Running in a pandemic

For some, running is a solitary experience, a chance to be by yourself, to collect your thoughts alone and be lost in nature. But for many of us, it’s something very different – running through city streets and crowded thoroughfares, passing through throngs of people.

And so now, we each have a choice to make. Suddenly we’re responsible not just for our own health, but the health of our loved ones and the health of our community. How much risk are we taking? And how can we mitigate those risks?

For those running streaks, the choice can be much harder. A streak is something you’ve invested in. Many runners haven’t missed a day this year, but others are on multi-year streaks. These streaks are a real accomplishment, they represent hundreds of hard choices where you put your health first when you really didn’t feel like running. But now, suddenly, that math has changed.

We can take less busy routes. We can cross the street. We can wear a mask. We can head straight to the shower when we’re done. But at the end of the day, each run represents a non-zero risk not just to ourselves but to others.

Being human means taking on and managing risk. We weigh the variables and we make informed choices. Sometimes we’ve run by motorways, or down icy trails, or pushed our body and heart to the limit to hit a PR. But those choices were different. They were personal choices.

And sometimes, and I don’t say this lightly….sometimes, the trappings that go along with those choices can really make things complicated. Trappings like streak numbers, goals you’ve set for yourself, and super-awesome-and-rare badges.

So, I have a proposition. If one day, you go to leave for your daily run, and you think “I’m not really sure this is a good idea.” Just do this: *Skip the run* Give yourself a pass. Sure, you ran through rain and snow. You ran on hot days and freezing ones. You ran for a dozen days in a row, you ran for a hundred or even a thousand. But, today, you didn’t run because it wasn’t the right thing to do. And that’s a good thing.

If you decide to make that choice, we’ll sort out the badges and even the streak counters. There’s a global pandemic. You get a pass. Email us, and we’ll figure it out. We’re not sure how we’ll implement it just yet. But even if it means writing code for specific for individual users we’ll do what’s needed, just email us and let us know.

28 Comments

Andrew

So well written. The smashrun team always proving they are great human beings.

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porkfork

I passed day 1,000 a couple weeks ago. I’ve come to terms, that if my streak breaks because of the virus, then it will be the end of my streak.
To want a free pass on the streak, is not consistent with my personality, ego, humility, whatever. Other folks won’t feel the same, and it won’t be my place to judge.
Thank you for the offer smashrun.

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Aneesh

I like it how people and companies like you are coming together in these tough times to provide help and support!! Keep up this thought process everyone !! 👍👏

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Nick H

This is awesome -thank you for helping us all to do our bit!! Much love and keep safe all.

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Tim Ward

We love you SmashRun team. So motivated to run this year by you guys. Would be gutted to lose streak but seems inevitable. Thanks for this.

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Elisa

In Spain we are so lock down that we are not even allowed to run outdoors. So, I am in my cross trainer day in, day out. Appreciate the support

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Nick Nichols

Never a streak runner, but next month-April 22, I hopefully get to 44 years of recorded running. Total miles as of today:92,778 miles and counting. I see more people out walking, I tell them they haven’t closed “my gym”. 🙂
Closing in on77, VO2 Max 42-43. I hope for old farts like me the medical folks take that into consideration when “culling the herd”, if not, I have beat my at birth life expectancy by over 12 years. No complaints. Very grateful. After Vietnam(‘67-68) I learned to be very, very grateful. Hey, most important goal for me is to run for the rest of my life. Nike use to use the ad “There is no finish line”, I have added- maybe the cemetary.
Keep running, it works.

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Perry Burgess

Its things like this that makes Smashrun (the team behind it that is) so good.
Great job guys.
Keep yourselves safe.

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Jeffrey Perry

Mostly a treadmill runner…with the gym closed down…outside is growing on me!!! Alot!!

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NJ Byrne

Thank you to all Smash runners whether you are a streaker or not who are thinking about those of us in the community who need your help to stay on the other side of this thing. We appreciate the support . I see you crossing that street and doing the zig zag away! Thank you guys. Thank you Chris!

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Adam

I love running and getting badges but I love my family more.

This makes it easier for people invested in the Leap Year runner badge etc to step back – thanks on their behalf.

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Karen

Deeply touched. Thanks. I’m doing my 2nd leap year streak. I’m still hopeful that it won’t get to the point that we won’t even be allowed outdoor exercise. 🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼

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Lauren

I’m not currently working on any streaks (though I did realize that it’ll be easy now to finally get the Lunch Hour badge!)- but it is nice to know this site is run by good and caring people.

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Paul_L

That’s great that you guys are thinking globally – I applaud you for that.

We are lucky in New Zealand, the country is locked down but can exercise locally, so our steaks can continue. For those who can’t get outside I really feel for you, I started my streak Dec 31st aiming to earn for the leap year badge and still on track – despite a pulled muscle.

Fellow runners stay strong, please look after yourselves and remember you and your communities health is more important than any badge so skip that that run if there is a risk – for everyone’s sake.

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Darragh

Well written, and I suspect a few people who log on here need to read it.
This virus will only be beaten if we modify our behavior for a while. We’ll all be a few months behind when life gets back to normal, but think of that as a new challenge, rather than taking risks today that could kill someone you care about.

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Rick Schippers

So far in the Netherlands we’re still allowed to go outside for runs or other exercise. Groups are not allowed anymore. All trainings at my running group have been suspended.

I’m still running outside, solo, on routes that are not busy, keeping my distance from everybody else. Also not pushing too hard in training now. Just trying to stay healthy & fit.

Stay safe everyone

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Richard

Streaks have never been for me, but around December 30th one of the people associated with this great site happened to mentioned somewhere on Reddit that 2020 was a leap year, one of the years you could earn the 366 badge. I don’t know why I jumped on this, my previous streak was around 10 days. I’m currently on day 97 (because December 31). I’ve had the best 5k and 15k of my life recently and could probably beat any of my previous PRs. Two days ago I was thinking it was all due to training every day and because someone associated with this site got me training every day.

So thank you for that.

And thank you for giving anyone who needs it during this pandemic a pause. My circumstances are special, I can keep running without interacting with anyone. Streaks should be a blessing, never a chore. Thank you for comforting people right now with your decision.

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chris

That’s awesome news. I understand objectively why streaks may not be great for training, but my personal experience has always been that the surest way to break through training barriers is to start a long streak. I think the thing is that you never know which day is going to be a great run, but if you run everyday your guaranteed not to miss any.

I’m on day 96. So far I still feel like I’m able to run in a safe way even in NYC. I never come closer than 6 feet from anyone….although that means spending more time in the street which carries it’s own dangers. I really should post an update on Reddit. I think maybe when hit day 100….which will be Thursday!

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Jakemia Monet Coleman

As an ICU physician treating COVID (and runner), this post has really made my day. I can’t believe how some of my “friends” are still posting pictures from their group runs.

Thank you so much for being responsible citizens.

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Phil DiGi

I used to pride myself on consecutive days run. Not that I bragged about it to others, but it was something that gave me a sense of self worth. And I was continually getting hurt. I would read about people who were running less often – and at a slower pace – and always thought, “That may work for them, but not for me.” This continued for years (as did my injuries). Finally, out of necessity, I began running every other day, and running at what seemed to be a ridiculously slow pace. What happened was “miraculous.” I haven’t been injured – not even a nick – in nine months, and I was able to snag top -three finishes for my age group in two half marathons within the last four months. IMO, maintaining a running streak is fueled by compulsion and maybe, just maybe, not by common sense.

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