The struggles of working out during quarantine ... 

Okay, guys, it's real, it's happening, and probably most of us have known this for quite some time. COVID-19 has uprooted a lot about our lives: our social lives (obviously), our work lives (stressfully), our home lives (manically), and our exercise lives. A few weeks ago, I discussed the possibility of a Boston Marathon postponement. At the time, race officials and town officials alike were staunchly against it. However, the famous race announced an official postponement last week, moving the date from April to September. The marathon attracts more than 30,000 runners, never mind spectators, so the postponement was big and devastating news.

Last week, I discussed in-home workouts. At the time, gyms in Maryland (where I live) hadn't been ordered to close. Now they are. For now, we're still allowed outside. I encourage you to get out there. The sunlight—when it's not raining like it is at this moment—is helpful for mood-boosting, as well as the endorphins from a mere walk. But you may want to walk or run alone or keep a six-foot-radius with your exercise buddy.

walking

Practice social distancing even when outside: exercise alone and in large open spaces. Courtesy of pexels.com.

So what do we talk about when running and other athletic events are canceled? When our opportunities to exercise are dwindling? And, I'm going to be honest, I'm not really sure! Most of us are not lucky enough to have in-home gyms, and there are only so many sets of stairs we can run before we go absolutely insane.

I went over some indoor workout tips last week, and I still stand by them. Designing a tabata workout or tapping into YouTube's workout routines are great ideas. You may also want to look into virtual races. I've also covered virtual races in the past, but I'm going to delve specifically into Moon Joggers.

A Virtual Running Community

Honestly, I've never been a virtual community kind of person. I know so many people that are. In fact, videogamers are very comfortable with connecting with people all over the world via the internet. There are countless of people that start romantic relationships online and don't have the opportunity to meet for a long time. Living and interacting in a virtual setting has been very much alive long before COVID-19 forced us into it, so here we are needing to get on board and try something new.

Moon Joggers is a virtual running community. It's an organization that connects exercise aficionados and newbies all over the world. There are hundreds of race events at any given time. You can sign up for one or several, record your mileage and your time, and medals and shirts will be mailed to you. The goal is for the group to run a collective mileage that equals the distance to the moon. Two sisters started the group with the goal to run 1,000 miles each in 2013, and everything spiraled from there.

How It Works and How It Connects

Once you've signed up, you can choose from a variety of races. Each race benefits a different charity. Choose your distance, run your race, and submit your results. Moon Joggers posts your results in a leaderboard format so you can see who else ran your race and how you stack up. This year already has so many results the scrolling seems endless. They also strongly encourage you to post pictures of your race or with your medal on their Facebook page or with their hashtags (#moonjoggers #virtualruneventsforcharity). Their Facebook group currently has 11,441 members. That's an extensive running community! The Facebook group is active with members' posts getting upwards of 50 "likes" and comments.

Moon Joggers swag comes to you in the mail. Courtesy of facebook.com.

running route

An example of a Moon Jogger's post. Courtesy of facebook.com.

While a lot of us are struggling to adjust to this kind of lifestyle, CDC is warning us that we may need to get comfortable with it longterm. It's nice to know that there are well-established communities out there ready for us. We just have to be willing to embrace them.

What virtual communities do you enjoy? Do you have any online fitness groups you frequent? Share with us in the comments.

The Run-Around is a weekly feature, focusing on fitness. Caitlin Bean is based in Annapolis, Maryland.