Running Etiquette during COVID-19

Article by: Wendy (Speedy) Spencer


Photo by: Nati Harnik

We all need to stay active right now as it is not only good for our fitness health but also our mental health.  Luckily for us here in Canada we can still go outside and run. This is super HUGE. I certainly do not want these rights to be taken away. As an active person, I think this would kill me before the virus!

So how do we do this safely and respectively?

First and foremost we need to do this solo ( unless you want to do with people currently living in the same household). The other suggestions are all fairly easy and sort of the opposite of what I would normally be suggesting.

1. OFF-PEAK HOURS:  If you are a morning person the streets/sidewalks / parks are pretty empty ( more than even normal) in the wee hours. I am an early morning runner and rarely do I see people but now I feel I almost have the whole city to myself. If you are a night hawk then the evening is for you and probably equally peaceful. As long as you feel safe than really try to do it at either end of the day.

2. RUN ON THE STREETS: The beauty of this is that there is less traffic. You need to be mindful of the traffic and do not just step onto the road to avoid someone on the sidewalk without looking. Pavement ( the road) is slightly better on the knees than concrete ( sidewalks) and grass is even better.

The trails and parks are chock a block with people so if you are running /walking/ biking/ walking the dog/ I would definitely avoid these. Way too crowded. If you must run where there are others be mindful of the 6 feet distancing rules and wait your turn ( run on the spot) if needed.

3. MASK OR NO MASK:  See the article from the NYTimes seems like the jury is out whether it really works or not. If you are running at mid-day on a public walkway it is probably a good idea to wear a mask as the people around you will appreciate it.  It may contain some of your wet breathing, sweat etc but think it may just be perceived as better. However, I think when it is high noon in the middle of summer it may be pretty difficult to get air to breathe in a stuffy mask or scarf. I still think running at off-peak hours / on side streets is much easier to do and allows for greater quality “alone time exercise”. In fact, I find it peaceful right now – less noise and pollution.


Read the New York Times article about exercising outdoors during the pandemic here.

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