The cold winter weather will be headed out soon. With warm spring days on the way, you can look forward to swapping the treadmill for sweet, fresh air.
Running outside will surely be a pleasant change. However, with all the good that comes from it, getting back into your outdoor running routine can hurt you if done incorrectly. To get back on the pavement safely and successfully, follow these tips:
Choose the Right Shoes
Purchasing proper footwear is the first step in revamping your running game. Without the right shoes, you’ll doom yourself from the start. Many running experts recommend shoes that are lighter and are made with less material. These shoes allow runners to lift and extend their legs without being weighed down.
However, locating the perfect sneakers requires consideration of factors like form, weight and level of experience. Additionally, if you have a go-to brand that has worked for you in the past, one that hasn’t left you hurt or injured, there’s no harm in returning to it.
Take It in Stride
Heading out for a 10-mile run on your first day back? Not such a great idea. Getting back into your running routine will take time and patience. While you may feel capable of hitting the road hard from the start, doing so can result in pain and injury.
In fact, gradually adding to your mileage should be done throughout your entire running career – not just when you’re starting out. For example, you shouldn’t jump from 30 miles per week to 60 miles per week in just a month’s time. You should always add distance in small increments in order to build your muscles accordingly.
Mix up Your Workouts
Incorporate strength training in your routine. Strengthening your muscles will do you a world of good. You’ll become stronger, and you won’t be as vulnerable to injury.
In addition to strengthening your body, alternating exercises will give your running muscles some rest because, as you know, running can be hard on your joints. Do some weightlifting, some swimming, some biking. These other forms of exercise should become just as regular in your routine as the running; they’ll strengthen muscles and make you a better, stronger athlete.
Take Breaks From the Road
Pavement can be very hard on your legs. Your knees, shins and feet can suffer from the road’s lack of give. You don’t need to swear off roads completely, but you should try to incorporate softer surfaces whenever possible. Tracks and trails, for example, are safe and gentle alternatives to cement.
Stretching is just as important as exercise. Do it often. In the morning, during your lunch break, before you go to bed – do it all the time. It’s especially important to stretch after your runs. It’s also a cool-down tool that allows your muscles to ease into a resting state, rather than going from high energy to stopping immediately – a change that can make you more vulnerable to tears and pulls. Stretching also loosens the body, making it more pliable. Boosting your flexibility will make running more comfortable while also lessening risk of injury.
Set a Schedule
Create a running schedule for yourself. Make sure your distances are gradually increasing and not jumping upward dramatically. Make sure you’re incorporating other exercises. Add rest days to make sure your body has time to adequately recharge between workouts. Document your plan and adhere to it – but always listen to your body over whatever the calendar says. Having your goal on paper will make it easier to follow and keep track of progress.
Take your time and listen to your body; you’ll be up and running before you know it.