The coronavirus crisis is a rapidly evolving situation. For the most current information, contact your local health authorities and resources such as Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO) regularly. This story will be updated as new information becomes available.
Running safely is always a priority. In November 2019, we launched the Runners Alliance, a national publisher advocacy initiative here at Runner’s World and Women’s health, in partnership with Hoka One One, originally designed to combat harassment against female runners.
Alliance of runners is committed to changing perceptions of what it means to run as a woman, and to providing all runners and communities across the country with the tools and solutions necessary to make running safer.
But now, in the midst of a global pandemic, our focus has expanded to include how to run safely while taking social or physical distance, especially when running solo, which is necessary to help stop the spread.
As more people start running and more runners go out alone, the mission of the Runners Alliance has become more relevant and essential.
This week we organized a virtual workshop on racing safety with Molly Ritterbeck, Runner’s World Director of fitness, training and health; Liz Plosser, editor-in-chief of Women’s health; Kelly Herron, aggression survivor and self-defense advocate; and Nicole Snell, international speaker for Girls Fight Back and self-defense expert.
We weren’t able to answer all of your questions live, but we wanted to make sure we covered as many of them as possible, including those most relevant to the safety of runners. Below you will find answers to most of the questions asked.
Is it safe to run outside during coronavirus?
Yes, as long as you are alone. When people come together, like in a group race, and someone sneezes or coughs, droplets hit objects that people touch, and then people often touch their faces, David Nieman, Dr.PH., health professor at Appalachian State University and director of explains the Human Performance Lab of the North Carolina Research Campus.
Scientists and researchers are still discussing the exact details of how this new coronavirus is transmitted through the air when it is in motion during an activity like walking or running, but exercising outdoors , when alone, is considered low risk and has not been banned. The CDC recommends wearing a face covering to help stop the spread.
The best plan to run right now is to go out for a solo race and enjoy the outdoors, in uncluttered areas, and to time your run when you know the route or trails will be less congested or keep at at least six feet away from the others.
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Do I have to wear a mask during the race?
The CDC guidelines have recently been updated to recommend “wearing cloth face covers in public places where other measures of social distancing are difficult to maintain.” So, if you’re running solo in an area where you won’t meet anyone, it’s probably not necessary. But if you are running in an overcrowded area, this is a precaution you want to take.
Wearing a Buff gaiter or other face covering that wicks moisture away while running, and keeping a distance of at least six feet from others can help reduce the droplets that spread to others. because of difficult breathing if you’re in an area where you can meet others, says Nieman.
“The purpose of the mask is not to protect you, but to protect others from you,” says Brian Labus, Ph.D., MPH, assistant professor at the School of Public Health at the University of Nevada Las Vegas. “If that’s the goal, going out solo and completely avoiding others is the best thing you can do.”
However, wearing a cloth face cover is do not a substitute for hand washing, physical remoteness or keeping at home in the event of illness. WHO has more resources on how to use masks correctly. Check your local government recommendations for advice.
Are there any apps that can help my family or friends follow me during a race and alert them if I need help or should I wear an identification bracelet?
There are several apps that allow your friends and family to monitor your location while you run. We like AllTrails Lifeline or RoadID, which alerts your chosen contacts if you stop moving or move away and don’t respond to app alerts. Herron recommends the Run Buddy app, which allows you to send automatic and manually activated alerts to friends or family if you feel or the app feels like you might be in trouble. ((Ed’s Note: For the disclosure, Herron liked the app so much that she invested in it later.)
Wearing a RoadID bracelet with your emergency information and contact information can help medical personnel in an emergency.
How can young girls stay safe?
All young female runners can benefit from the Runners Alliance toolkit, which includes tips on how to deal with harassment and make routes safer.
During this pandemic, if possible, suggest that young girls run with someone else from their home. Although group running is currently not an option, two members of the same household are allowed to be together outside.
If they want or need to run alone, suggest running on a well-lit public road that allows for social distancing and that they know and use tracking apps such as AllTrails Lifeline, RoadID or Run Buddy to let people know where they are. wherever you are and add an extra layer of security.
How can I stay safe if I meet wild animals?
It depends on the type of animal. In most cases, you must stop running and avoid turning your back on the animal, so that the animal does not consider you a prey and does not pursue you. Snell also recommends yelling “No!” to the animal and make you look tall by extending your arms. This guide offers tips on how to manage encounters with a wide variety of wildlife.
If it is an aggressive and unleashed dog, first stop running because continue to increase canine aggression. Instead, Kate Kuykendall, a spokesperson for the National Parks Service, suggests talking to the dog, not turning your back and avoiding direct eye contact, as the dog may consider direct eye contact as a threat or a challenge. If the dog continues to charge, she recommends dropping equipment such as a jacket or bottle between you and the dog to distract the animal and lure it to bite it instead of you.
How can solo runners who run away from crowds and cellular or phone services stay safe?
Run on trails you know and let someone know when you are leaving and when you plan to return. Also, look for trails or routes with good visibility – trails with less switchbacks or less vegetation.
You also need to prepare for an emergency. Carrying a small first aid kit will allow you to have basic medical supplies on hand. If it’s a long run, bring enough fuel and water with you (or make sure you have access to it) to prevent lightning strikes or getting sick and weak.
Is there an alternative to wearing headphones to listen to music while running?
Ritterbeck and Herron recommend using open ear headphones like AfterShokz Aeropex, which won a 2019 Runner’s World Equipment of the Year Awards) to stay current with your surroundings while enjoying your favorite playlists or podcasts. They use bone conduction technology to deliver sound without clogging your ears.
If you are running in a remote location where you will not meet anyone, another option is to listen to music aloud from your phone’s speakers or a mini speaker.
What self-defense courses do you recommend?
If you want to feel better prepared to defend yourself in an emergency, self defense classes like Krav Maga are a good option. Herron used the moves she learned from a self-defense seminar in his office, taught by Seattle Fighting Chance instructor Jordan Giarratano, to repel his attacker. Snell is a self-defense instructor for IMPACT Personal Safety, which offers a wide range of course options, from workshops to online courses. You can also check local deals in your community.
How can you be prepared to protect yourself from someone who catches you from behind?
Since many attacks start with a take from behind or an attempt to push yourself or throw you off balance, the first step here is to have a plan in advance for the possibility of an uncomfortable interaction or attack. violent. “The body cannot go where the mind has never been,” said runner and instructor Julie Barron Morrill. “You have to think about how you would react to the assault, not just the escape – do it in advance.” By practicing – even in your head – your response and your actions will become a habit, allowing your instincts to take over when things get difficult.
Then, if possible, try to run away and get out of there. “We’re runners, it’s our superpower, so run,” says Morrill. Start screaming for attention. As a last resort, fight with these basic tips from Krav Maga. Simple self defense techniques can save your life.
Is it a good idea to run with a weapon or some other deterrent, such as pepper spray?
It depends entirely on you, and it depends on the laws of your area and what makes you feel comfortable and confident. Runner’s World and the Runners Alliance believe women shouldn’t have to carry a weapon of any kind to run, but if your knowledge of it makes you less anxious or more confident, then do what makes you feel protected and more comfortable . If you decide to carry something, just make sure you know how to use it.
How can men be better opponents than mere spectators?
Herron recommends that men be good citizens, which makes them good citizens. For example, if you are a man in a race, you are crossing an area that seems dangerous, but watch a woman run in that direction, be careful. Or follow these tips to become a good ally for runners.