Back in March, everyone in the UK was put on lockdown which meant time spent out and about was restricted, and the way of life changed dramatically for many people.
One thing that many considered precious was the ability to to get out for an hour of exercise each day. With parkrun paused and all races either postponed or cancelled, runners were tasked with motivating themselves as best they could for a period of time that would be challenging for everyone.
Three months on and things are gradually starting to return so something resembling normal. At the time of typing, parkrun and organised events are still on hold, but the option is there to exercise as much as we like.
We thought it would be great to understand how runners have found the past three months and over 1000 of you told us how you found it.
How much have you run over the past 3 months?
Something that was common amongst many of you was that at the start of lockdown, the time allowed to exercise was so precious that runners were making the most and heading out as much as they could. That one hour was planned in advance with a route lined up, kit ready in advance .
Two thirds of you said that you have run more than normal with 15% saying you ran the same amount.
As lockdown went on, motivation was tough to come by for all of us. No end to restrictions was tough mentally which made keeping up the runs hard. Many of us had events in the diary which, one by one, were postponed or cancelled. Even with postponed events, there is no guarantee that the new autumn dates will get the go ahead, but at least it was something to aim for.
Focusing on shorter runs has been a popular theme with many taking the opportunity to see if they can improve their 5k and 10k times. We have no doubt that when parkrun returns it will be more popular than ever!
New routes have also been discovered due to an increase in running. How many times do you find yourself running the same route time and time again? Heading off the regular path has been positive to mix up what's around you and soak up a new location.
With many people not being able to go into their place of work, the regular commutes have disappeared which has been positive for many. Time spent in a car, or on public transport, can often be seen as unproductive and lots of you commented that this has given you the extra time to fit runs in between home life and working from home.
Will commutes change for the good? I'm sure many will review their ability to work from home and look at the positives they have taken from the past three months.
Why have people been running more?
It's been an escapism. It's been a way of relieving stress. It's been a positive way to deal with all of the different scenarios that we've found ourselves in, from homeschooling our children, to managing a busy work schedule while working from home.
Many have been furloughed or even lost their jobs. Everyone reacts differently to different situations, but the one thing many have in common is how they use running to help combat their mental health.
Clubs around the country have had to observe social distancing which has made it tough to operate group runs.
At the start, solo runs or runs with people from your own household were the only options. For many club runners, this was hard to adapt to as the social aspect of running up to 3 or 4 times a week was hard to do without.
Over the past few weeks, we've seen restrictions relax which has allowed smaller groups to come together and finally clock up some miles. The positivity from this has been plain to see!
We've seen families start C25K programs during lockdown. The chance to run together is something outside of the norm, but running has helped them do something together that they all enjoy.
Without events to train for, there has been less stress and pressure on individuals which has been positive for lots of you. The chance to reassess goals, reset your outlook and create good habits, have all been grasped.
It's also given individuals the chance to rest and recover properly from injuries and niggles which previously might not have been the case.
Let's not forget those that have run less since the start of lockdown. The time pressure of juggling home and work life has meant fitting in time to run has been harder to come by. Events are always an aim to run towards and with all races being on hold, motivation has fallen and running has become less of a focus.
We all deal with motivation in different ways and it's not always easy to come by. The return of parkrun and other events is much anticipated, and we have no doubt many running mojos will be found once again when these times return.
We want to leave you with a quote from one runner that we feel sums up how we have found the past few months and we know it will resonate with many of you:
'It’s like I have found the time and much needed mental head space to fall in love with running all over again.'
Feel free to get in touch with how you have found your running over the past 3 months.