If you listen and watch carefully, the signs of spring may already be here. The snowmobile you heard idling next door with a broken muffler?
Take a look; it’s not a snowmobile; It’s your neighbor’s lawn mower, which he finally got going.
The resident ducks on ponds and lakes appear to be pairing up while the ice melts around them.
Need more? Today under blue skies and chilly temperatures, I observed several young men jogging in shorts and tee-shirts. It’s a rite of spring – if it’s not raining and not freezing in mid-February, some dudes will leave their jackets at home.
Yes, it’s still officially more than a month away but out here on the wet coast the cherry blossoms have arrived, which seals the deal. It’s time to get outside on a daily basis and soak it all in.
Spring beckons the outdoor enthusiasts to work on improving performance and speed for whatever your sport may be.
Spring is the onset of the running season, especially major events in April, such as The Vancouver Sun Run, which is Canada’s largest 10km road race, and the Boston Marathon, which is the oldest annually competed race on earth.
Warmer temperatures are your reminder to get going and be prepared.
Is it hard getting back into running after lying dormant all winter? No, it’s brutally hard. What was easy and taken for granted before winter is now front and center in your mind.
Do not despair, you will get it all back thanks to muscle memory, though you will need to build back to previous workloads, plus need renewed commitment to healthy nutrition and proper sleep.
If you have been running on the treadmill, start slowly on the road because running outdoors is harder and it will take awhile to get back to speed. Former B.C.
Lions receiver and long time chiropractor, Dr. Sean Graham, with Satori Integrative Health has said, “I would recommend that they take a gradual approach to returning to running outside. Reduce the mileage by 25 per cent that you were treadmill running when you return to running outside.”
In an email interview, Dr. Jack Taunton, renowned sports medicine doctor who was chief medical officer of the 2010 Olympics, shares some of his expertise on running in the spring.
He suggests, “If you are new to running, start with a fast 30 minute walk, then when comfortable after stretching, walk fast for five minutes and slow for 25 minutes, then 10 minutes fast walk and slower for 20 minutes and gradually increase the fast walk to 30 minutes.
Once 30 minutes fast is comfortable, slowly add 10 minutes to 40 and then to 50 and an hour.
This will improve your cardiovascular fitness, and later you could be ready for one of the local five or 10 km fun runs;
Always stretch before and after. Another popular progression (up to) 30 minutes is run one minute, walk four minutes for six times, then run two minutes and walk three minutes, and gradually increase to 30 minute run and then progress to an hour run.”
For those experienced runners,
Dr. Taunton recommends, “Start tempo and interval running now and (add) hill runs in preparation for summer.
On warm days add longer, faster runs for your summer road races and heat adaptation and fluid and electrolyte replacement practice for marathons.”
Here are my tips to get you spring ready:
Choose a realistic fitness goal and follow a proper program. Short term train for 5km and work towards a 10km distance.
Focus on distance rather than time. This will not only build confidence to go the distance, but help you stay injury free.
For speedwork, choose HIIT (high intensity interval training) which can be done on the road or trails.
This feels less intimidating than track work. Choose a session that is right for the distance you are training for.
Include cross training to strengthen your core and improve overall performance.
Dress for the conditions, wear moisture wicking clothing to help you stay dry and warm. This will also help you enjoy your workouts; Invest in proper shoes.
Proper hydration is essential; Drink enough water and bring it with you or find a route that has access to water.
About Steve Erickson