Five tips for running in lockdown

Date Published

21st May 2020




The impact of coronavirus has been life changing for many people and our own research has shown a considerable number of people’s drinking habits have changed in the last three months. One in four adults in the UK say they’re drinking more since lockdown began.

But we’ve also heard lots of people telling us how they’ve cut out or cut down on their drinking to focus on their wellbeing.

Sarah* from London told us: “I was a very heavy drinker before covid-19 outburst, drinking as coping mechanism, socialising meant drinking. I'd only get some sleep if I had a bottle of wine or more otherwise I would not sleep at all. Due to Covid-19 I'm currently not working, I don't have the need to drink. I'm focusing on my wellbeing (running, eating healthy etc, etc) No change in my sleeping habits as of yet but I definitely feel generally better, calmer. I'll have some wine once a week or so (no more than a bottle) so overall lockdown helped with breaking the habit. Hopefully I won't go back to it once I'm back at work.”

With the days warmer and evenings lighter, and more encouragement to get outside it’s inspiring to hear people like Sarah are using lockdown to look after their health by doing things like running.

In five months’ time, on 25 October – circumstances permitting – Drinkaware will be in Derby where we have a team signed up to run the Derby 10k. The race was due to take place in March but was postponed because of the impact of coronavirus. It means that the team now has a few more months to train!

If, like Sarah*, you have dusted off your running shoes during lockdown and you’re thinking about setting yourself a distance goal or a time to beat – or even if you’re new to running – Drinkaware’s marketing director and an enthusiastic endurance athlete, Mark Chandler, shares his five tips.

Enjoy it!

Running doesn't have to be about pushing yourself to the limit (unless you want it to be). Getting outside is a great way to simply enjoy the outdoors no matter where you live. We spend so much time indoors, so getting outside for even 15 minutes at any time of the day, in any weather, is a great way to feel alive.

Explore new routes

It's easy to get into the routine of running the same route in the same direction every time. That's a sure-fire way for it to become monotonous. Take a look at Google maps and head for a new area or park. Take it as an opportunity to discover some new areas. I found where I live now by running in new areas during my lunchtime.

Invest in the right trainers

Running doesn't need much kit, but a well-fitting pair of running trainers that have plenty of life in them will help prevent injuries and make your running more enjoyable. It's a myth that they need to be expensive, but they do need to fit you well so take your time and do your research.

Enlist support to keep you motivated

If you struggle with motivation, enlist support. How about getting a friend to create a playlist for your runs or setting a run challenge with a friend for when lockdown restrictions are relaxed? And until we can run with our mates, take your favourite comedians or presenters along with you on your routes by listening to podcasts.

Mix up your running strategies

There are lots of different run strategies and it can be confusing but if you stick to three kinds of run you'll improve more quickly and enjoy the variety much more.

  • Recovery. This is extremely important to avoid fatigue and injury. It's not possible or advisable to go fast on every run. Aim for approximately 80% of your training to be long and easy.
  • Tempo. This is where you build your endurance by running for a longer time but at a conversational pace, say an effort of 4/5 out of 10. These are your social, enjoyable, exploring runs.
  • Intervals. These are short bursts of high intensity and are highly beneficial for building strength and cardio. After a 10-minute warm-up, run a short burst at sprint pace (9 out of 10 effort... you shouldn’t be able to talk) for a set time. This can start as five seconds with maybe a minute or two very slow – even walking – afterwards to get your heart rate down, then go again. Repeat up to six times.

Like anything in life, the more you practice, the easier it gets. By going to different places, doing different types of training runs, and enjoying the environment around you, running can become something you do anytime, anyplace, anywhere!

* Sarah is not her real name. This comment was given anonymously in response to a survey sent to Drinkaware’s user panel on ‘work, drinking habits and covid-19’ between May 13-18th, 2020.