It’s wild to think snow was still lining the ground not too long ago. But, like clockwork, once spring arrives, memories of the cold vanish from your mind completely. The gloves are happily stored away. You feel that incredible rush of finally shedding all those layers and not having to wear anything more than shorts and a T-shirt. During that first run with just one layer instead of three or four, you feel as though something is missing — almost as if you’re getting away with a crime. Your body feels free once again, loose, nimble and ready to dive back in full steam ahead.
Beyond training runs, I cherish the familiar limitless feeling that comes after the first spring race. I ran a 10-mile race in April, and I felt my legs waking up from their long winter slumber. My mind immediately began churning, anxious to begin training and racing again.
This excitement is energizing, but we runners have to make sure we don’t overdo it our first few times out. Here are four tips to gradually work your way into the faster, more frequent running that comes with the more favorable weather:
1. SEEK OUT A SHORT-DISTANCE LOCAL RACE SERIES
With a little research, more likely than not, you’ll find a race series taking place nearby. Doing a series is good because you can track your progress from the first race and compare it with the subsequent races. I found a 5K trail series this May with a race every Tuesday evening taking place on the same course. This became a great way to gauge how I ran the first evening and track it against the last — plus, it was an attainable distance to begin to push my pace again.
No luck with a local race series? No problem, these months are a hot time for races, especially 5Ks. Sign up for one every weekend in June, and track your progress that way.
2. UNDERSTAND THAT WARM WEATHER REQUIRES ADJUSTMENT
Don’t be discouraged after a very uncomfortable run where the air felt too heavy to breathe. Warm-weather running has its challenges just as cold-weather running does. It’s true, as runners, we’re constantly adjusting to ever-changing temperatures, but all it takes is a little patience and repetition.
READ MORE > WINTER MESSED WITH MY RUNS, BUT THAT’S OK
3. DON’T FORGET THE BUG SPRAY
Ticks are not just some urban myth you might never encounter, they are out there, and they’re more prevalent than ever. Always check yourself after a run, especially if you’ve been on trail. Black flies are another spring nuisance, which you’ve likely already been hard at work swatting away. These critters will surely put a damper on your run, so be sure to take the extra precautions to make sure they don’t.
4. HYDRATE, HYDRATE, HYDRATE!
Don’t wait until right before the run to focus on your water intake. Make sure hydration is happening frequently, wherever you are. Dissolve an electrolyte-enhanced drink tab into your water before your run to further hydrate and nourish your body before activity.
By starting small and dreaming big, you can give your muscles the chance to adapt and prepare for the more intensive training that comes with the spring and summer months.
GEAR UP FOR YOUR NEXT RUN