We get it—no one wants to run in a mask. It can feel unnatural and uncomfortable. Especially when you're already working hard to move oxygen into the lungs.
Depending upon the material and quality, running in a mask can feel more inhibiting than it's worth. (Think: breathing difficulties and facial discomfort.) But we're here to say that if you're going to run in public places, it's time to suck it up and join the cause to stop the spread of Coronavirus. Masks are evidently here to stay—at least for a while. While they're recommended, but not mandatory in most states, seven states took the guidance further at the end of April, requiring individuals to wear masks on public transport or into open essential businesses.
Members of the general public—which includes runners—are encouraged to wear a cloth barrier of sorts to help contain coughs and sneezes, and prevent transmission of infectious fluids between people. Most big cities, like Philadelphia, are saying that you don't need to wear a mask if you're exercising outside alone, or with a member of your household, as long as you stay six feet away from others. However, cities are busy, and chances of actually maintaining your distance are slim (especially at stop lights and in populated city parks).
When it comes to public health, we Spartans operate on the philosophy 'better safe than sorry'. And it's up to us to do our part, so we've got your back. With soft, durable, breathable moisture-wicking fabrics, our face protection is designed for maximum comfort. Your training routine doesn't have to suffer just because you only have access to city streets and public running spaces. You just need to adjust your expectations, and your gear.
How to Build Oxygen Efficiency and Use Max Out Your Masked Runs
In fact, surprisingly, you may be able to use running in a mask to your advantage. "Listen, I’m no more of an expert than the next guy or gal when it comes to the prevention of COVID-19, but during these times, we should look to take every precaution we can," says Sam Stauffer, Spartan Race Director of Fitness. "The reality is, most runners—in fact, most people in general—have less than ideal breathing. It will certainly take some time to get used to, but there are a few pros when it comes to restricted breathing." First and foremost, you become hyper aware of your breathing when you wear a mask, he says. Building this awareness can better your breathing, overall. "You should take this time to focus on each breath. Focus on breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth." By practicing this simple technique, you'll apply more mindful breathing to your runs and actually build up your lung capacity.
So instead of griping about the fact that you have to wear a mask, use it to increase the intensity of your workout and train oxygen efficiency—even if you find it uncomfortable at first. Like anything newly introduced to your training regimen, wearing a mask or neck tube takes some getting used to. But you can have a more comfortable run with softer fabrics, and rest easy knowing you're not spreading COVID-19 around town.
Plus, we're donating at least $5 per face-protection purchase directly to the American Red Cross, at a minimum of $20,000 between now and June 30. So you can feel good about each purchase. Need a bulk order to equip your team? Go for it. Here's what we have for face protection, so you can still responsibly run outside and not let COVID hold you back.
Best Face Masks for Running During a Pandemic
1. FOR THE CITY RUNNER: Spartan Face Mask
This 100% cotton jersey lining is super soft on your face (no sore patches, here!) and the polyester exterior layer offers extra protection. Elastic ear loops fit snugly around your ears so you can run free without it falling off. Wear this if you need for protection as you cruise through highly populated places. It also comes in black, red and dark camo.
2. FOR THE URBAN-TO-TRAIL RUNNER: Spartan by CRAFT Neck Tube
If you're lucky enough to live in a sparsely populated area, the Spartan by CRAFT Neck Tube gets you from front door to trailhead, worry free. Made of soft, functional polyester, this neck tube keeps your neck, face or head warm. It also easily doubles as a hat or headband, so once you hit the trail, you can adjust for greater comfort. It also comes in a variety of colors, camo and with the Spartan logo. AROO.
3. FOR THE HARDCORE RUNNER: Spartan by CRAFT Active Face Protector
If you're taking this COVID-19 stuff seriously, we salute you. This virus is no joke. And if it brings you peace of mind to wear extra coverage on your runs, especially in crowded spaces, we made the perfect headpiece with our performance-wear partner, CRAFT. This Active Face Protector is ultra-lightweight, moisture wicking and shields your face and neck from the elements. Flatlock barely-there seams are extra comfy, and it even doubles as added warmth and protection on cool-weather runs.
Disclaimer: Please note that these products have not been tested or proven to provide medical protection from any airborne or contact transferable illnesses.