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running in a socially distanced group - what do you think?


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In the past, our church has had groups of women that ran together 3-4 times per week.

I really need exercise and I really need to connect with people. What would you think about running with a group, so long as we keep at least 6' away from each other? We would be in a place with good air flow - along the shore of Lake Michigan.

Emily

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12 minutes ago, EmilyGF said:

In the past, our church has had groups of women that ran together 3-4 times per week.

I really need exercise and I really need to connect with people. What would you think about running with a group, so long as we keep at least 6' away from each other? We would be in a place with good air flow - along the shore of Lake Michigan.

Emily

From what I've read, the trouble with running with others (or even a crowded place with lots of runners) is the person behind them goes through the other's 'wake'.  Next to each other would be better, but then it's hard to stay 6' apart.  I don't wear a mask when I go out to exercise, but I go alone and cross to the other side of the street when I pass anyone else, which is not often.

I bought a mask that was meant for people who exercise where there's pollution in the hopes that I could wear that if I wanted to exercise where it was more crowded - I was thinking of it if I wanted to go cycling on the bike trail...

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I would not run in a group, especially if it will be in single file along a narrow path.

I would run with a partner though assuming that we could position ourselves so that we are each breathing fresh air.

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1 minute ago, EKS said:

I would not run in a group, especially if it will be in single file along a narrow path.

I would run with a partner though assuming that we could position ourselves so that we are each breathing fresh air.

This is more of what I was thinking. There is a path, but there is also about 30' of grass that people often run on. Right now, the potential group is 2 people as the group disintegrated!

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I wouldn’t do it.  

I’m fine with socially distanced gatherings, and I’m fine with exercising outside, but the combo is pretty unsafe IMO.  I’d do a sedate socially distanced gathering and for any activity that involves heavy breathing outside of the household group I’d take care to be alone.

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Instead of meeting to run, could the same group meet outside to talk about running? Go over goals, talk about what routes or parks you've run the past week, ask questions, motivate each other. Maybe have a common challenge that people can adapt. That part could come first and be somewhat organized, probably have someone leading the discussion, and then those interested could stick around for casual (physically distanced) visiting. 

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Idk. My instinct is to say no unless it’s a small group (2 or 3), but my son’s XC team is going to start summer practice soon and I’m letting him participate. The mental health piece of all of this is so huge.

Presumably you know the other people you’ll be running with and can assess how responsible they will be in a group. I hope it works out for you. 

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I am pretty risk tolerant and I run by myself a few times a week, but I don't think I would run with others yet. Maybe if you were masked the whole time, but that sounds miserable.

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I run. But, there is no chance of me running with a group right now. I have the same opinion on socially distanced biking as well because what I have seen of it is that it is mostly people in a single file due to suburban layouts in my area.

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Just now, mathnerd said:

I run. But, there is no chance of me running with a group right now. I have the same opinion on socially distanced biking as well because what I have seen of it is that it is mostly people in a single file due to suburban layouts in my area.

Yep. This is why I bought a mask for possible biking - not that I've actually done it yet, but i wouldn't feel comfortable without one on a busy bike path (and I also don't want to bike on the road - less risk of covid, but way higher risk of being hit!)

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For my family, we're comfortable walking, hiking and running with one other person who is on the same page in terms of distancing. That means we're next to each other, not one behind the other, and staying 6 ft apart or more. If there are other people coming we distance much more than that, often getting off the trail or sidewalk entirely. It's easier to do on a beach or quiet road than on a path, and a crowded path is a hard no for me right now. We're also not going in groups of more than two, if it includes someone outside our household, because it's hard to be aware of a bunch of different people.

We haven't had issues maintaining distance as described above in our area, so we don't wear masks. If we lived in a more crowded area or had a family member at particular risk I'd search for less crowded streets or parks, and look into options for exercise masks.

I have an extroverted, athletic teen who just graduated from high school, and really struggled with losing all the events and socializing of senior year. That probably encouraged us to try options for outdoor distancing earlier than I would have tried it on my own. For her mental health she really needs to get outside, be active and see people. She also had Covid toes so she may have a bit of immunity. We're not really counting on immunity, though, since so much is unknown, so she always masks on the rare occasions she's indoors, and keeps generous distance outdoors.

There are a few people we've stopped trying walking or running with because they didn't distance as much as we do, but it's been doable and fun with people who are equally mindful of it. In my area, most are masking and distancing, and I must admit it gives me hope to go out for a walk, give others space, and exchange greetings. People greet each other even more now, as if to make clear that the distance is only physical, and there's a feeling of graciousness and respectfulness about it.  

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2 hours ago, Carol in Cal. said:

I wouldn’t do it.  

I’m fine with socially distanced gatherings, and I’m fine with exercising outside, but the combo is pretty unsafe IMO.  I’d do a sedate socially distanced gathering and for any activity that involves heavy breathing outside of the household group I’d take care to be alone.

