Going outside to be greeted by a sea of masked faces, feels anything but normal, doesn’t it?

But this is 2020 and if we’re going to truly get on top of this global COVID-19 pandemic, then we’re going to just have to accept that it is and move forward together.

This however, doesn’t mean we have to stop doing what we love and with running being such a massive part of my life, I’ve had to adapt to this new mask wearing normal when I hit the road.

By following some simple mask wearing advice, we can all stay safe, active and most importantly continue to get those running miles into our legs.

Let’s get straight into my tips below.

Wear a Mask to Keep Others Safe

It has to first be highlighted that wearing a mask is primarily to keep others safe from your own respiratory droplets and not to keep you safe from them.

But with so many different types and styles of face masks available, let’s first take a look at what the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends.

Face masks should do the following:

  • Fit snug against the nose and cheeks.
  • Feature multiple layers of fabric.
  • Allow the mask wearer to breathe.

As you can see, the advice is fairly straightforward and achievable for any runner and to put it into layman’s terms, wearing any sort of face covering is better than nothing.

We’re all part of the massively diverse running community, so don’t be the selfish runner that puts someone else at risk unnecessarily.

Find the Right Style of Mask That Works for You

Ultimately, the best choice of face mask is one that you’re actually comfortable wearing while on your run.

We’re all going to have to find which style of mask works individually for us and ultimately that comes down to personal preference through trial and error.

I’ve personally settled on a simple set of reusable, ear loop face masks made of three layers of polyester microfiber.

I primarily live and run in a warmer climate which makes having a lightweight mask my top priority.  

But the flexibility of my neck gaiter on cold mornings works perfectly as an alternative warm mask too. 

Change Your Routine

Something I’ve really enjoyed, is being forced to mix up my running routine.

No longer do I focus my runs on the same crowded trails, but I now head off the beaten track and run alone a lot more.

With CDC guidelines recommending that we maintain at least 6 feet of distance between ourselves and others while still wearing masks, being the only one on the trail allows me to run mask free.

If I see another runner up ahead, the trails I’m running offer wide open spaces to avoid contact anywhere near 6 feet.

Keep socially distanced from other runners or walkers in your path and once again remember to always consider the health of others rather than just your own.

“Maskne” is now a Thing

Put the words mask and acne together and I’m sure you get the gist of what I mean by “maskne.”

Breakouts usually occur when bacteria is transferred from your hands to your face, so avoid touching your mask unless you absolutely have to.

Further to this point, never reuse a dirty, sweaty mask two days in a row.

You have multiple pairs of socks to get you through a regular week and in 2020 you’re going to need multiple masks as well.

Ultimately, I’m just trying to have a bit of fun with my masks.  Wearing a variety of different patterns and styles that express who I am.

This is the new normal and we may as well embrace it.