How Runners Stay Active through COVID-19

Last updated: 04-19-2020

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How Runners Stay Active through COVID-19

How runners stay active through COVID-19 is challenging. Some runners have come up with creative and fun ways to keep occupied and fit!

As runners, we’re naturally inclined to run “just one more mile…” or see if “maybe I can run just a little faster.” It seems we’re always chasing a new distance or faster speed. And usually both.

Without the ability to congregate at races or group runs during the COVID-19 lockdown, you can probably guess that many of us runners are going a little stir crazy. Some of us can still run outdoors and have plenty of space. But others of us aren’t as lucky and are confined to small apartments or backyards. Regardless of location and space available, we’re all trying to do two things: stay fit and active while simultaneously challenging ourselves to keep ourselves sane.

I decided to take a look at the inner workings of the hive mind of runners and I’ve asked several individuals what they’ve been up to and why.

You won’t be surprised to know many ultrarunners are taking on (or have already completed) the David Goggins’s 4x4x48 Challenge. What is this challenge, you ask? Well, runners run four miles every four hours for 48 hours total.

I’m 20 miles in to the 4x4x48 challenge. I’ll end tomorrow on my 44th bday. Here’s my daughter who joined me on my midnight run. She’s a high school senior and has had so much taken away from her due to the pandemic. I chose to do this because even though I don’t have much control of my life circumstances right now I do have control of my mindset and how I react to the challenges in my life. -Stephanie N.

We will be attempting the 4x4x48 in few weeks… Back story: I was trained up for Miwok & hubs was training for WSER but now we have 5-mile radius restriction in our area, so this is our creative way to challenge ourselves. Recently did a 40-miler but somehow we missed that “big event” feeling. Understand this isn’t everyone’s cup of tea… we just want something whacky and different. -Cameron K.

I decided to do the 4x4x48 challenge as a way to test myself not just physically but mentally. Because of the nature of running every 4 hours for 48 hours I knew that at some point it would be sheer mental toughness that would get me through especially the night runs. I got terrible blisters after the first run and had to run the next 11 runs with blisters… I didn’t get much sleep. The blisters throbbed every time I laid down! In the end, I really enjoyed the challenge and felt really proud when we were done. I would definitely do it again. [I]n fact, the friend I did it with and I are talking about doing it again but with a beer after each run! -Erin C.

Then there was the Quarantine Backyard Ultra. Aka the last person standing… er, running… race. The grand prize? The Golden Toilet Paper Roll. The Quarantine Backyard Ultra began on April 4, 2020 and finished when there was only one runner left. In this case, Michael Wardian. He ran for 63 hours and completed 262 miles — on zero sleep! Huge congrats to Michael on his victory.

Check out these thoughts about running more than 48 miles… or hours… from some badass lady runners:

I did the Quarantine Backyard Ultra and reached a PR distance of 100K. It was both fun and awful!! Lol! -Lisa M.

I couldn’t sleep because I was so delighted with my 4x4x48 and I decided to run one more set… -Araceli U.

But what’s a runner to do when they don’t want to — or aren’t trained up to — run for 48 hours, 48 miles, or longer? We get creative, of course!

Like measuring the distance around our dining room table. Just in case we wanted to squeeze in a marathon…

Here in Santa Barbara, CA a local athlete figured out a route that takes [runners] up a vertical kilometer in just over 10k to the top of a local peak — La Cumbre Peak. My friend and I did it on Sunday and it was awesome! I’m actually planning to do it again when the weather is better since it was foggy for us. -Christine R.

I did a little challenge on my own yesterday. It was 2x2x12. I might do it again but on my stationary bike with more miles. Should be interesting. -Melly M.

Challenges and ultras aren’t for everyone. And for many of us, our mileage has dropped drastically (yours truly included). If you feel yourself struggling with goals, or just need a fresh set of eyes on your training or some general feedback, don’t hesitate to reach out to a coach.

Running, for many of us, was a way to connect with others and lead a healthy lifestyle. We already knew the mental and physical benefits of running. And now we’re coming up with creative and fun ways to keep ourselves occupied and physically fit. Runners are good at adapting and problem solving — and really, it’s through adaptation and problem-solving that will help us runners stay active (and sane) through COVID-19.

Thanks to all the badass women who contributed to this piece. You rock!

What’s one challenge you’ve taken on during this period of quarantine?

Share your story: Have you done the Goggins 4x4x48 challenge?

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