Running: Masks and Face Coverings

author : Team BT
comments : 2

Triathlon training, running and cycling in Covid-19 conditions with masks and face coverings

Here at BeginnerTriathlete, we have readers and members from all over the world. At the time of publication, different countries, states and provinces have varying rules for citizens regarding face coverings. In some places, people cannot leave their homes without wearing a mask over their face and nose. In other areas, it is optional or recommended.

Without delving into ethics, politics, or health policy, we'd like to provide suggestions on ways to run and bike outdoors while complying with laws, policies and/or recommendations.


In some places, it's possible to train in remote areas and stay away from others to such a degree that face coverings are not an issue. We have also heard from triathletes and runners doing laps in large parking lots to avoid pedestrian traffic and encounters with others.

Empty country roads and lonely trails can also work.

However, not everyone lives in open spaces. For many, crowded cities, or popular suburban multi-use paths, are their primary training ground.

Buffs and Scarves

For some, it's practical to use a thin face covering that you can pull up over your mouth and nose in crowded areas, and drop it back down for easier breathing.

"Buffs" made famous by the Survivor reality show, are thin and versatile and great for this purpose, but a thin scarf can work as well.

If you have a thin face, and your buff won't stay on your nose, hook it over your ears as well for more stability.

Balaclavas and Surgical Masks

Unless you are in a medically supervised training program specializing in air deprivation, we don't recommend trying to run with an N95 mask. It's just too hard to get air in and out. If you are concerned about breathing in germs from others, it would be healthier to put a treadmill in your home and train there.

However wearing a balaclava or a surgical mask could work. These tend to heat up quickly, heat up the air you are breathing, and fog up glasses and sunglasses. 

No matter what solution you try, go for a short run or bike first to try it. Make sure your vision is not impaired, especially cycling, and be courteous of others.


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date: April 30, 2020

Team BT