Evaluation of COVID-19 Restrictions on Distance Runners' Training Habits Using Wearable Trackers

Zoe Y.S. Chan, Rhys Peeters, Gladys Cheing, Reed Ferber, Roy T.H. Cheung (Corresponding Author)

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


The COVID-19 pandemic caused widespread disruption to many individuals' lifestyles. Social distancing restrictions implemented during this global pandemic may bring potential impact on physical activity habits of the general population. However, running is one of the most popular forms of physical activity worldwide and one in which it could be maintained even during most COVID-19 restrictions. We aimed to determine the impact of COVID-19 restrictions on runners' training habits through analyzing the training records obtained from their GPS enabled wearable trackers. Retrospective and prospective data were collected from an online database (https://wetrac.ucalgary.ca). Runners' training habits, including frequency, intensity and duration of training, weekly mileage and running locations were analyzed and compared 9 months before and after the start of COVID-19 restrictions in March 2020. We found that runners ran 3 km per week more (p = 0.05, Cohen's d = 0.12) after the start of COVID-19 restrictions, and added 0.3 training sessions per week (p = 0.03, Cohen's d = 0.14). Moreover, runners ran an additional 0.4 sessions outdoors (p < 0.01, Cohen's d = 0.21) but there was no significant change in the intensity or duration of training sessions. Our findings suggested that runners adopted slightly different training regimen as a result of COVID-19 restrictions. Our results described the collective changes, irrespective of differences in response measures adopted by various countries or cities during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Original languageEnglish
Article number812214
JournalFrontiers in Sports and Active Living
Publication statusPublished - 12 Jan 2022


  • activity monitoring
  • coronavirus
  • training frequency
  • training intensity
  • wearables

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Anthropology
  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management


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