Blog: Running for our lives
Blog: Running for our lives

There has never been a more important time to get out and go for a run.

I am most certainly not an expert in the Coronavirus pandemic, but I am a runner. 

This past week has seen our lives change immeasurably and possibly for some time to come. With those changes, we have seen our sporting lives and opportunities diminish day by day.

Live sport has become all but extinct up and down the land, around the globe and especially locally.

Gone are the days when you could switch on the TV and watch a game of football, wander down to your local rugby club and catch a game or meet up with friends for a run.

Or is that the case?

As local running clubs take the government advice and cancel all team runs and events until the end of April, whilst parkrun has suspended all of their events for the foreseeable future, us runners are left wondering how we will get our running fix.

The rise in numbers of people contracting Covid 19 left many of us runners thinking our chances of taking part in races or events were going to be curtailed.

I don’t think a few weeks ago any of us could have imagined we would see the likes of London and Brighton Marathons postponed until the autumn, local running clubs having to cancel team runs and local events pulled from the spring calendar.

Despite all these vast changes, one thing of note from Boris Johnson’s press conference on Monday was his determination for most of us to get some exercise, even if in isolation.

Now I’m not suggesting that we all run off to the local park and mingle, but most of us can get out and go for a walk or a run (on our own or with a partner if following the government advice).

Scientific research has shown that it is good for both our physical and mental health to be active and now could be the ideal time to make that happen.

Like I say, I am no expert, but I run and I run every day and have done so for the past three years or so. The benefits for both my physical and mental health have been huge.

I am a lot more resilient than I ever used to be and I think I would have dealt with the current crisis a lot differently years ago to what I am now and the only real difference, apart from being a little older and wiser, is that I run.

As these next few months could make our lives a lot more challenging, I’m not advocating everyone getting out and running, but with chances to take part in team sports now seriously restricted, the onus is going to be on ourselves to take charge of our own lifestyle and health.

A simple walk, even just once a day has surely got to be better than nothing.

As many of us are forced to work from home, it’s quite easy to sit on the sofa with the laptop on and TV blaring away in the background. Before you know it, the day has gone and we’ve spent many an hour trawling through social media looking at posts of stockpiling and videos about how to wash our hands to our favourite tune.

If only we could all build in some time every day to get outside.

There is no such thing as bad weather – I should know. I’ve spent these past three years running in every condition imaginable. Rain, sleet, snow, wind, hail, extreme heat, you name it, I’ve run in it.

As the saying does go, there is no such thing as bad weather, just inappropriate clothing and it’s true. If it’s cold, stick an extra layer on and if it’s raining – we are waterproof after all!

I appreciate walking or running in the dark isn’t for everyone, so maybe arrange with a friend where you kind of run together, keeping a safe distance of course!

As the days go past we are getting more daylight, so maybe think about getting outside during the time you would normally stop for lunch?

Losing the ability to run in large groups and catch up with friends is going to be the biggest miss for me in the coming weeks and months and this is where it could begin to affect lots of people’s mental health.

The reasons people go to the likes of team runs and parkruns are various and numerous, but clearly it’s because of that common cause and shared success. Not having that could be quite detrimental and only time will tell how hard it’s going to be on lots of people, so we all need to think how we can keep each other motivated and supported.

We are all of course hopeful this will pass without affecting the ones we love, but the reality seems that we will all suffer directly or indirectly in the coming months.

For kids, their whole way of life could change dramatically in the next few weeks. Yes, many of them will love the idea of being off school and an extended Easter break will seem marvellous at first, but if that drags on and on, how many of them are going to be climbing the walls saying they are bored?

It’s crucial then that we get them out and active. Losing that time running around the playground with friends is going to be a big miss for many and it’s going to be hard to replicate that from home. So maybe now is the time to start digging around in the garage or shed for the football, swingball, badminton set etc.

Who knows where this is going to take us and when it will ever end?

I plan to try and keep running every single day if at all possible and I’d urge as many of you to join me as possible.

Today is my run streak Day 1174. Who else wants to #RunwithSteve ?