You Don’t Have to Stop Running During COVID: Michael Capiraso Gives His Top Tips For Runners to Stay in Shape During The Pandemic

Michael Capiraso Gives Top 7 Tips For Runners Amid a Pandemic

When it comes to useful tips for runners on how to remain active and fit during a pandemic, it’s best to seek advice from someone who completed 28 consecutive New York City Marathons.

Michael Capiraso has played a solid fixture in the running world for almost 30 years. During his time as the CEO of New York Road Runners (NYRR), the number of NYRR participants doubled to around 700,000 people.

Capiraso also personally raised more than $100,000 for the NYRR’s Team for Kids. As COVID-19 disrupted our lives, he shares seven ways for runners to stay healthy and safe during a pandemic.

1. Runners Should Start Slowly

If you’re a newbie or someone coming back from hiatus, you should have a slow start before gradually picking up the pace. A lack of proper conditioning and training, especially for new runners, may lead to injuries such as stress fractures and shin splints.

Capiraso advises runners to monitor their logged minutes instead of mileage. By doing so, it allows you to set a comfortable pace that doesn’t pressure you into overexerting yourself. Even long-time runners should also take a few days off for the same reason.

2. Runners Must Have the Right Gear

The pandemic introduced a new type of special gear for runners: a face mask. While there has been contentious talk surrounding its use, runners should consider an athletic face mask for two reasons:

  • It reduces the spread of respiratory droplets while on a run.
  • It’s built to endure the impact of running-related stress.

Athletic face masks are particularly designed to protect others, while making sure that you can still breathe easily during a run. Capiraso also advised runners to be picky with shoes. Find one with proper alignment and support.

In other words, a pair of shoes that you wear for casual activities won’t be a good choice. The shoes must be comfortable yet safe for running at the same time.

3. Runners Must Keep Their Distance

How far do you stay away from others while running? While six feet is the recommended distance, some experts believe that you should stay at least 15 feet away from people.

You can easily achieve this by picking a route with as little pedestrian traffic as possible. If you’re running with a buddy, it’s better to stay more than six feet away from them. You shouldn’t also cut off people in front of you because most of your respiratory droplets trail behind you.

4. Runners Should Join Groups

While running is a solitary activity, it’s much more enjoyable to stay healthy when others motivate you to reach your goals. Capiraso encourages runners to join running groups where they can gain a supportive outlet.

Your chosen group doesn’t need to have in-person meetings at all. Virtual connections through apps and social media provided runners with a safe space. These resources have long been available pre-pandemic, but more runners have sought social interaction amid canceled events and lockdowns.

Capiraso recommends JoggingBuddy as a great way to connect. The app lets you choose individuals or groups that share your interests and/or goals.

5. Runners Should Choose a New Route

A new route doesn’t only help with maintaining social distance, but it also expands your outdoor running experience. Don’t be averse to change. If there’s anything explicit that COVID-19 taught us, it involves coping with change.

One such example of taking a new route could be a path from your home to a friend’s house. Upon arriving at their location, you can stay outside and send a quick greeting. This can be your creative way of changing your route during the so-called “new normal.”

6. Runners Should Engage in Virtual Connections

Some runners struggle with maintaining their old routines. Avid races are a perfect example. Capiraso suggests virtual contests to satisfy their competitive spirits.

Many organizers have held virtual races on digital platforms. These events also take out the pressure of real-world races, as runners complete the route within a certain time. Once you complete the race, you can log the miles and choose another event that fits your schedule.

Virtual races have made it easier for runners to spare some time. You no longer have to worry so much about your schedule before participating in events.

7. Runners Should Overcome Jitters

Capiraso knows that going beyond the first step remains the biggest challenge for many runners. He recommends that whichever pace you take, get started right away. Your body becomes weak after just a week without enough exercise.

If resuming a habit of running seems tiresome after several lockdowns, you can pick up a new physical activity such as lifting weights and yoga. After all, any type of exercise will be better than a sedentary lifestyle, according to Michael Capiraso.

Originally published at on April 8, 2021.



Michael Capariso is a visionary leader who serves on the board of JoggingBuddy and has shaped the business and brand strategies of the NFL, MLB, NYRR and more.

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