What a difference a day makes

17 Jan Sun 

What a difference a day makes. Exhorted to stick to the rules by the PM yesterday, maintain social distancing and with increased public awareness of the particles shed by joggers. Today the world is behaving differently to yesterday. A collective realisation it seems, that we all need to behave differently.

There is noticeably greater care being taken, everyone giving each other more space, allowing others to pass -“no you first”, and “thank you”. Can’t help thinking that this is bringing out the best in people. An ‘all in it together’ mindset reset,  of what we all need to do to protect each other.  Comfortable with that.

Somewhere in the messaging it has been said that joggers might shed their breath or spittle particles more widely and beyond the magic 2 metres. Healthy, aysymptomatic or pre-symptomatic who knows? The change in attitude to my jogging is immediately apparent.

People are crossing the road at the sight of me along the path or standing tightly against walls or hedges as I approach in narrower locations. In these cases I find myself slowing and holding my breath as I pass. Not sure of the science of this, just an instinct that it’s the right thing to do. Might need some refining though as holding my breath on approach, then blurting out “thank you” as I pass by might be counter productive!

I adapt my behaviour in response and  begin running in the road or crossing to the opposite kerb as best I determine the  moment requires. I see this is appreciated so adopt it immediately as a new normal, even on occasion running an entirely different way when I see an elderly couple approach along a narrow footpath. Plays havoc with my Strava, equally has the benefit of preventing me getting too obsessed about Strava statistics. 

Getting to Strava has been a gradual and unintended process. I am by nature I think a typical male. In this case given a Garmin watch, as a birthday present last year. Open box, strap watch to wrist, cursory glance at instructions and away you go. I did however download the app to my phone so that I could look at how may steps I took each day and how long I am sleeping for. I had’n’t even mastered the stopwatch, or more precisely the sequence of buttons required to first get to the stopwatch. It is way more complicated than the old days of the beloved Casio stopwatches. Start – run – stop, note down time in notebook. I had settled for just noting the approximate time I started running and noting approximately the time I finished, as in that was approx. 28 minutes etc. 

Then for a reason that escapes me, even just a few days later I was looking at Strava, and thinking how interesting it would be to have bit more detail about my runnning. Loading the app was simplicity itself, now I can see distance and heartrate for each run. Strava however wants me to subscribe to its service so that I can see even more detail. I am tempted, I mean it’s only £4 a month. Just one more few pounds a month, to go with all the other similar things I am signed up for, why not? I procrastinate and a few days later realise that I am not really running for running’s sake. Getting obsessive about times and routes will be a distraction. Note to self, remember this is about tennis. It is enough to know time, distance and heartrate, nothing else required. I will stay with the free version. 

In any case just now it is hard to replicate any run exactly, given the need to take evasive action when nearing other human beings. Strange new world, I never could ever have imagined such a thing.

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