How COVID-19 Has Wrecked Your Running Routine and What To Do About It

You are a runner. It’s how you identify yourself and it’s what you enjoy doing. Your running routine had been rock solid and then…..COVID-19 struck. Nearly a year later, it continues to wreak havoc on our lives and our habits. If you’re finding that it’s harder than ever to keep running, read on to see if we’ve covered your specific situation with our recommendations for how to stay the course and stick to your running habit.

You’re Still Running Outside:

Although running, especially solo running, is a socially distant endeavor, runners are not 100% risk free from COVID-19 risks.

Tips to Cut Your Exposure or Transmission: 

  • Refrain from spitting in areas where other people could come into contact with your saliva and use your elbow to press the crosswalk buttons.
  • If you have a neck gaiter, switch it out for a cotton mask. A recent study by Duke University revealed that gaiters do a less than stellar job at trapping saliva droplets and they actually produce a higher number of respiratory droplets compared to wearing no face mask because the material breaks down droplets into smaller particles. The same flimsiness goes for bandanas. Google “comfortable face mask for running” to find options to suit your needs and budget.
    Always announce yourself as you pass someone and try to give them extra space.

To Avoid Running into Too Many People: 

  • Seek out new and less popular routes. You can find suggested routes using the MapMyRun app on your smartphone.
  • Run at off peak times if your schedule allows.
  • Run in your neighborhood where you will encounter less people. Be aware of whether you can run on the road or if you are limited to running on the sidewalk.


You Took a Running Break and You Can’t Get Back Your Routine:

Let’s face it, when many offices closed our 8-10 hour a day routine was completely upended. If you’re working from home you are now sleeping where you work and working where you sleep.

You are never really away from work and your routine suffers. You may have school age children to help with remote learning or young children who are unable to attend daycare due to the virus. Articles lament the loss of leisure time but you miss your running routine. So what can you do?

If you have very young children: 

  • If the weather is mild, bust out the running stroller. If you don’t want to invest, many moms sell them on Facebook Marketplace or Craigslist. Bundle the kiddo(s) up and hit the pavement.

If you have school age children: 

  • If it’s feasible, can they scooter, bike, skateboard or rollerblade while you run?

You’re feeling overwhelmed after some time off running

You may need to establish a smaller routine to give yourself the boost to get back to running.

Running is repetitive and meditative so many runners find yoga to be a complimentary activity. Begin with a 30 day challenge or search for “yoga for runners” on YouTube.

You have to start back to running slowly and build up your tolerance or you risk injury.

Limit your news diet. If you are finding it hard to set a limit and you crave new information, listen to audiobooks or use a Kindle.

We are social beings and COVID-19 has done a number on our ability to meet up for runs, participate in run clubs and do in person races. Make it a point to call (not text) people who you’ve lost touch with. Chances are they’re feeling similarly and it just takes one of you to reach out.

You’re too busy with homeschooling and holding it all together to get out for a run

Your pre COVID-19 runs may have been four milers and now you’re so strapped for time you think, “What’s the point of going out if I’m not running that much? The point is that a scientific study reports that even 5-10 minute bursts of daily activity, like a 10 minute fast run in your neighborhood, corresponds with a 29 percent lower risk of death for any reason and 50 percent lower risk of death from heart disease or stroke.

The study followed 55,137 adults between the ages of 18 and 100 over a 15-year period to determine whether there is a relationship between running and longevity. What they found when they looked at runners vs. non runners was that the consistency of running, regardless of distance, was the key to a long healthy life.

You’re still running but feeling the stress of COVID/COVID fatigue

Have you experienced a rapid heartbeat for no apparent reason? According to Paul Thagard, Ph.D, the term COVID fatigue misses the mark since it doesn’t involve feeling tired. Instead, it refers to a complex stew of emotions including boredom, loneliness, sadness, frustration, anxiety, fear, anger, and resentment, caused by the loss of activities and social relationships.

Since we can’t solve the pandemic ourselves, we can change:

  • Our situation
  • Our bodily reaction to it
  • Our perception

For example, if I have been waking up later because I work from home and each morning I make a remark to my husband about how it feels like “Groundhog Day” then I will feel grumpy and hopeless much like Bill Murray in the film by that name.

First, I have to change my situation of waking up late each morning so I will have a loved one be my accountability partner and call me at 6:15 am every morning. Situation changed.

Because my situation has changed, my reaction can too. Instead of feeling grumpy and hopeless, I am buoyed by a new reason to get up. My situation doesn’t feel like a hopeless loop because I’ve taken steps to change.

As for perception, instead of viewing this year as a monotonous slog which affects my motivation to lace up my shoes, I should start perceiving this as just a blip in my (hopefully) long life. Right now my view is myopic and I need to grasp that these past 12 months are only 1/41 or .024% of my life.

My altered attitude becomes my perception and my physical reaction will lead to more days running than not.

You’re running consistently but want to improve and join a group of like minded runners

Active at Altitude was born from a recognition that trail running does not have to be a solitary endeavor. Even though we may run single file on a narrow trail, runners in our camps develop friendships with other runners during our week long running camps in Estes Park. Shared vegetarian meals and comfortable accommodations provide the camaraderie that many runners didn’t even realize they were missing. Camp Director, Terry Chiplin, is a seasoned trail runner, coach and motivator with vast knowledge of the trails of Estes Park which is only surpassed by his knowledge of how to improve as a runner and avoid injury. His wife and fellow coach Jacqueline Chiplin also partners with Terry on the beginner and intermediate women’s running camps.

Benefits of Active at Altitude’s Trail Running Camps:

  • You’ll learn how to run more efficiently with help from running coaches, Terry (and his wife Jacqueline at the women’s running camps), via in person and video observation
  • Find out how to approach the uniqueness of trail running so that you don’t expend wasted effort
  • Discover how to train smarter and approach your training with a sustainable attitude that helps maintain consistency
  • An introduction to the positive running movement® and mental training for running, races and life
  • We provide equal parts camp (camaraderie & shared experience) and  retreat (healthy, vegetarian meals and performance mindset coaching)
  • Inspiration from coaches and guest athletes

There are limited spaces left for co-ed camps:

Spring Trail Running Camp that runs from Monday May 17 to Saturday May 22.

Fall Trail Running Camp that runs from Monday September 13 to Saturday September 18

Our ever popular women’s only trail running camp options for 2021, for beginner, intermediate or advanced runners, are also rapidly running out of space – three have sold out so far!

Call us at 303-304-9159 or email with any questions.

You can bypass phone and email and sign up on our website too.

Post created by Valerie Passerini, Copywrite and Content Manager – contact Valerie at

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