Working out in the time of Covid

Monday, March 16, 2020. On that day Governor Gretchen Whitmer mandated that all gyms were to be closed indefinitely in order to stop the spread of COVID-19.

When I heard this news, I was immediately disappointed. I belong to a Planet Fitness gym nearby, and I loved to go there to meet with my friends and work out. The gym helped me stay healthy and release stress. It was my favorite place to go after a long day.

For the following week after the gym closed, I did not exercise because I could no longer go to the gym, and I do not have much exercise equipment in my house. This sedentary lifestyle that I had suddenly adapted left me feeling sluggish and irritable. I needed something more in my day than doing schoolwork and Netflix. I needed to exercise.

One day in late March, I decided to do something for the first time this year: run outside. I sometimes ran on the treadmill at the gym, but I did not run far and I never enjoyed it. However, with the lack of options, I put on warm clothes (appropriate for Michigan’s weather) and I ran through neighborhoods nearby. Although I was exhausted when I finished the run, I felt the best I had felt since the beginning of quarantine. It was like I was back at the gym.

Since then, I've ran almost every day. I built up to run longer distances and started running different routes. At the end of March, I gave myself a new goal. I wanted to run one hundred miles in April, which meant I had to run over three miles every day to meet my goal.

Starting April 1st, I began recording how far I ran in my journal. This journal motivates me to run on days when I feel tired and shows me how far I have come since I started running. At the beginning of April, I was only able to run a few miles at a time, and now I can run ten miles. Now that there are ten days left in April, I have twenty four more miles to run before the month ends, and I am on pace to hit my goal.

Since the beginning of April, I have recorded the distance I run on my Quarantine Calendar, which hangs on a wall in my kitchen. This calendar serves both as my motivation to run on the days when I do not feel like running and as a visual tool to measure my improvement. When I see this calendar, I see that I have been able to run longer distances as the month progressed.

I plan to continue running every day after April, after I hit my goal. I first started running to stay healthy and productive, but I found that I enjoy it much more than I expected I would. My daily runs are the best part of my day. Although this international pandemic has brought fear, isolation, sickness, and death, it brought something positive into my life: a new passion.

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