How to run and be socially distanced

These last 6 or 7 weeks since lockdown began, I’d like to think I’ve got pretty good at being socially distant when I’m out getting my daily exercise. From running hill reps on empty residential streets, to running very early and trying very hard to stay 2m or more away from others…

I’ve been out running between 3-4 times a week and have been running between 20-30 miles a week. I’m lucky I have a garden I can sit in and a gym I can use, and when it’s not a run day, I try to get out a local walk. But I’m avoiding people and busy places as much as I can.

The run through the city centre last weekend was a good one, I was able to run on the more or less empty roads when I needed to, and although it was a bit zig zaggy, it worked well, and I managed to avoid people. There was hardly anyone around and I was able to stay away from those who were around.

Today I went a run early, and ran up mainly wide streets with plenty of room to go on the road if I needed to. With my wits about me at all times, I’m making the most important part of the run to stay away from people. And it’s working.

Here’s the guidance from scot gov:

2m (6 foot) is about the width of your arms outstretched plus about a bit (depending on how tall you are). Think the width of a car plus a bit, or the width of a bus or single road width. It’s quite far.

And it seems to me quite a few people either don’t realise how far 2m actually is, or they aren’t following the guidance or simply don’t care. But I do.

I’d like to think I’m getting quite good at social distancing when I go out for a run, so I got some tips together. They apply for running, but probably for walking as well:

1 – The route is key – pick a route that you expect to be empty, or one that has wide empty roads / pavements.

2 – You could pick a route that has a cycle lane on the road, and run into it if you need to (as long as there are no bikes or cars on it).

3 – Avoid areas which are narrow, or busy with people (or parks, small pavements and some cycle paths). The Clyde near the crowne plaza over towards the old helicopter pad is particularly tight / busy. And some of the parks are busy and hard to be 2m / apart distant in. So don’t go there.

4 – Go somewhere different that you usually wouldn’t go. Look at big houses, see new sights in quieter areas.

5 – Go early or late (or when you think less people will be around) if you can. 7am is good for me I find.

6 – Run on the side of the road / pavement which is going into the traffic, that way if you need to step out into the road, you do it into oncoming traffic (if there is any). Be careful and watch out for cars and bikes though.

7 – Option to run over the same ground – hill reps or intervals in a quiet residential street perhaps. I’ve done 1 minute intervals along a quiet bit in front of my house / at the Clyde where not many people go. Try an empty car park or an empty wide street or two, with a big hill, or two.

8 – Look ahead and don’t assume people will (or can) move for you (they usually don’t I’ve found!)

9 – Play a game of how many people you can avoid or stay more than 2m away from (in case you share the plague … or whatever… with them and kill them or their loved ones!)

10 – Be conscious of cyclists who are going fast and might not see you, or be able to move for you.

11 – Be conscious of people who are not cyclists, but are out on their bikes for the first time (and maybe not aware of the road rules and Highway Code!) … they maybe won’t be able to control the bike the way you’d expect an experienced cyclist would be able to – don’t get annoyed at them – be kind.

12 – Be conscious of pedestrians / walkers or older people, who are going about their way, and might not see you or (be able to) move to be 2m away from you, when you’re running quickly towards them.

13 – In plenty time to avoid people, cross the road, or run in the middle of the road (as long as it’s safe to do so).

14 – Wear a buff or mask that you can breathe through, or move it up when you pass people.

15 – Run around the back of people (2m+ away) to avoid them, rather than crossing their path (I do this with cars too, to save me maybe being run over!)

16 – Don’t get annoyed by people who aren’t going by the rules – you can’t help idiots, you can only control your own behaviour.

17 – You can’t help the groups of young guys on bikes who clearly aren’t from the same household, nor can you help the female BMW driver who parks in a cycle lane you’re running (or cycling) in, then opens her door without looking and gets out less than a metre away from you(!) – (that happened to me the other day – and I swore loudly / sort of under my breath – oops).

18 – If you run (or walk) with someone from your household, make sure you run in single file if you are passing someone else, to get the 2m apart if you need to. And be aware of your surroundings, and where others are so you can avoid them if you can.

19 – Be nice – when people make eye contact or move over or stop for you – wave, thumbs up and smile, or thank people who move out of your way. Say hello to cheer things up if you want.

20 – Remember that we’re all in this together, and some people might be more scared than others. Remember the government guidelines and why it’s so important to stick with them.

A few nice people in cars gave way to me on my run today, and I got a few waves and thumbs up from people who saw that I’d moved for them, and wanted to thank me.

The roads are quieter, and it is a little odd – but we’re lucky to still be able to go out and get our daily exercise and get out and get some fresh air, if we want to.

Keep safe everyone.

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