Running now as important for mental health as it is for physical

Todd Wiley
      The search for a bit of normalcy in our lives might begin with that first step out the door for a daily run.
      Just ask world-class triathlete Todd Wiley, who, like countless runners in the Bucks County area, continues to hit the road or trail each day, albeit without the pressure of training to compete.
      It’s a time for introspection, take stock of priorities in our lives and, for those fortunate to have continued good health, count our blessings.
      “Running really hasn’t changed that much for me in terms of how I go about it on a daily basis,’’ says Wiley, a Pipersville resident. “What has changed is my mindset.
      “(Now it’s) long easy runs, enjoying the time outside, getting fresh air, appreciating the fact that I am able and healthy enough to do something I love.’’
      Being home for most of the day affords one other luxury in the Wiley household.
      “The great thing is my kids are home (from school), so I get to run with them each day,’’ Wiley says. “That really helps keep the motivation going.’’
      Other runners express similar sentiments, stating that running helps relieve stress, the boredom of remaining indoors and even gives one a chance to interact with fellow runners, providing proper social distancing is practiced.
      “Running is how I deal with stress,’’ says Pat Duncan, a training partner of mine. “So I’ve been running every day, sometimes twice. The only good thing this terrible situation has been good for is my running.’’
      Long-time Bucks County Triathlon Club member Jim Stein of Yardley agrees that a run can give one a sense of regular routine.
      “At least there’s one part of life that can be close to normal,’’ Stein says. “Getting out on a sunny spring day give you something to look forward to, plus the feeling of accomplishment when finishing the run.’’
      Dan Schaal, one of the area’s premier marathon runners, has found this period to be a time of rejuvenation.
      “This situation has given me an opportunity to renew my love of running,’’ says Schaal, who resides in Yardley. “Since getting injured last year, I lost my motivation.
      “But with all this extra time and mostly great weather I’ve been able to discover the reasons I ran in the first place. The bonus is I’ve been able to run with my 20-year-old daughter, Megan, who is home from Temple. We used to run together a lot when she was in high school, so we’ve been able to reconnect.’’
      The Bucks County Roadrunners Club has put a hold on all organized group runs (and bike rides), etc., due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
      However, many club members are gathering for informal-type group runs. It’s a given that everyone is following the “six-foot’’ rule.
      “All our runs with other runners are in small groups,’’ explains BCRR official Bill Schaffling. “I think maintaining the running and biking routine helps keep us healthy, mentally and physically.
      “Some of us have jobs that we still have to go to but most of us are stuck at home working or, in my case, being retired – so getting out to run or bike is a great escape for a few hours.’’
      Another BCRR regular, Tom Fuoco, has been hampered by a foot injury but hopes to be back running soon.
      “I’ve been staying in good cardio condition by riding my bike,’’ says Fuoco.
      “I hope things get back to normal soon so we can run together. I remember the late Dr. James Corea used to say on his (WWDB) radio show: ‘Tough times don’t last, but tough people do.’+’’
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About Wayne Fish 2471 Articles
Wayne Fish has been covering the Flyers since 1976, a stint which includes 18 Stanley Cup Finals, four Winter Olympics and numerous other international events.

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