Yup. 

And yet my area has had indoor gyms, with no masks, open for weeks. Go figure. 

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There may be new advances in masks available soon  where you can get pretty good protection, breathability, and coolness ...

And there are some face shields now that use Velcro to sit forward from face instead of tight against forehead...  

which might be useable at a reduced speed ... 

and if whole group used mask / shield — maybe...  ?  Especially if just you and one other 6-10 feet apart? 

 

However, group of runners , or unmasked, seems unwise 

Afaik Cross Country season was cancelled locally because of high risk issues. 

 

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Short answer, No, absolutely not.

I get it. I absolutely get the need to exercise and not give up something you have worked so hard and long for. For many people it may sound frivolous in a pandemic, but I get the mental health part too. I also get that it is not easy to replace exercise with videos. I tried that, did not succeed well because I cannot do it right and will probably injure myself. I get the being tired of trying to find something that works for you and reinventing exercise over and over when you had a beloved exercise that you enjoyed the most and you found after trial and error. But I also think we need to do it safely.

I swim now, it is my absolute happy place. It helps me tremendously in mental health I cannot even tell you. I imagine running is like that for you. But I swim very safely and the minute I do not feel that I will not even it will quite honestly be very difficult for me to give up. But I will continue to exercise and reinvent even it is exhausting and find ways to do it safely because I need to exercise like I need to breathe. 

In your case, I will say run alone. I get the like minded people and the running with the group part. I miss the people in my pool because so many cannot lap swim and gave up during the pandemic. Right now, for me it is DH and the people on the fitness thread who keep me accountable and inspire me. You are part of that thread too. So do it alone in real life, but find your people online for now. Run alone or with a family member. 

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19 minutes ago, CuriousMomof3 said:

 

I'm curious why you feel like swimming indoors is safer than running outdoors, if she's running 6 feet from  others, and not in their wake, in a wide open space.  

To me both could be pretty safe, but if anything, the outdoor one would be safer.  

 

State regulations are only 25% capacity. They absolutely adhere to that. So that cuts the crowd down vastly especially this time of year.

Next, members only can swim. Previous summers anyone can with a daily fee, that cuts more. Next no classes. That cuts even further. 

We have 3 pools in total, a kiddie pool, a wave pool and a 25 foot half olympic size pool aka the big pool. Only the big pool is open and only lap swimming allowed. That cuts it to the bone because initially so many people came and they had half an hour slots. You need endurance to swim like that and most gave up. Prepandemic, lots of adult swimmers swam in the kiddie pool or walked in the wave pool. No one there now. I swim with barely 6 or 7 people at a time in a huge pool which I never did pre pandemic even at 5:30 am and I can swim even an hour now because the slots are hardly filled. 

No lockers or showers so no contamination there. We all wear our swim clothes through the lobby when previously we could not and every single one masks up. They have someone cleaning the area always. We take off the mask and we jump in, swim in opposite directions. There is enough distance between us that it is 6 feet in any direction. We all swim with our head up, mostly breast stroke and we slow down or go faster depending on how far we feel we are. I come straight home and drop my mask and swim clothes at once in the washer with my robe. I bought extra robes and suits this year. I shower straight away. So I feel very comfortable because there is hardly anyone. If classes start I may have to drop out but since they have not, I feel comfortable. It is really weird swimming in this huge area with hardly 10 people. 

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4 minutes ago, CuriousMomof3 said:

Yeah, I totally get why swimming in your circumstance is really safe.  I love to swim so I'm kind of jealous that you have that.

I guess I see the precautions she's talking about here -- smaller group than regular, choosing a trail with wide grass beside it for people to run, starting and ending outside, all staying 6 feet apart and not in each other's wake . . . To me that seems like a similar level of precaution, and then you add in that's it's outdoor and outdoor is safer.  I feel like I agree that you're safe swimming, and I think this plan, or at least what I am imagining, would also be safe.  

What concerns me about running clubs are they run in packs and close together. We walk now as a family and I see that all the time with families who run together. They always run as a group close together. Even cyclists, you kind of unconsciously form a herd if you will. I think that is an instinct that will be hard to overcome when you run. When I swim I do not face that, easier to isolate the way we are doing. 

How small a group are we talking about ? I know that races are being cancelled. Runners world magazine when I checked in the beginning of this when DH suddenly decided he will run recommended solo runs. Our sidewalks are crawling with people. It is practically impossible to social distance while taking a walk or biking because of a crowd at our place. Now the heat maybe a factor in TX and certain times makes it crowded, but I see so much many people out we do not feel safe. So we go out extremely early like at 6am for a family bike ride or late night to walk. DH runs at 5 am or 10 pm alone just to be safe because he is constantly dodging people otherwise. In a pool no one is dodging anyone. No crowd where we are. 

Also, possibility to have to touch traffic buttons while running. I don't know if they are a risk with OP. But DH runs in a loop in our neighborhood because of that. 

