Spring is officially here. And whether you’re a seasoned runner or a couch-to-5ker there’s a handful of things you need to keep in mind before you hit the ground running.
Take ‘er easy.
If you cut back on your runs or flat out took the winter off you need to be careful about increasing your mileage too quickly. Doing too much too fast increases your chances of an injury. The general rule about increasing mileage is that you should increase by no more than 10-percent each week. So if you ran 10 miles your first week back, you should run no more than 11 miles the following week. While this may be ridiculously hard for you to do, especially if you’re used to running high mileage, it’s recommended to ensure you stay injury-free.
Set a goal.
Setting goals is a great way to stay focused and motivated, and it’s pretty awesome when you accomplish a goal. Just don’t make your goal a cake walk. It should be tough, but attainable. If you’re new to running you could make your goal to finish an #Anywhere5K, or run for 30 minutes without stopping. If you’re an old timer, perhaps you just want to run faster or longer or more often. Whatever your goal, set a realistic timeline to meet it and reward yourself when you do.
Keep a training log.
As you build or rebuild your base it’s helpful to keep a training log—be it on paper, online, or on your computer. With a training log you’ll be able to see your progress at a glance, which will help boost your motivation and keep you on track to meet your goals. Training logs are also great for setting and maintaining a training schedule to ensure you don’t do too much too soon. And, they’re an excellent way to make certain you “change your tires” every 300-500 miles.
Spring weather can be very unpredictable, so be prepared for any kind of weather. You should have gear for cold mornings, such as pants, gloves, and a hat, as well as clothes for warm weather, like shorts and a t-shirt. Lightweight wicking, non-cotton materials are best, especially during drizzly or colder days. Just make sure you check the local forecast before you head out the door.
Pay attention to your body.
Injuries, blisters, and overuse happen. They’re part of running. However if you take precautions and listen to your body you’re likely to stay healthy. For example, if you run too much too soon, you’ll start to feel pain in your shins. While stretching will help ease the pain and get you back to running sooner, you need to listen to your body. If it says,”Ow!” You should modify your running plan. Seriously, when your body talks, you need to listen.
Go run your own race!
That’s it. Now get out there, have fun, and go run your own race.