Will You Forget How to Run Once COVID-19 is History?
New York Times reporter Jen Miller articulated the fears of new and veteran runners alike: Once COVID practices are relaxed, will I forget how to run? The answer depends upon you, of course.
It’s the new normal. You’re spending parts of your day balancing caution and risk with a need to get out and run so you don't lose the benefits of your favourite activity.
Meanwhile, news of events being cancelled at alarming rates—including the 2020 Olympics and dispiriting new studies that the virus has the capacity to linger in the air for up to half an hour—are adding to your anxiety and stress.
And when you read news stories like the one about France’s government only allowing runners to do their thing once per day for an hour, your depression could bottom out as you wonder if anything will ever be the same.
Think about it. Your fear is driving your thinking, and that fear is deep enough to impact everything you do.
What’s the answer to re-launching your life and passion?
Facing the pandemic head-on and making a commitment to finding creative ways to get your running fix, even if that means altering your lifestyle, is the only way out of this nightmare.
Start by considering how much you value the sport you adore. In the words of Arizona runner Olivia Kem, “I realised that a huge reason I enjoy running is because it gives me something that I can control and improve on.”
“I can push myself to go a little farther or a little faster every day and this is something no one can take away from me,” she said.
“This is especially important now when it feels like everything in my life is controlled by COVID-19.”
Having acknowledged the importance of running in your life and the fact that you, too, hate being controlled by circumstances, it’s time to create your new normal by believing that you will run again—just as soon as you take a broom and sweep away your fears.
How long does it take to forget how to run?
In a nutshell, you won't forget. Like riding a bike, you couldn't forget how to run if you tried. Recall what life was life following an injury that caused you and your running shoes to part ways for a time.
You were grounded, but you never questioned your ability to run again. Time to revisit that mindset knowing that this time around, there is no healing injury standing in the way of your reintroduction to running.
Suppose I can’t overcome my fear of returning to running as usual?
Perhaps you need to revisit your earliest days of running when you had no history of success to get you through the pitfalls you encountered along the way.
Your enthusiasm drove you forward. Rediscover that feeling now. Enlist your support group—just as you did when you began running and craved help.
Do I risk injury by jump-starting my running routine again?
That depends upon whether you stayed active during the time you sheltered in place. Perhaps you used a treadmill. Or you turned your stairs into a fitness challenge.
Maybe you donned your mask and ran so late at night, your chances of breathing the same air as others were slim.
If you relaunch your efforts throwing caution to the wind without easing back into your routine, well, that’s on you!
Am I going to be sore?
Probably! The trail you once conquered hasn’t changed a bit, but you have. Your treadmill's incline setting isn’t the same as the obstacle course Mother Nature provides when you hit your favourite running trail, so don’t be surprised if re-launching your daily run leaves you sore.
Take pride in your aches and pains. Every one of them means that you're rediscovering your skills, practices and habits, and that’s a good thing.
Can I take a fresh approach to my training?
Your timing would be perfect. This virus has forced all of us to re-examine our priorities. More people than ever are considering moving, changing careers and sprinting out of our comfort zones.
This is the ideal time to re-frame your old routine and create a new one, whether that’s a new location, time of day or converting to interval training if it's been on your radar.
You may wish to start tracking your mileage or giving yourself rewards at each milestone. Who knew that a virus this deadly could positively impact the future? You did. After all, you're a runner!
Do you have a plan for re-launching your running routine? Unless it’s top secret, we would love to hear about it.