The negative externalities associated with Covid-19 are endless. It is hard to possibly imagine something that has had a more profound impact on people with little or no connection to the original outbreak. On the plus side, one positive externality I continue to witness first hand are my running times.
Normally, at this time of the year members of the Department of Economics at UCC are preparing for our annual Cork City Marathon relay effort. My annual running usually spans April and May, in preparation for the race, and comes to an abrupt halt after the race on the June Bank holiday weekend. This is despite repeated promises to myself each year that I will "keep it up".
Covid-19 changed everything this year. From mid-March I found myself running around the locality on loop runs in order to exercise, like everyone else, during the movement restrictions. The uptake in exercise (running, jogging and walking) is obvious to see. In fact, the pavements are very busy with all sorts of active people.
Last weekend, on a 1.5km stretch, I passed 54 people moving in both directions. That is not running past 54 people as the vast majority were travelling in the opposite direction. However, I was able to run past some primarily because my times have improved.
With thanks to a running app, I have data on all of my runs since March. There have been 23 in total over 70 days. About 1 run ever 3 days. The runs have ranged from just under 4km (2.4m) to 6.3km (4m). 17 of the runs have been betwen 4.9km and 5.2km.
My 5km times have improves quite a bit. In mid-March my average pace per km was about 5:16. For example, on my first run over 5km, my average pace per km were 5:13, 4:59, 5:17, 5:22 and 5:28. My second kilometre is always my fastest. Overall time 26:28.
Fast forward to my latest run this week. Average pace per km 4:42. Over each kilometre I ran 4:47, 4:34, 4:51, 4:39 and 4:45. Overall time 23:38. The difference is nearly 3 minutes. Far from lightening fast, but not bad for a causal runner who's best days on the sports circuit are well behind him.
I will continue this year beyond the June Bank Holiday because the Cork City Marathon has been cancelled. The crucial break this year will be the end of Covid-19 restrictions. I am promising myself I will "keep it up".