Jog on: taking lockdown in your stride

A pair of trainers

As David Hockney points out, even though we're in lockdown, you can't cancel spring.

It seems that one of the only ways of getting out for your state-sanctioned daily dose of fresh air is jogging.

As well as being good exercise and a good excuse to get out, it's actually profoundly calming to do something that feels so wrong.

An unlikely jogger

I’m not a natural jogger. In my 20s I seemed to find all the satisfaction I needed from going out and having fun. Now, in my 30s, somehow that’s less of an option, so I have to find my endorphins another way.

I don’t take it too seriously. I warm up with a few stretches and stuff, and generally run for about 3 miles. My t-shirt and shorts look like something from the spare kit box and my trainers are functional rather than flashy.

I plod down the side of a dual-carriage way open-mouthed, I weave through the flood plain and pant past the ducks at Springfield lock.

Lots of places are much quieter at the moment, so you can see bits of nature breaking through. You might notice that the pigeons are strutting around like they own the place or catch the last of the spring blossom clinging on.

Also, keeping 2 metres away from other people gives you a natural chance to practise your slalom skills from one side of the pavement to the other.

When I get home I wait for the deep nausea to pass and, though I feel like I’m going to vomit most of the time I’m running, there’s an incredibly smug glow that lasts for the rest of the day.

The hard bit is always hard

It’s really addictive. After the first 6 runs you’re basically fit and you can start increasing your speed or distance. I’ve seen it become a real gateway drug, with friends getting into to triathlons or wild swimming depending on how keen on Instagram they are.

I think that’s because, when you start it feels like the most counter-intuitive thing in the world. Most people don’t feel like they’re natural runners. Your whole body is telling you to stop. So when you get past this there is a real euphoria.

Smug is a drug

The hard bit is always hard, so no matter how good you get, the sense of achievement is always there. Some days you'll dread it. You'll find any excuse not to go, but in my experience, no matter how slow the pace, or how miserable and soggy you get, once you get into the shower you feel better for it.

This can be a problem. You’ll do it. You’ll feel great. And despite your best efforts, you will drop it into conversations at the slightest opportunity, and your friends will hate you.

Keep on running

Even though it's really tiring while you're doing it, it gives you a little boost for the rest of the day. I find I can sit down and concentrate much more easily once I've been for a run.

If you're locked down with a little one (like me) it's very likely to be the closest thing you get to some time on your own.

Even though I dread it, if I don't get out for a couple of days, I start feeling restless and distracted.

It's pretty much guaranteed to lift your mood, and can give a bit of structure to your day. With the world locked down, these things are important.

When you start you'll look ridiculous, but by the time you get home you'll feel like a hero, ready to take on the world (this counts double if you run in the rain).

You might even keep it up after lockdown is lifted.

Get in touch, let us know how you've been managing lockdown lethargy.

Share this page


  1. Comment by Bhupinder posted on

    John - from one "runner" to another, I love this article. it really captures how I feel about running most of the time 🙂

  2. Comment by Zenith posted on

    I second that - I'm reading this article after my morning run. Yes! The post-run shower is always the best. Did I say how knackered I am? Knackered!


Leave a comment

We only ask for your email address so we know you're a real person