Can I just say that I cannot believe I am writing about this, the thought of wearing a mask is somewhat claustrophobic, and a few months ago the thought of running with one on would have been unimaginable. That being said, a lot of folk have been asking me about running with masks and what are good choices of masks. As a running family, we have loads of opinions about running with masks… from “that’s impossible” to “let’s find a mask that works.”
Firstly you have to wear them when you are out, it is the law. And it turns out there are masks and then there are masks. For everyday, and dashing to the store, elasticated and soft pretty fabric is fine. For running we have found not so much.
A lot of folk suggest the buff for running, I didn’t like it because it is just too much clutter around my neck and face, also we run in the heat and it is really unpleasant. So, buffs are awkward. I am guessing on a cold wintry morning it would be fine… but not for typical Cape Town weather.
Elastic around your ears is great for dashing around town, but when you are running on the mountain for more than an hour or two… that elastic can become ridiculously annoying, so if you are going to be out longer then masks that you tie are better.
Otherwise, the soft lycra style fabrics are great and lightweight and fit your face comfortably, but when you are running hard they are not very breathable and I feel completely claustrophobic, like “rip them off my face”, in them. That comfortable, “great fit” is fabulous and lightweight for walking, but as soon as you try to breathe deeply it can be overwhelming. Just trying to inhale feels like a panic attack.
I have found the stiffer pleated fabric masks more comfortable for running with the pleats you can create a little pocket of air around your nose and mouth, so even when you are breathing hard, there is always room for air to move in and out while you are running.
In general we have found that: Stiffer pleated fabric masks are better for running because one can create an air pocket, and no elastic is also good for running in. For walks, well fitted softer fabric is fine and for quick walks or a trip to the store, well fitted fabric with elastic ties are great too.
I have found that when it comes to kids, they will wear anything and endure all sorts of discomfort if they think their mask is cool. So get your kids the masks they like with good covering and they will be fine. Adults are pickier it’s a thing. And my top tip for families… make sure each person has their own unique mask… so when they grab a mask and dash they can be sure that they grab their own one.
Good luck out there folks… running in a mask is not for the fainthearted… but it can be done. It does require a bit of research to find the kind of mask that works for you.
This is definitely not a sponsored post, these masks are all paid for, tried and tested by us, and the opinions are entirely our own.