Coronavirus for runners: what you need to know

It’s important to recognise the symptoms and know when to back off training amid fears of the coronavirus.

Woman wearing face mask

Chances are you’ve heard of the latest pandemic: the coronavirus (COVID-19). While we really wish a real-life zombie apocalypse wasn’t unfolding (hopefully without the biting…), it’s important to recognise exactly what is going on and what this means for your training, running, and overall health and well-being.

Firstly, it’s important to put your health and others well-being before your training. While missing out on weeks of training may sound like a disaster in itself, the alternative isn’t exactly any more exciting.

With numbers of those infected with coronavirus in the UK increasing by the day, health experts are recommending self-isolation for a minimum of seven days for anyone experiencing symptoms of the virus. These symptoms include a high-temperature, especially if you feel hot to touch on the chest or back alongside a new continuous cough (you’ve started coughing repeatedly recently), and in some cases a loss of smell.

If you are self-isolating you do not need to contact 111 to let them know you are staying at home. However, if symptoms of the coronavirus do not get better after seven days, your condition worsens, or you’re unable to deal with your symptoms at home you can use the online coronavirus service for further guidance.

How to avoid catching the coronavirus

To avoid catching the virus it’s important to limit and or avoid contact with those who possess symptoms or have the virus itself. As well as this, it’s crucial to maintain excellent hygiene including thorough washing of the hands with hot soapy water for a minimum of twenty-seconds.

As a runner, it may be best to avoid running in a group at least for now. Limiting contact with others, especially if they have any symptoms will reduce your chances of catching the virus. The coronavirus can be spread by others who do not yet know they have the virus, it is this phase of little to no symptoms which is thought to be most contagious.

Furthermore, after training especially if you’ve just finished a session in the gym whether running on the treadmill or lifting weights it’s important to once again wash your hands. It is thought that the virus can be spread with germs on weights or gym equipment, with these germs then transferred to the mouth, eyes, and face. If possible, limit contact to the face and wash your hands before and after exercise as well as repeatedly throughout the day, even if you have no symptoms yourself.

What is the coronavirus?

COVID-19 is a new illness that affects your lungs and airways. This particular virus known as COVID-19 is a strain of the coronavirus and is spread from person to person. Other than this, current research on how the virus is spread is limited. However, it is advised to avoid contact with your face, mouth, and eyes as well as to wash your hands and practise excellent hygiene consistently throughout the day.

I’ve not got the virus, is it okay to run?

As far as we are aware, you should be okay to keep on training. However, with that being said it’s important to avoid contact with others who possess symptoms or are infected. For these reasons, it may be best to train alone for now.

In fact, running and regular physical activity boost your immune system, helping you fight off infections. Running/training outside is recommended over training indoors, allowing you to minimise contact with others and the many germs that live on gym equipment (even when good hygiene practices are followed).

If you’d rather not train outside or at the gym why not try a home workout? This will limit your chances of catching the virus while still getting the blood pumping, body moving, and immune system boosting.

Related: 5 Intermediate core exercises you can do at home.

Some useful links:

How to run safely amid coronavirus concerns – Runner’s World

The NHS coronavirus (COVID-19) – The NHS (essentially what it is and what to do if you suspect you have it)

Stay at home: guidance for people with confirmed or possible coronavirus (COVID-19) infection (further government guidance)

The bottom line

With numbers increasing by the day we are currently unsure what the next few months will look like. However, with that being said it’s important to practice and maintain excellent hygiene, limit social distancing if possible, and finally self-isolate yourself if you recognise any symptoms of the coronavirus avoiding contact with others.

Please do check on neighbours, friends, and family members and stick together during these tough times.

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