Running Alone, 23rd March 2020 – the day before we had to!

We all love running – it keeps us sane and fit. We all love running with our friends – that is why we are in a running club.  We can’t do that anymore!  The trouble is that even running alone is not a simple matter anymore. However, the government advice remains that we should still get fresh air and exercise, as long we can stay clear of others.

I have extended the 2m recommendation to be 5m (I’m sure that I read somewhere that this classed as self-isolating but I have no idea where!). My logic is that if I have 5m in my head, then I am more likely to stay over 2!

So how to achieve this in practice? Gill and I had done Joe Wicks’ excellent PE lesson this morning, so after a restorative cup of tea, I felt that I could head out without needing to warm-up in the garden. The procedure for the run is as follows:

  • Open the door and look to see if any neighbours are about.
  • Coast clear, so head out into our quiet cul-de-sac. Look down the street.
  • Coast still clear, so run to the main road. Look left.
  • Coast still clear, one person near the pub on the other side of the road, so stay on this side and run to Station Road.
  • After the junction, spot a young girl waiting at the bus stop, so cross well in advance.
  • Phew, we now are out of the houses and heading to Woolsington with fields on the right and the new house building on the left. There is only pavement on one side, so cross over and run on the verge – any pedestrians will be on the other side of a nice, wide road.
  • Past the garden centre, turn left, cross the metro line and onto the trails. This is now a very pleasant run through the countryside. The paths are wide with good visibility, so I will have plenty of warning of other path users.
  • First up are two cyclists, so I stop the watch and head into the trees away from the path and wait for them to pass. I had to stop and get off the path 3 more times in the next couple of miles for a dog walker and two couples walking. They all said “thank you” as they passed.
  • Next I was on the stretch that I was more worried about – a narrow path through woodland, but I was lucky and didn’t encounter a soul. Soon I was back on the wide paths in open country again, and passed one of the couples from earlier, obviously doing the same loop as me but in the other direction. Again I had enough warning to find a good spot to wait a few metres from the path.
  • Out of the fields, back over the metro line and on the main road home. I stayed on the side away from the path and had it totally to myself all the way home. I did see a couple walking on the other side of the road and 2 joggers who went past them without a thought. There was little traffic and crossing over wouldn’t have been an issue – we just need to start thinking differently.
  • Back home, a cool down and glass of water in the garden and all is well with the world!

I know that we are lucky to live on the edge of the city and have a garden, and not everyone can so easily run in quiet locations, but please try! Gill and I are just at the end of a 14 day self-isolation period since returning from seeing our son in Italy. He lives in Tuscany, which isn’t as badly affected as the North, but cases were increasing rapidly during our stay. When we arrived, life seemed fairly normal, other than a few face masks, shop assistants with gloves etc. By the time we left, the streets were deserted. It seems to us that we are lagging two weeks behind Italy – a pain though it may seem to restrict our running, particularly our social running, I think that avoiding people for a few weeks is not too much to ask.

Stay fit, but stay safe.

Tom Tinsley -