Friday, June 26, 2020

Why Am I Running So Well During Covid-19 Pandemic?

Since mid-March, I have been working from home, much of that time with an Illinois state "shelter in place" order. Now the state is opening up just a bit, but we are still encouraged to hang at home, wear face masks, and stay away from group activities. And work continues to be 100% from home until at least August 1.

So it has been about 3 full months, 12 weeks, of working from home and avoiding public spaces. And my running has been going great! No races during this pandemic, but I have been setting "time trial" personal bests and Strava segment PRs all over the place. What gives? Why am I running so well during this coronavirus pandemic? I have a few answers to that question.

1. More flexible run times and overall more free time to run. Since I do not need to commute to work (just wander over to my home office), I have more overall free time. Those 20-30 minutes gained in the morning and evening really help. Plus, I can run at lunch, or whenever I have a break from meetings. Then shower and return to work. No excuses--I can run every day.

2. Eating better. Since I am working 100% from home, I am also eating at home. My wife makes great, healthy, meals! Save money, save time, and eat healthier. Win-win-win. Eating better translates to better recovery and the ability to run more.

3. Sleeping better. With a bit of extra free time (no work commutes), I have more time to sleep. Those extra minutes add up and contribute to less stress and greater recovery.

4. Less stress in life. For some reason, I feel less stressed being at home. Of course, there is the whole pandemic thing, but still, I feel less stressed. Maybe it's having control of my home situation. Maybe it is eating and sleeping better, or maybe just being "away" from the actual work environment creates less stress. is working for me!  And my running is benefiting.

5. Less pressure in running. With no races on the horizon, I have less pressure to perform well. Or perform at all. I can do what I want, when I want. This has led me to ad hoc time trials (solo races). I have already knocked out a fast 5K, 10K, and half-marathon. Running faster than I have in about 3 years. I'll take it.

6. More strength work. Before the pandemic closed my local gym, I would go about twice/week for cross training. Sometimes just for treadmill running. Nothing special. And no set routine of weights or other strength workouts. Now I have been using workout bands for arm and leg exercises--almost every single day. They are simple but effective. I think my legs are stronger!

Due to all the factors above, I have been running more consistently, with more miles, and more variety than normal. I am faster. I am stronger. I am enjoying life and running more than ever! I suppose if we look hard enough, we can always find silver linings to bad situations. I'd prefer we never had this COVID-19 pandemic, but I seem to be adapting and my running is flourishing. 

Stay safe and healthy. And keep running. 

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