Pre-quarantine, the last time you'd gone for a run was in high school gym class, and you hated it almost as much as you hate when Netflix asks if you're still watching your show now. But since there was nothing to do during quarantine except download Couch to 5k, you've been steadily closing rings on your Apple Watch and plan to keep going with lockdowns easing. If the pandemic blues made you antsy enough to actually go out for a jog or several, it's quite possible that quarantine has turned you into a runner.
Jogging around your neighborhood might well be the only opportunity you get to spend time alone during quarantine, not to mention that running is probably one of your sole reasons for getting some sunshine. Time to yourself and sunlight can both help reset your stress levels by clearing your mind. Running may also be the best opportunity to exercise you'll get during the pandemic, when the journey from bed to couch is probably the longest trek you'll take otherwise.
Whatever the motivation for your newfound commitment to daily jogs, congratulate yourself when you start noticing these 11 signs that quarantine has made you an official runner.
1. You've Downloaded A Running App
Whether it's Strava, the Nike Run Club app, or another option entirely, quarantine has made you slip into the Apple or GooglePlay Store to search for free running apps. You might have tried a few before landing on your fave, or maybe you picked one and immediately discovered your new best friend and virtual running buddy.
2. You're Googling "Running Form" On The Daily
You've been going out for more than just your casual jog, so you need more than just casual running form. You've realized that heel-striking often hurts, and you've also realized that holding too much tension in your shoulders makes your run less than great. To train yourself to run with good form, you've been doing everything from reading running articles to listening to running podcasts and... holy crap, you might be a runner.
3. You've Created 47 New Pump-Up Spotify Playlists
You've noticed that your energy starts to lag around the one mile mark, and you run faster when you have amped up music. Not that speed is everything, of course — always focus on your form first. But still, that extra boost from pump-up tunes is undeniable, and also a lot of fun.
4. Your Calves Are Constantly Sore (Until They're Not)
Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS) will probably kick in a day or two after your first run. It likely won't feel like you've injured yourself (if it does, take it easy and consider checking in with a doc), but your calves will be varying degrees of sore for a minute. It is actually very good to walk and go jogging with mild cases of DOMS, because it'll help increase blood flow and get you running without pain sooner.
You might marvel at yourself when your runs get longer and faster, but you don't get much sorer. As your body adapts to the rigors of running, it'll take a lot more to get you sore, so don't worry — #runninglife shouldn't mean you're in pain all the time.
5. You're Having Flashbacks About Getting Shin Splits In High School Gym Class...
... and you realize that if your gym teacher had actually taught you proper running form instead of telling you to suck it up, you could have avoided a lot of pain. Sure, even runners with perfect form get that sharp shin split pain between their ankles and knees. But what your gym teacher never told you was that running with good form can help prevent that. Listen to your body, resting and icing when you need to, and know that as you refine your form, shin splints likely won't remain a constant companion.
6. The Stairs Are Easier To Defeat
You live on the fourth floor of your apartment complex and even bringing up a light round of groceries has always been hellish. And while you still don't love your stairs, you've been noticing that you actually can defeat a few flights without being completely winded now.
7. You Just Ordered Three New Running Outfits
8. You've Perfected The Runner's Salute
Some people nod solemnly. Others raise their hand in a small wave. Still more folks smile and give a breathless "hey," while others offer a two-fingered salute. Whatever your style, you've learned that it's polite to greet other runners — from at least six feet away, of course.
Speaking of physical distancing, quarantine running etiquette has become second nature to you (the pandemic cousin of the timeless runner's salute). See a fellow sweat-monger running uphill toward you, on your side of the street? Check for cars, make sure the ground is even so you don't twist an ankle, and switch to the other side of the road for them. It's the new love language of athletes, and you're now fluent.
9. You Know Your Neighborhood Better
You always knew that house had a trans flag in its window, but you didn't know they also have a pet pig. Now you do! Running through your neighborhood has introduced you to at least three new coffee shops that you never knew existed, not to mention all the Black Lives Matter signs in people's yards and windows. You've been noticing all that since you've started running, so you now know where to stroll when you need some neighborly validation and happiness.
10. Your Day Is Weirdly Incomplete When You *Don't* Run
Running never used to be on your to-do list, but now your body is extra antsy when you go a couple days without getting your jog on. You're both lethargic and all revved up with no place to go, which is a terrible combination until you realize that you do have somewhere to go — running.
11. You Feel As Powerful As [Insert Your Fave Superhero Here]
Whether you're training to be Doctor Who's companion or are an aspiring Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D., running has started making you feel like an IRL superhero. You can now thwip through the city like Miles Morales or single-handedly destroy Thanos' ships like Carol Danvers, all because quarantine has transformed you into a runner.