How to race during a pandemic

For the first time since 1989, I haven’t run an in person race this year. I know there have been a few opportunities this fall but I just don’t feel that any of these events were, to me, worth the risk of potentially being a part of the problem and spreading a serious virus. I terribly miss head to head racing and everything that goes with it but running still means a lot to me even without that and some things, like the health of my family and community, are more important.

That said, we all have to make our own choices. I don’t pass value judgments on to others who make different decisions. I hope they will take reasonable precautions and consider the safety procedures of the races they are considering but, if they feel the race is worth it, that’s their choice.

So, if you’re one of those people who are looking for a race, how do you decide what race to do and then how to safely participate? The always great Gretchen Reynolds offers some thoughts on that.

I’ve long been preaching that running does not harm your knees. There is just no evidence that it does and plenty of evidence that it doesn’t. But why? It would make sense that knee cartilage is worn down by running. Well, here’s a thought on that. Apparently, cartilage can be rebuilt.

I’ve also long been preaching that we worry too much about hydration. We’re fixated on getting enough fluids when the bigger problem is probably getting too much. I remember around 20 years ago someone telling me triumphantly that he weighed more at the finish of marathons than at the start. He thought it was a great accomplishment. I thought it was over hydration. Well, another study says you should drink to thirst.

Remember this summer when reports of a study suggested neck gaiters were not effective in combating the spread of COVID-19 were everywhere? I was skeptical at the time due to the way the study was done and reported on. The study simply wasn’t designed to determine which face covering worked best. Well, another study better designed to determine these things found that they work just fine. So don’t hesitate to use your neck gaiter as a face covering. If you’re really concerned about protecting those around you, as I hope you are, think less about the type of face covering you’re using and more about how many layers you’re using.

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