Spring in Toronto is always a toss-up. While the end of March marks the beginning of spring, we don’t always feel the warmth of the season until May. But with the longer daylight hours and promise of warmer temperatures, many runners come out of their winter hibernation and get back into the spring of things. This is why I thought it’d be worthwhile to add a couple of seasonal running tips for spring to keep in mind before going the distance.
Read on as we delve into 5 quick running tips for spring!
1. Keep Your Allergies in Check
When we think of spring, we think of brighter, warmer days ahead, and nature beginning to do its thing – regenerating, growing and blooming after another long, cold winter. And with the growth of flowers, trees, and weeds, so too does pollen. This is something I always fail to remember before heading out for a run in the spring. I’ll lace up as usual and head out the door for a casual run only to realize 15 minutes in that my eyes are itchy and red, and my congested sinuses are distracting me from focusing on the run. Luckily this can all be avoided by an over-the-counter allergy medication.
2. Expect the Unexpected – Dressing for Spring Weather
Spring weather is unpredictable. Warm sun, cold winds, rain and sometimes even snow can unexpectedly become part of any weekly forecast – especially during the early months of spring. Do your best to plan ahead of time by checking the hourly forecast so you don’t end up caught in the rain in shorts, or overdressed for an unexpectedly warm spring day.
3. Work on Strengthening Your Legs
If you’re starting to get back into your running routine for the spring, one way you can avoid issues like shin splints and other nuisances is to also dedicate time to cross-training and strengthening your legs. Running outside is more stressful on the body than running on a treadmill indoors. Calf raises, squats, and balancing exercises can better prepare your body for the impact of taking your runs outside.
4. Build Distance Slowly
If you’re just getting back into running in the spring, after taking a few months off – it’s best recommended to build the distance back slowly. The distance your body was accustomed to back in the fall might not be the same after a 7-month winter hiatus. Building up the distance too quickly could expose you to an overuse injury which would mean you’d have to wait even longer to enjoy prime running weather. A general rule of thumb is to increase your weekly mileage by increments of 10-15%.
5. Take Stock of Your Running Shoes
Take a good look at your running shoes. How many kilometres have you clocked on your shoes? Are the treads worn out? Are you experiencing new aches and pains during or after your runs? While all running shoes go through wear and tear differently, experts recommend replacing your running shoes after approximately 500-700 kilometres. Spring is the perfect time to take stock of your running shoes to gauge their approximate lifespan. If you’re training for a later summer or autumn race event, you’ll have a better idea of where your shoes will be before you get there and if/when you should replace them in advance.