Confession time: I’ve occasionally gone out twice a day in coronavirus lockdown.

In the early morning I’ve been running on the quiet trails close to the house, getting out in the open and clearing my mind.

In the evening I’ve strolled with my partner Jo and our newborn son Oliver, heading out on those very same trails and enjoying it being the three of us out there alone, staying well away from the very occasional fellow walkers we pass.

Nonetheless, a few of you might be fuming at this and prepared to call the police on this Al Capone of the outdoors that flouts the rules.

On Radio 5 Live last week chief constable of Northamptonshire Police Nick Adderley told presenter Emma Barnett that they had received a request for the arrest of a neighbour who was going out for his second run of the day.

“People need to exercise common sense,” he said. “If they expect there’s going to be a car with blue lights and sirens racing towards somebody that is potentially going out on their own for their second run of the day, not coming in contact with anyone, that’s not going to happen.”

I don’t have disregard for coronavirus or an ‘I’ll be alright’ attitude. I get out in the open with caution and will stop if currently quiet routes become crowded or if the restrictions from up top become more stringent.

I’d hate to choose between the two if I was told to strictly follow the limit of a solitary piece of exercise, but in truth it wouldn’t be much of a choice.

The trainers would stay by the door and the walking boots would get a daily outing; it would be quality time with young Ollie outside as the sun sets.

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But I’d miss my runs. I’d miss the good that it does for my head.

It hasn’t always been this way, when growing up I was only interested in ball sports.

Things changed when my then wife, who ran with Les Croupiers in Cardiff, encouraged (forced) me to go running.

Then came a very, very slow 5k Nos Galan on a New Year’s Eve, Parkruns, a 10k then half marathon in Cardiff, a first painful marathon in Berlin and another in Leicester while Liz was pregnant.

Then we lost our baby boy Thomas, who spent 72 days in neonatal intensive care. The following year Liz died because of an undetected heart condition.

Running became an escape, sometimes providing precious thinking time and sometimes allowing me to just switch off totally.

Rather than just sitting on the sofa with the cats, Dennis and Jimmy, I’d put on my trainers and run. Whether a 10-minute blast or a Forrest Gump style epic, going down a new route and discovering where it goes, it did me good.

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It still does and though I’m not totally reliant on running – that would be risky, after all you are only a twisted ankle or pinged hamstring away from being unable to exercise – I can’t imagine not getting out in some way.

The short dash around the block after work. Long, painful runs. Long, enjoyable runs. Trail. Hills. Mountains. Fartlek.

The aborted run when not in the mood. The reluctant run that turns into a cracker.

With music. With podcast. In silence. Too fast because of the Chemical Brothers.

The run without a watch. The run obsessed by pace and mileage on the screen.

The run in the scorching sun when grateful for any shade.

The run in a downpour when so drenched that it doesn’t matter if a passing car empties a puddle over you.

Whatever the run, it has to be outside and not on a treadmill, providing an escape before or after a day looking at a screen.

I was grateful for becoming a runner when grieving a few years ago and once again it has helped during these uncertain times.

It’s soothing and can combat any anxiety about family safety or job security.

It’s precious time alone given that my job entails always being in contact with people, monitoring social media and rarely getting the chance to totally clock off because breaking news is expected to be put online swiftly.

Yet running can help with work – it’s where ideas can be developed and much of this very column was mentally written on a hill climb.

I should have been tapering for the Newport Marathon at the moment but that event must wait until later this year.

Routines have been ripped up because of coronavirus but I’m thankful for the ability to safely get out in the open.

The steep trails a few hundred yards from the house were quiet before this pandemic and that’s how they remain.

Runs through the forest provide some much-needed normality in these strange times.