May 12, 2020

Start running. For your health.
The closure of many fitness facilities leaves us looking for new ways to get outside and get active. Running is a great choice during this period of physical distancing. With the snow finally melting off of the trails here in Newfoundland, being outdoors is particularly inviting.
Running has significant health benefits1. There are two ways to start, depending on your previous running experience:
“Easy running” (for those with a foundation of running fitness from other activities):
Start running 15 to 20 min every other day for a month and add 5 min to each session weekly over the next month as your fitness increases. If you can still carry on a conversation with someone during the run (the talk test), you have the right, easy pace!
Gradually build up to 30 to 40 minutes daily and eventually add in a few surges at the end of your runs, such as 10 to 15 seconds at faster speeds. After a few months of consistent training, you can try adding in longer runs (e.g., 60 minutes or longer), short hill workouts and tempo runs.
“Run/Walking” (for those completely new to running):
Run/walking on a soft trail is a great way to reduce your risk of injury as it allows your body’s connective tissues time to adapt to the stresses of running. Start with 1 minute of easy running and 1 minute of walking, alternating for 30 minutes a few times per week. Gradually increase the time spent running and decrease the time spent walking each week until you can run your total desired distance, such as a 5k. After that, you can focus on increasing your speed during each run and add in more runs during the week.
Additional considerations during the COVID-19 Pandemic
-Give other trail users enough space, and avoid their slip-stream, the area directly behind a person where respiratory droplets are a concern.
-Pay attention to directional instructions on some local trails.
-Be courteous, politely indicating when you want to pass others.
For more information, check out one of our local expert’s advice here and the references below.
The Well-being Task Force
Faculty of Medicine
1Leisure-Time Running Reduces All-Cause and Cardiovascular Mortality Risk
How to Start Running
Couch to 5K