in reflective gear to make yourself more visible to passing drivers. If you’re concerned about assault, consider investing in self-defense devices — and learn how to use them correctly. Enrolling in a course such as IMPACT can also give you more confidence, which makes you a less appealing target to miscreants.

5. Skip the Group Runs 

If you were hoping to get in some races this summer, you might feel terribly disappointed. Organizers have canceled many events over health concerns, and many locations still ban public gatherings.

Don’t let that make you hang up your sneakers, though. Savvy organizers have created a host of virtual events you can participate in from your corner of the world. You even earn medals and goodie bags — the groovy new water bottle or T-shirt is one of the reasons you pay to race, after all.

Additionally, you can download the Charity Miles app if you planned to raise money for a cause. This app lets you earn cash for charity from your daily workouts through pledges. Maybe you aren’t as fast as a racecar, but you can win the race for your sponsors and do good.

Be Courteous and Obey Social Distancing While Running 

While life tentatively returns to normal, the coronavirus remains a threat. Enjoy your runs and stay healthy by following the tips above.

article by Kate Harveston

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