It was ugly, dirty and it hurt but oh my, it was glorious.
It was my first run of the Spring season.
I used to run all winter, pre-kids, pre-business, pre-paranoia of slipping on icy sidewalks. Now I elect to do something inside, and let’s face it, warmer and safer, in the winter. That means come spring, I am starting fresh and it isn’t pretty.
Despite the fact that I have remained active all winter, running is its own beast. It requires different muscles, difference stamina and often a different energy system. All of these require retraining when you have been off for any period of time.
It is important that when you start back to an activity, regardless of whether it is new to you or you are a seasoned veteran, you take things slow and progressively. If the sun and spring air has been tempting you to lace up, consider these tips to make your first run of the season safe and successful:
Go slow – Your first run of the season it not the ideal time to set a new personal best. Slow and steady is the name of the game.
Don’t get fancy – You will often hear runners talk about hill and speed runs as part of their training but for the first run back I suggest you keep it simple. Choose a flat and easy route.
Pace yourself – It is easy to get excited and go charging out of the gate. Your cardiovascular system is likely not ready for race pace. Pick a pace that is comfortable and allows you to talk to a running partner while you run.
Don’t start where you left off – If you were running 10k at the end of your season, don’t assume that is your starting point. Choose an easy distance and work up slowly from there in increments of 10% per week.
Make sure your footwear is up for the task – Running shoes have a life of about 500km or 6 months. If yours fall outside of these parameters, you may want to start off your season by treating yourself to a new pair.
Hydrate – The weather may not have you sweating like the hot summer sun but it is still important to hydrate well to fuel your body and to help your muscles recover.
Finish off with a stretch – Your muscles will likely need some post run love. Make sure you finish off with a good stretch focused on your whole body and holding each stretch for 30 seconds to a minute.
Now get out there and enjoy that gorgeous weather! Happy running.