Ultimately we all have to evaluate the risks. For me, the gym is not worth it though in mine they have equipment alternating, no free weights, someone is always cleaning and you have to wear gloves mandatory.  It was not worth it for us. We bought an elliptical because of that though I tried so hard to resist that and we were playing outside with DS until the heat got us. I think running is safe but not group runs. I will not swim if the entire pool opens or classes are going to open. But with the size of our pool area and the amount of people there and the way we swim I feel comfortable. Our community pool is closed even if it is an outdoor pool. 

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3 minutes ago, CuriousMomof3 said:

I have seen people running in packs, and my own DH only goes running in the middle of the night, but it sounded like Emily was pretty committed to maintaining her 6 feet.  If she didn't then I'd feel differently.  I think she also said that right now the group size is 2.  I agree that past about 4 people it gets riskier.  

The way swimmers breathe and the way runners breathe when they run is what makes me concerned. I am not articulating well. I feel comfortable swimming behind someone 6 feet ahead with one "empty" lane between us in the same direction. I would not feel safe running behind someone. Runners breathe heavy. Everyone who swims now in my pool, breathes in a way that does not concern me. Does that make sense ? 

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2 minutes ago, CuriousMomof3 said:

Yeah, that makes total sense, but I felt like when she said that it's a park that's got like 30 feet of width, I was picturing side by side.  I agree that behind is a problem!

It's practically impossible to run side by side with 6 feet apart now in any area I picture because you will be dodging people too. I only see families run single file. I can't picture that. Even our parks are crowded. But it just could be summer in TX and people coming out in droves when it is cooler.

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7 hours ago, EmilyGF said:

This is more of what I was thinking. There is a path, but there is also about 30' of grass that people often run on. Right now, the potential group is 2 people as the group disintegrated!


I would do partner over a group 🙂    Go early (as most runners do) and it will be much emptier.  Enjoy!!!
 

I am higher risk but my COVID anxiety is low- for reference. 

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I am NOT a runner bit a walker.  In a group of 2, side by side, outside, spaced 6+ feet apart, I would go for it.   I have been doing walks like this all along.

Are there any known cases of transmissions from one running partner to another following these guidelines?

There are just so many health...physical and mental...benefits that I would go for it with a partner.

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21 hours ago, EmilyGF said:

This is more of what I was thinking. There is a path, but there is also about 30' of grass that people often run on. Right now, the potential group is 2 people as the group disintegrated!

If the 'group' is 3 people (you + 2 others), I would do it. 

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DH and I are more gym people and pre-COVID, DH never ran. So we had no clue really how the land of the free and no masks necessary aka TX treated parks and trails. I was curious and found this which was really surprising. Even in a state which was gungho in opening and walking back now because of increased cases there was this. A sampling from different parts of the state.

https://www.dallasnews.com/news/public-health/2020/04/02/packed-like-sardines-warnings-at-dallas-parks-arent-working-but-officials-pump-the-brakes-on-closures/

https://therivardreport.com/bexar-coronavirus-cases-rise-to-157-mayor-threatens-to-close-parks/

https://www.statesman.com/news/20200407/coronavirus-in-texas-parks-shut-down-to-stymie-coronavirus-spread

Most surprising was this 

https://www.wfaa.com/article/news/health/coronavirus/coronavirus-dallas-fort-worth-updates-april-20-north-texas/287-9e6e6f2a-63dc-4cdb-a5ab-885b69c90058

This is a very interesting way of how they handled a well known trail that passes through Dallas. This is how it looks like.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Katy_Trail_(Dallas)

They actually use a person's last name to restrict access to the trail. 

https://www.wfaa.com/article/news/health/coronavirus/coronavirus-dallas-fort-worth-updates-april-20-north-texas/287-9e6e6f2a-63dc-4cdb-a5ab-885b69c90058

I have no clue how many cases are there in your state OP or how the trails are handled. But I would first look up what are the restrictions if any in what I assume is a hugely popular place. What I know for certain is even in my state where we opened way before anyone I am surprised at how much regulation there is especially in urban areas when I assumed none existed. I live in one of the big metros and I know our parks and trails are very busy. 

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OK, so I think I'm going to be running 3x a week with one other person. We're going to be on a 30' wide lawn area where we can be 6' apart. Mainly we're going to be running together in order to keep each other accountable. The geography means we will have lots of air flow and the time (and location) means it should be reasonably empty. If not, we can give up. But with these guidelines, I think we're going to give it a try.

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13 minutes ago, EmilyGF said:

OK, so I think I'm going to be running 3x a week with one other person. We're going to be on a 30' wide lawn area where we can be 6' apart. Mainly we're going to be running together in order to keep each other accountable. The geography means we will have lots of air flow and the time (and location) means it should be reasonably empty. If not, we can give up. But with these guidelines, I think we're going to give it a try.

Given that I certainly would give it a try.

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