Wearing a Face Mask While Running Outside


Let’s talk about running and walking outside and wearing a face mask during the Coronavirus outbreak. Do you need to wear a face mask while exercising right now? And if so – what kind of face mask is best for runners and walkers? New tips and info to stay healthy and keep running during the pandemic.

Today we’re talking about:

  • when you should wear a face mask to run or walk outside
  • the CDC’s guidelines for a mask
  • the face mask I wear to run
  • where you can buy a face mask for running or walking
  • video of my mask hack and how I plan to change it for better fit


My Face Mask for Running

Here’s what I’m using to run with a face mask. But I do plan on changing it a bit to help it stay in place. Scroll down for links to how to make your own face mask and links to where I bought this.


Do you need to wear a mask while running outside?

The CDC recently updated it’s recommendations to slow the spread of Coronavirus and suggests everyone wear a simple cloth face mask while in a community setting. Basically, any time you go to the grocery store, restaurant or any other essential business location – wear a mask.

These are recommendations from the CDC but there may be stricter guidelines depending on your location. Some states, counties and cities have made face masks mandatory at stores & restaurants and/or given businesses the authority to deny service to people not wearing masks.

If you’re running or walking outside – do you need a mask?

Right now the CDC’s recommendation for a mask is any time you can’t maintain 6 feet of social distance. So even though running or walking outside might not be considered an essential business – -> if you can’t maintain social distance while running or walking it’s best to err on the side of caution and wear one.

If you’re in a public space, you may be required to wear a face mask. Check the rules that apply to your area for more information.

Why Do You Need to Wear a Face Mask?

From the CDC website: Why do you need to wear a face mask?

In light of new data about how COVID-19 spreads, along with evidence of widespread COVID-19 illness in communities across the country, CDC recommends that people wear a cloth face covering to cover their nose and mouth in the community setting. This is to protect people around you if you are infected but do not have symptoms.

You can read all the FAQs about Face Masks on the CDC website here 

running face mask

Face Mask for Runners Options & Tips

So you’ve decided you need to wear a face mask while running or taking a walk. Now let’s talk about – what kind of face mask you should wear to exercise outside.

The CDC recommends a simple cloth face mask that:

  • fits snugly but comfortably against the side of the face
  • secured with ties or ear loops
  • has multiple layers of fabric
  • allows for breathing without restriction
  • can be laundered without being damaged

Face Masks for Runners

  1. DIY Face Mask – check out the diy face mask tutorials on the CDC website here
  2. Buy a face mask – buy reusable or disposable face masks and wear them while exercising outside
  3. Wear a neck gaiter or similar as a face mask – List of face masks & neck gaiters available on Amazon here


Neck Gaiter as Face Mask for Running

If you’re not familiar a neck gaiter is kind of like a small infinity scarf that you can wear a lot of different ways. It can be a head band, hair cover, mouth cover, mouth & nose cover, neck cover, belt (if you’re super skinny), dress (if you’re in Las Vegas) or various other ways.

I did a quick video with a hack for avoiding touching your face while running during these COVID19 times here.

In that video I suggest wearing a neck gaiter and using that if you need to wipe your face. At the time running with a mask on was NOT a rule or something most people were doing. But things have changed and now I’m updating that suggestion (or rather, adding to it).

You can use a neck gaiter as a face mask while running and it’s a good option since some of them are designed to cover your mouth and nose. Originally I got one at a trail race. It was intended to cover your mouth and/or nose on dusty trail runs. But recently I was wearing it as a combination neck cover and moco rag.

Note: A lot of neck gaiters are made of very thin fabric which means they won’t meet the CDC suggestion for your mask to have multiple layers of fabric. So if you want to use a gaiter consider using a long one and fold it over a few times so there are multiple layers.

face mask for running

Face Mask Ideas for Runners


If you have specific questions on running or walking during the COVID19 – check with your local authorities for information on laws and guidelines in place right now. Announcements from experts and authorities are still changing quickly. Please remember that your health and the health of those around you should be the priority.

And yes, we can acknowledge that this is a new challenge on top of the other challenges going on right now. It’s okay to feel all the things.

Running is hard.

Running with a mask is harder.

But not running at all is hardest.

So let’s make the best of it, okay?


Keep Going With These: 

Running and Coronavirus Info & Resources

What to do if your race is cancelled due to Coronavirus

What I Eat in A Day for Runners 


Running Plans, Recipes and Tips to Run Your Best Life are on RunEatRepeat.com

Follow @RunEatRepeat on Instagram for the latest fun and updates!


The information on this site & associated social media is not meant as recommendations or medical advice. Always consult your doctor with any questions. 

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