Fighting COVID-19 with running

Tate Goretzki, Staff Writer

During these times, it is easy to be bored while at home. Running is a great way to get some exercise and stay healthy. Running during this pandemic is easy to do as you can go out by yourself, through your neighborhood, all while following social distancing guidelines. 

Running is a great way to stay fit and healthy as it provides a means of reducing stress, improves heart health, and also improves your mental health in general. Going on a run allows you to clear your mind and take a break from society. The physical release you experience from exerting yourself also sheds stress from your body and mind. Beyond that, running is also a very versatile sport; it’s easy to get good at. All you need is some motivation and a hard-working mentality to get yourself started.

That said, running can be a challenging task for people who are just starting. Proper running gear is important because it can help you improve your pace, endurance, and stride while keeping you healthy. The most important piece of gear that you should have is a pair of fitted running shoes. Shoe stores such as Terraloco can help you find these shoes that are fitted to your foot and also designed for the way that you run. 

After getting your shoes and the proper weather gear needed for the conditions you are running in, you can begin running. You should start by running a light amount with set intervals for walking if you feel the need to rest. In other words, at first, split up your run into sections that involve periods of walking, jogging, and running. “As your body adjusts and gets stronger, start running for longer intervals,” says Kristie Kinneberg, a coach of the Mayo cross country team. This means that you will be able to run for a longer time before taking a break. You should build this interval up until you can run about 20-30 minutes consistently without a break.

Now that you are familiar with the sport of running, it is time to improve your ability and stay motivated to run. Your body will naturally get used to running the more you run, which allows you to do workouts and all different types of training. “Once you can pretty much run for 20-30 minutes at a time, start changing up pace by running fast and slow intervals, [running] on hills, and [doing] cross body fitness to help work on muscle strength,” says Coach Kinneberg. 

Doing cross body fitness is really important for building your muscles because it allows you to be fit in all areas of your body. This type of exercise involves using your own body weight for strength training: doing sit ups, pushups, pullups, lunges, and various core-building exercises. 

Another aspect that will improve your running involves stretching and rolling out your body. Stretching allows you to be more flexible while at the same time getting rid of lactic acid buildup. Rolling out your body with a foam roller can help with the soreness you might experience after a workout or long run. Stretching, rolling, and cross body fitness are also great ways to prevent injuries. 

Motivation plays a big role as a runner. Staying motivated may be tough in times when you are sore, injured, or even during a workout. One way you can stay motivated is by setting a daily goal that you have to work hard to accomplish. Giving yourself something to work for will get you focused and excited to run. If you are going to be competitive in running, looking forward to running events can be another thing that can motivate you to be the best you can. Running with a group of friends can be very helpful in keeping you motivated to run as you all are running to get better. “It takes time to become a good runner. It is most important to be comfortable with what you are doing so that you want to keep doing it,” says William Roden, Mayo varsity cross country and track runner. Burning yourself out can happen to anyone, so if you do, take a break and then ease back into it.

As you run, you will realize that there are many different conditions you will run in. Right now, it is winter, and that brings ice, snow, and cold air along with it. Dressing appropriately for this weather is important as it will protect you from frostbite and hypothermia. Running in the winter can make you more prone to illness, as the cold air allows illnesses to thrive. Cold air can affect the lining of your lungs which can bring on asthma. Wrapping a scarf or facemask around your mouth and nose allows you to create moisture, so you can breathe in warmer air. 

So don’t let the pandemic get you down; you can make changes in your lifestyle that will make you happier and healthier. You can’t beat the indescribable feeling of coming up over a hill in the early morning, catching the first rays of dawn as you run off into the sunrise. Get out there and beat the pandemic; discover more about the world around you as you discover more about yourself.