Spring Tune-Up: Breaking the Hibernation

By Jenny Hadfield • For Active.com

Has your running gone into hibernation this winter? Have no fear, the promise of warm weather is right around the corner. Now is the perfect time for a spring tune up. Follow these quick fixes and get your running back on track for the summer.

Start with where you’re at, rather than where you want to be. Your body will progress more quickly and with less risk for injury if you match your running program with your current activity level. In other words, if you’ve been running on and off one to two times per week for 30 minutes, your running regimen should start with easy paced 30-minute runs two to three times per week on alternate days and progress gradually from there. 

Identify a “Carrot”: Setting a goal or two puts action into your running and purpose into your training. Be wise when goal setting as goals that are too lofty don’t stick and can be overwhelming. Go with a realistic goal you know you can achieve this spring and one that will serve as a “carrot” to keep you motivated week to week. Then break your goal into a few smaller, more digestible pieces (check points) throughout the season. 

Build the foundation first. Every home is built with a strong foundation to withstand any weather condition. And a strong foundation in fitness is no different. Now is the time to build a strong foundation of easy, aerobic running (cycling and swimming if you are a triathlete). When you reach the summer, you will be ready to take it to the next level and fine tune with speed, stamina and skill training. Running easy and building your base now is an investment in the summer and one that will pay off in personal records and achievements. 

Get Motivated. If you struggle with the motivation in keeping going treat yourself to a massage or special gift when you reach a goal. It's a great way to stay motivated and celebrate reaching the next checkpoint. 

Post your mini and major goals somewhere you can see them daily. Or better yet, get your friends involved and meet to run or workout together. There is nothing better for motivation than a little accountability or someone waiting for you on the trail. You will get up and go because you know they are waiting for you! 

Something is better than nothing. If time is not on your side, combine your strength workouts with short intervals of cardiovascular exercise. You will get the best of both in a very short period of time. One of my favorite workout starts with five minutes of easy running then alternates a strength exercise like walking lunges with two to three minutes of cycling or running. Include a four to six circuits with a variety of multi-functional strength exercises and top it off with a cool down. It’s a flexible workout that can be done indoors or outside and you’ll be done in an efficient hour.

Rome wasn’t built…Try to avoid thinking about where you were then and focus on now. The more patient you are run to run, the more gradual you progress, the faster you will get to where you want to go. Plus, you will enjoy every run which will inspire you to keep it up!

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