Staying Safe While Running Outside During a Pandemic

Running Safety Mar 22, 2020

At a time like this, it’s important to stay safe and healthy amidst the Coronavirus chaos, and running outside provides the perfect solution. While social distancing and staying away from crowded areas is still important, running outside allows you to maintain a safe distance from others, while staying safe and active. In fact, according to David Nieman, a health professor at Appalachian State University in an article from Runner’s World, it’s actually safer to be outside at a time like this rather than inside as you’re more likely to come in contact with germs when indoors because, when people sneeze or cough, droplets get onto everyday objects that they touch, and then people touch their face.

In order to stay as safe as possible during the pandemic, here are some simple tips to help prevent transmission.

Avoid contact with others

One of the hardest changes to adjust to during the Covid-19 pandemic is the new social distancing recommended by health officials. In addition, the CDC is also recommending everyone to avoid all close contact with other people, which includes: hugs, handshakes, and unfortunately, encouraging high-fives.

While this shouldn’t affect any solo runner’s journey, it may be difficult for seasoned group runners to adjust to. Avoiding running with any partner is ideal to prevent transmission, however if you still decide to run with a partner, we recommend restricting yourself to simple foot fives, elbow bump, and fist bumps rather than their germ-spreading counterparts.

Surgeon General Jerome M. Adams (right) greeted Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont recently with an elbow bump. Jessica Hill/Associated Press

Don’t run in large groups

Although running in large groups is always a blast, this increases the risk of physical contact and spread of any germs and bacteria. Running in small groups, 1-5 people, is recommended over running in larger groups, however running by yourself has many perks and no risk of transmission. Running solo simulates a “race day run” and has little to no distractions. You will also get practice on pacing yourself and recognizing when your body needs hydration and fuel.

You can learn more about the perks of running by yourself or in a group here, in an article by Runner's World.

Don’t touch high contact objects

After a long, tiresome run, it is easy to forget and sit down on a park bench or lean onto a lamp post. However, it is crucial to avoid these public places and objects that people touch everyday. These high-traffic areas are lurking with germs and can be extremely dangerous if precautionary measures are not followed. Avoid touching public places such as mailboxes, water fountains, trash cans, park benches, door handles, stairway railing etc. In addition, the CDC recommends not sharing high contact objects such as water bottles, rollers and towels. However, if you do come into contact with any of these objects, make sure to wash your hands thoroughly and as soon as possible to avoid any further transmissions. With washing your hands regularly and avoiding these high contact objects, running outside in public will be a blast!

Stay on the move

As is great advice for any physical activity, you should always stay moving. Staying active can help lower the chance of catching the disease from a passerby sneezing or coughing, the two main ways to spread the virus according to the CDC.

If you find yourself constrained on a busy street waiting to cross, or are simply passing by another runner, try to maintain a safe distance of at least 3 feet, according to the WHO. Though to stay on the safe side, the CDC is recommending people to stay at least 6 feet apart.  This simple act of standing at least 6 feet apart while at a crosswalk or crossing the street when you see a runner ahead of you, can keep you staying safe.

Image from The Guardian "How to protect yourself against coronavirus" 

Avoid running in crowded areas

While it may be hard for many downtown dwellers, it’s highly recommended not to run in dense areas such as city streets and small public parks if there are a lot of people out. If it’s possible to drive to a quiet area, park, or trail to go for a run, it can help drastically in minimizing your chance of catching the virus. If this is a challenge, check out our running inside blog for tips and tricks on running inside your home!

Alex Powell "Two Men Crossing On Pedestrian Lane" on Pexels

Stay indoors if you are sick

The last, and most important, rule of thumb is to stay indoors if you are sick. Staying inside if you have any symptoms at all is the most effective way to prevent transmission. By ruling out any possibility of coming in contact with other people while sick, you can ensure that any virus, from Covid-19 to the simple cold, won’t be spread. Additionally, staying indoors is the best thing to do to recover quickly according to SBS News and UC Davis.

Pixabay on Pexels

If you need groceries or medicine bought while you are sick, it’s recommended to ask a friend or family member to deliver groceries to you as every opportunity should be taken to minimize the spread of Covid-19. If no one is available to bring you groceries, services like Instacart and DoorDash exist that allow you to order groceries and food straight to your door. If all else fails, a post to your local Facebook or Nextdoor group is always likely to turn up some kind souls willing to help.

Dos and Don'ts

To sum things up, here’s a quick dos and don’ts list to follow for any physical activity outside.


  • Foot five, elbow shake, fist bump
  • Clean any surfaces you need to touch with wipes
  • Stay 6 feet away from others at all times
  • Run solo
  • Run in spacious parks, trails, and neighborhoods
  • Have others get groceries for you and stay inside while sick


  • High five, hug, handshake
  • Touch high-contact objects
  • Stay in one area for a long amount of time
  • Run in large groups
  • Run in crowded streets and small parks
  • Go outside while sick

Stay Safe, Stay Healthy, & StayRunning

❤️ The StayRunning Team

If you have any questions or concerns about running, please shoot one of us an email at or and we would love to help you out!

Anushri Rao

Among with Phillip Cutter

I like to run with friends, swim and spend time with my family.

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