Winter can be a tough time to log miles for many of us living in the Midwest. Winter is typically a time to scale back and relatively recover from a long spring/summer season of consistent training and racing. As the winter comes to a close, and spring approaches, many runners begin to envision getting outdoors more frequently and taking advantage of the improving weather. With that in mind, we're have put together a short list of things to consider when returning to spring training, to set you up for success.
- Look back over the past 2-3 months and make an honest assessment of your training and current fitness level.
- This is critical to establish a starting point for your transition into spring training in order to set you up for success throughout the upcoming months.
- Based on your reflection, make a plan for a gradual and steady progression of your mileage and intensity.
- This may include a walk/jog interval routine or may involve a progression back to running on pavement, especially if you have been logging indoor miles on a treadmill or track.
- A simple way to progress mileage safely is to adopt a rule of 10% increase in mileage per week. This isn’t set in stone for everyone but is a safe baseline for most, especially less experienced runners.
- Set goals for the spring/summer/fall. These may be training goals and race goals. Having your races on a calendar with stratification, based on importance, will help you set a more realistic and effective training plan to maximize your performance.
- Begin to set in motion the plans you have made. Understand that some modifications will likely need to be made based on several variables in your life (sleep quality, work/school load, physical health and mental stress).
- Understand that pushing yourself too quickly may result in injury. This is especially true as you return to more consistent training at higher volumes and intensities.
- Listen to your body as you begin to increase your mileage and/or intensity. Take care of any little nagging pain/discomfort early on so that it does not turn into something more serious that requires missed training time.
Spring is always exciting for runners. It means that you can get outdoors and feel the warmth on your skin and the wind in your face. Being prepared for this transition can go a long way in making your summer/fall training and racing much more enjoyable and successful. If you are currently experiencing any aches and pains related to running, or something unrelated that may prevent you from beginning to run, we offer free 15-minute injury screens to help you figure out if physical therapy may be of benefit for you.