Spring is in full swing and for me that means moving my morning runs from inside on the treadmill to outside onto trails and pavement. If there ever was a poster sport for social distancing, it would be running: Avid runners typically run alone, a simple hand wave is the universal greeting among the running sisterhood and ten feet would seem the minimum distance you’d need if you wanted to pace along with a friend. These days, I’m noticing more people than ever on my favorite routes. I guess running is a safe escape from home-bound quarantine.
Whether you’re a seasoned sprinter, or just getting into the sport, I’ve learned that starting your Spring running season should be done with some mindfulness. Like getting those winter tires off of your Cooper Mini, prepping yourself for a regimen of outdoor runs is an important starting point to the season. Here are some tips to get you going:
Freshen Up Your Footwear
I always treat myself to a new pair of Asics when I start my Spring running. Common shoe wisdom suggests we replace our runners every 300-500 miles, and I figure that’s about what I put myself through in a winter season on the treadmill. There’s also the benefit of a little extra spring and cushion, and a chance for me to pick a design to match my new Lululemon shorts.
The difference between temperatures at sunrise (or sunset) versus mid-day can be extreme. In New York, Toronto or Los Angeles, running on a Spring afternoon can range from unbearable to downright dangerous. One of the adjustments I make to my routine when I move from climate-controlled gyms to neighborhood trails is getting out for a run around sunrise. I might have to set my alarm a little earlier and pass on the Chardonnay the evening before, but the comfort of a cool morning run is well worth it.
The need for constant improvement can become an obsession for runners. Maintaining or beating a personal best is often core to a runner’s psyche. We need to remember that running outside is very different than treadmill running. You have to deal with terrain and most importantly, the sidewalk doesn’t move under you as treadmills do. So, don’t hold yourself to your indoor standard, as hard as that might be, at least not at the start. You’ll eventually get your outdoor pace to match your indoor one.
Where I live in the northeast, we have about six full months of outdoor running bliss in front of us, and rain or shine, I’ll be out there making every stride count.