As winter starts to wrap up and spring begins to blossom, one by one runners who have spent most of the season training indoors, will begin to lace up their sneakers and finally fill their lungs with fresh air.
“It's time to say goodbye to the treadmill, fluorescent lights, and the smell of the gym,” says elite marathoner and registered dietitian Kaye Anne Starosciak. “Instead, say hello to the aromas of the earth budding, soak up some vitamin D, and get your stride back on the road.”
These words are music to the ears of any athlete who’s been cooped up inside through the long, harsh winter.
Yet, as excited as you may be to finally take your running workouts back into the great outdoors again, the transition may not exactly be seamless.
While you’re anticipating the arrival of spring, check out these tips that will help you safely and effectively get your outdoor running workouts back on track.
Join a local running club.
Signing up to run with a group of local runners is an easy first step that can instantly help to re-ignite your enthusiasm for running. For example, REI’s Outdoor School offers several different clubs and classes for runners of all different abilities and at local levels, including general running clubs, trail running classes, race-specific training series, and even classes focused specifically on helping runners get “back on track.”
Run new routes and hit the trails when you can.
“Try a new trail or park—see what has changed during your indoor hibernation,” says Starosciak. Seeking new scenery can help to re-inspire your love for running, plus if you can find a soft dirt trail to run on, it could also benefit your body. “Any marathoner can tell you that the recovery time from running on pavement versus running on trails is significantly longer,” says Isabel Rivera, a ultra-runner and author of The Running Teacher. “Pavement has more resistance. Start by enjoying the views at some of your local trails to ease into running outdoors again.”