With the days slowly getting longer and the warmer weather just around the corner, now is the time to come out of outdoor running hibernation. But dusting off the cobwebs and finding the motivation to get outside on these dull dark days can be tricky. Here are five ways to find the inspiration you need to lace up your shoes this spring.
By Pamela Mazzuca HBSc. Kin, Athletic Therapist
Start Off Slow
It’s been a long winter and you have lost some of your conditioning so don’t expect to start off where you left off. Don’t push too hard at first otherwise you will suffer excessive muscle soreness, increase your risk of injury and you will be left feeling completely overwhelmed. So start off slow – decrease your mileage, speed, time and intensity. And most importantly always listen to your body; it will tell you if it’s too much, too soon.
Build a Foundation
Hold off on speed and interval training for now and instead focus on improving your cardiovascular endurance. Your training should consist of easy aerobic runs for the first 4-6 weeks, depending on how long your running hiatus was. Progress the intensity of your runs (speed OR duration) by no more than 10% per week to minimize the risk of injury.
Schedule Your Runs
Getting back into the habit of running can be difficult. Make a commitment to yourself and schedule your runs into your day like any other important meeting. Running first thing in the morning tends to work best as less things come up (work, traffic, family commitments) to distract you from your run. And remember it takes 21 consecutive days of doing something to make it a habit. So be patient and consistent.
Find things to keep you motivated. New gear, a massage or a new smart watch can sometimes be just the motivation you need to get started and to keep going. Don’t let your training become a chore, keep it fun and remember to reward yourself for your hard work.
Setting realistic goal gives your training purpose and helps keep you motivated even when you would rather skip a run. A goal needs to be measurable and have a deadline. Maybe you want to try a new distance, or aim for a new PB, whatever your goals are write them down and post them where you can see them for a daily dose of inspiration.