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COVID-19 Safe Training Forum

Just because the running community is in better shape than most in the general public does not mean you are not in danger of contracting coronavirus. Maybe the virus poses no threat to you personally, with you 21 year-old Wii Fit age and reputation for killing viruses in 24 hours or less. The real danger, however, is becoming a carrier who infects others. How should you adjust your training to make certain this does not happen?

The CDC says that "close contact" is what causes the virus to transfer from one individual to another. It defines close contact as "being within 6 feet of a COVID-19 case for a prolonged period of time" or "coming into contact with infectious secretions of a COVID-19 case (e.g., being coughed on)." I am not an infectious disease professional. That being said, I believe there are some deliberate steps runners should take in order to minimalize if not eliminate the chances of passing the disease amongst a training group, and they are as follows:

1) Eliminate Touch - There is no need to high five, pound fists, or even pound elbows, as some are suggesting. Use words of affirmation to encourage one another. I find that oftentimes words are more edifying than forms of affirmation that involve physical contact, anyways. Learn to vocalize what others are doing well, and speak to one another from a distance rather than going in close for contact.

2) Avoid Crowding - Keep training groups smaller to avoid crowding into areas, with maybe two or three individuals at the most. Keep some space between you and the next guy or gal. Our sport is not a contact sport as it is, and no one likes the individual who is constantly nailing other people with elbows, so space things out a little. Run on opposite sides of the path for a change. Practice drafting off of others once this has blown by. Work baton exchanges once a vaccine has been developed and administered to everyone in your group.

3) Control Your Cough - It's common after a hard workout in dry conditions for runners to develop a dry cough. If that is your modus operandi, consider including some cough drops or chewing gum in your running pouch and use them to control your cough. Even though you don't think you have coronavirus, you need to realize that if there is any chance that you may have contracted the disease (which there is), then coughing around others is no bueno. Control it, or else stay away from other people.

4) Sanitize Your Hands - Include a small bottle of hand sanitizer in your waist pouch, and use it before, during and after your workout. If you sweat, and are ever tempted to wipe your face with your hands during a workout, make sure that there isn't anything on those hands that is going to come back to haunt you later.

5) Keep You Symptoms Away From Others - If you have any symptoms at all, stay away from your running group. Maybe you are allergic to dust, and are having a bad reaction to cleaning out a dusty closet. The origin of your symptoms is immaterial. Coughing and sneezing can spread the virus regardless of whether or not you are experiencing the full-blown effects of COVID-19. If you are coughing and sneezing for any reason, stay away from others.

We have all experienced the benefit of training with others. Really, it is nearly impossible to train on your own and get the same effect as working out with others. If you must train with others, then you definitely need to be hypervigilant about protecting others from you and protecting yourself from others at this time.

Although I don't agree that we should all become hermits at this time (and I know there will be others that disagree with this statement), I do think we need to take a lot more precautions than the running community is used to. What additional steps would you recommend to avoid spreading the coronavirus if you do not think this is enough? Infectious disease specialists are welcomed to comment, and even if your opinion is that we should go on lockdown, your opinion will be respected. If you are on the other end of the spectrum, and believe I am going overboard, what would you recommend and why?

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