What a difference a few weeks can make. Right now, I should be starting to taper in preparation for the London Marathon. The long miles completed and just the victory lap to go. Due to the current global pandemic COVID-19, all Spring events have quite rightly been postponed or cancelled.
This has left most runners in a bit of limbo. Training has ground to a halt and replaced with a little leg stretch / mental break! I am grateful for that little bit of time we can get outdoors, even if it does mean training alone. Running alone can be a daunting experience, especially for women. But right now, due to current Government guidelines* it has to be done!
Here are my top tips on embracing the solo run and making it that little less scary:
Take a moment to really take in your surroundings.
Time outdoors feels like a gift right now so make sure you really appreciate it. With the reduction of travel, there are fewer cars on the road so there seems to be a stillness around. Enjoy the nature around you, the sights, the sounds, the smells, the spring flowers, the colour of the sky.
You can run the pace/distance you want.
Running alone can be mentally harder than running with others but it does have its benefits. You can run a distance and pace to suit you. There’s no guilt about leaving that friend behind / or having people wait for you. You can even turn back and avoid the hills if you want and no one needs to know!
Use the time to disconnect
With most of us currently working from home, it may feel like there is no escape from the office. Use your solo run time as an escape from work, an hour off where you don’t have to answer to the boss, make decisions or try to home school the kids.
Make the most of the daylight hours.
We are very lucky that lockdown has happened in Spring. I’m not sure I would be as motivated had it happened in winter. I’d be more inclined to hide under a blanket until it was all over. Luckily we’ve just ticked over into British summertime and the lighter mornings and increased daylight hours are back. Dare I say it, the weather is getting warmer too!
When running alone it is important to stay safe. Always tell a friend or family member the route you are taking, how far you will be going and approximately what time you will be back.
As I live alone, I send my parents a WhatsApp live location. You can set it for an hour, so they can see where I am and when I arrive back home. Running apps like Strava also allows you to share your location. Carry your phone on you just in case and check in with friends and family when you arrive home. Most running belts can accommodate a phone so there are no excuses.
You could always invest in a Run Angel. Worn like a watch this is a personal safety device that emits a very loud alarm to attract attention in an emergency. It also sends an alert by text and email to friends showing the exact date, time and location of where your run angel is activated.
*Guidance correct at the time of this post going live.
Please check the government website for up to date advice. Stay safe.