Spring is finally in the air! The weather is getting warmer, the days are getting longer, and the last remnants of winter are nearly gone. That means it’s time to head back outside and ramp up your running routine once again. If you’re one of those runners who took the winter off, getting started again can sometimes be a real struggle. But if you’re ready to jump back into your workout regimen, here are a few tips to help ease the transition while avoiding injury too.
If you’re a long-time runner who took time off for the winter, you’ll probably want to start right where you left off last fall. Unfortunately, that isn’t realistic. It’ll take some time to get your legs and lungs accustomed to working out again, so be patient and don’t push yourself too quickly. Over the course of a couple of weeks you’ll start to return to form, and before long you’ll be back where you were before your hiatus. But if you push too hard and too quickly, you could end up with an injury, which would only set you back further.
This same advice holds true even if you’ve been running on a treadmill indoors during the winter. A treadmill doesn’t offer the same challenge as an outdoor workout, so you should still expect to ramp up slowly. The good news is that you’re likely to return to form much more quickly than if you hadn’t worked out at all over the past few months.
Check Your Shoes…
Before returning to your running routine be sure to check your shoes to see if they’re up to the task. There is a good chance it may be time to replace them, so a trip to the shoe store could be in order. Remember, your running shoes should be replaced every 300-500 miles. Doing so will not only help to prevent injuries but will also allow your legs to stay fresh on longer runs.
…And Your Rain Gear Too!
While we all love the warmer weather that comes with spring, the season tends to usher in quite a few rain showers as well. That means your shoes aren’t the only piece of gear that will need to be up to the challenge of spring running. A good rain jacket is also a must. After all, you’re not going to let a little thing like wet weather keep you from heading outside for a run, right?
Set a Schedule
One of the biggest challenges to resuming your running workouts will be getting back into a regular routine. But the only way to improve, get stronger, and attain your fitness goals is to run on a regular schedule. That means you need to make exercise a priority: Pencil it in on your calendar and stick to that schedule as closely as you can. The repetition will help build muscle and improve cardio performance too. And when that starts to happen, you’ll be reminded of why you fell in love with running in the first place.
Mix It Up!
Although returning to your previous running form may be your goal, don’t forget to change up your workout routine regularly. Cycling, swimming, and lifting weights are all good alternatives to running every day, and each will help increase your overall level of fitness. They’ll also build muscles while giving your body a break from the high-impact workout that running provides.
Don’t Forget to Have Some Fun
Running shouldn’t just be about getting fit and burning calories. It should be fun too. It’s easy to lose sight of that fact when you’re working hard to get back in shape, but don’t forget to take some time to enjoy the warm spring weather and just how good it feels to be back outside. It’s also a great time to join a running group, which will usually have training groups for others just like you who are working to get back into shape. The camaraderie and support that comes from such a group can be a lot of fun and lead to some good friendships as well.
Winter is over, my friends. You can no longer use bad weather as an excuse to stay inside and avoid running. It’s time to get back to work and start getting healthy once again.