Running during lockdown – my experience
The experts say exercise is good for health, but running during lockdown is an altogether different experience.
Taking heed of current advice for one piece of exercise per day, I go on a short jog from home. I don’t drive somewhere for exercise and I try to avoid built-up areas or potential gathering hotspots. Put simply, I’m not an idiot.
Perhaps understandably however, the simple act of a run outdoors in fresh air is currently proving very stressful. I’m continually on edge, meticulously planning ahead and visualising potential difficulties in keeping the important two-metre distance from others.
It can feed the soul and put you more in touch with nature. Running can also be a nice solo pursuit, with just a watch vibrating every so often to keep you company. Or the gentle plod of the surface beneath.
But at the moment I seem to be running in ‘constantly wired’ mode. There’s a heightened awareness as you suss out an exit plan when you see more than two people in your vicinity.
The overriding emotion I appear to have developed is that running during lockdown is making me hugely judgmental.
It’s a situation which is pitting groups (but no more than two, please) against one another. Runners v cyclists v dog walkers. That’s the fixture list now and it’s not a very sporting one.
I see three people in a line, walking a dog. My brain jumps to think: Does it take three to walk a dog? I mean, this was about Shih Tzu size, not Giant Newfoundland.
Every vehicle that is not a police car, ambulance or food delivery van receives similar internal questioning. Where are these cars going? Is it an essential travel journey?
Everyone is given a wider berth than usual.
Indeed, while we are all in this together, it’s hard for some people to align this to their body language. And I include myself in this.
Some fellow runners are still willing to raise a hand in acknowledgement or exchange a greeting as they pass. Mainly though it feels like you’re always scowling at anyone who dares to share the same intention to exercise.
There are glares from passers-by but I can’t hold it against them. These are difficult and different times.
My own run routes tend to be pretty quiet anyway.
In some respects it’s like jogging around the streets at Christmas. Except then you can imagine families behind closed doors being excited about the day ahead. Now it’s an image of nervy people, hunkering down and hoping for better news as Groundhog Day plays out.
While it might yet be required, I’ve not seen any giant banners screaming: LOCKDOWN. But clearly road traffic is less and air traffic noise near non-existent. Most people seem to be adhering to the advice.
There’s also the odd blockade. Parked police cars block entry to local parks, sandwich boards in some cases. Recreational areas can be viewed through closed gates.
I guess plenty about the current situation is unsettling, so going for a run should be seen as no exception.
Getting a treadmill for the back garden might be a whole lot easier. But then there’s even the thought of putting a delivery truck out to transport it. Is this essential travel when I could just jog on the spot in the back garden?
Running during lockdown is not fitness as we’ve come to enjoy it. It’s barely fun, not really relaxing.
Arguably, the main high is gained from the relief of getting indoors and back into isolation.
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