Jogging During the Pandemic: 7 Tips for New and Experienced Runners

A New York Road Runners coach outlines strategies for getting into running during the pandemic

With New York on pause, gyms and fitness studios are closed across the city for the foreseeable future - and more New Yorkers are turning to the street for cardio.

If you've been outside recently, you've likely noticed it - more runners are out in the streets. Coronavirus task force member and Brooklyn native Dr. Anthony Fauci is a runner. Even Gov. Cuomo says he has taken up the hobby with his daughters between his daily briefings and other gubernatorial duties.

So if the nicer weather has you considering lacing up for a run for the first time, you certainly are not alone.

But as New York Road Runners coach Annick Lamar points out, safety is the number one concern for both new and experienced runners.

"Here we are and running safe is more important than ever," she said.

So - if you're hitting the pavement for the first time, or training for a virtual marathon, here's some tips from NYRR:

1) Keep Your Distance

Lamar says you should make sure to follow CDC guidelines and stay at least 6 feet apart from others. Each state and county has its own set of guidelines and rules, so be sure you are aware of the rules and regulations in your town.

If you can run, Lamar suggests heading out for a run when the roadways are empty. That may mean going out early in the morning or later in the afternoon -- or even saving the run for a drizzly day.

She says you may need to also get creative with routes to avoid the crowds.

"If you're running one way and you see a lot of folks, do a 180, and find a different street," she says.

2) Wear A Mask

Coronavirus en Italia

Always wear your mask when you go out on a run and make sure to give others around you plenty of space. In New York, you're only required to wear one if you're unable to maintain social distancing, but any city dweller can tell you - it can be easier said than done.

Lamar says the mask you wear when you head out for other trips should work, but you can also try out a neck gaiter.

3) You Don't Have To Run

Dos niñas salen a la calle luego de varias semanas de cuarentena en España.

This one may seem counter-intuitive. But Lamar points out that you don't have to run right now if you don't feel safe or able to get out the door.

"If it's not in your agenda or physical and mental health, you don't have to," she said.

4) Start Slow

Lamar says all new runners should try sticking to two or three 20-minute runs to start, and to avoid the urge to ramp up too quickly.

She's also a big fan of what she calls "walk-runs" to get your body used to running. To do it - alternate running for two to five minutes and walking for 30 seconds or 1 minute.

"You don't want to get to the end and feel awful," she said. "You want to get to the end and think 'I could do a little bit more, but I won't.'"

5) Pace Yourself

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Normally, Lamar says she tells new runners to keep a pace where they can hold a conversation with someone else. Now, most runners won't have someone they can run with, but the principle still applies.

"It might be silly, but you might even need to talk out loud to make sure your breathing is in check and you're not going too hard, too fast, too soon," she said.

6) Get Good Running Shoes

Proper running shoes can go a long way in making that first jog more enjoyable, so you'll want to make sure you've got a pair that works for you.

If you aren't sure if yours are the right fit - Lamar says you may be able to get a second opinion from a local running store like Jack Rabbit or Brooklyn Running Company. Many of them have begun offering virtual fittings and consultations for new runners.

7) Keep At It

Lamar says there's no one thing that makes a runner. It is a diverse community and anyone can do it.

"Runners are whoever does it," she said.

Running may take time to get used to , but there will be a day where you will no longer think about how long, or how much further you have to go.

"You'll turn a corner and before you know it, running will become a part of your life," she said.

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