For most runners, the great outdoors is part of the appeal of running. The benefits of exercise cannot be disputed but the addition of fresh air, connection with Mother Nature and (depending on the weather) the feeling of sunshine on your skin can ramp those benefits up substantially.
I read an article in The Guardian recently about Pan Shancu, a runner from Hangzhou in China, one of many cities currently under lockdown until the Coronavirus has been controlled. Pan felt bored and frustrated at the loss of his liberty. He was quoted as saying, “I could not bear sitting down anymore.” And, after being housebound for weeks, who could blame him? I know that if I can’t leave the house even once in a day, I feel trapped. If I see someone out running, when I have missed a run, I feel envious. Therefore, although my situation has never directly correlated with Pan’s, I can understand his despair, to a small degree at least.
So what to do when you are a frustrated, housebound runner?
Pan set up a makeshift track (consisting of 2 long tables) in his apartment and started running. He documented his run on social media using videos and his run tracking app and clocked up 50km (31 miles) in 4 hours, 48 minutes and 44 seconds.
Where there is a will, there is a way.
My husband was away from home this weekend (Friday – Sunday) and as I have children, I was unable to go out running. I could have taken them with me on their bikes but with Storm Dennis making wet and windy threats they would have been less than enthusiastic about accompanying me. Rather than missing out completely, I have been inspired by Pan’s story and I have completed a run a day indoors. I did not run a marathon but my overall tally is 12 miles. I’m happy with that. Something is always better than nothing and while I will always enjoy running outdoors more than on a treadmill, or tearing up and down my stairs and in and out of rooms, it is an option when needs must.