For running enthusiasts in Minnesota, the second our streets become clear of snow and ice, they are ready to lace up their running shoes and hit the pavement. But if you haven’t run outside since the arrival of our harsh winter, you should follow these steps to avoid injury and make the most of your outdoor running adventures!
Start at a Reasonable Pace
Running on treadmills in a controlled environment is different than running outdoors. “When you head outside, there are a lot of variables— weather, wind, elevation, and surface type just to name a few” (Women’s Running). Give your body time to adapt to these new variables and know that it might take a little time to get up to your treadmill pace.
Diversify Your Training
It’s important to build your strength in a variety of ways, so maintaining a strength training plan will help make running outside a lot easier on your body. “Most runners don’t like to strength train, and lack the requisite strength in their legs to run outside so often because it’s such a repetitive motion with a lot of ground reaction forces… You definitely need to develop some base strength” (Runners World). Allowing time for your bones and body to recover between outdoor runs is also a great idea to avoid injuries such as shin splits.
Take Walk Breaks
When first starting your outdoor running routine, you might be too stubborn and deny yourself walk breaks when you need them. “A walk break does not mean you failed your run. On the contrary, it could help you run longer. Inserting one or several 30-second to one minute walks into the middle of your run can extend your workout and allow you feel stronger” (Women’s Running). Walking helps you to build endurance and will increase the distance you are able to run, so give yourself a break!
Sign Up for a Race
Whether it’s a 5k or a marathon, signing up for a race can provide a lot of motivation for sticking to your running schedule and increasing intensity. You don’t want to sign up for a race that you can’t finish, so pick your distance and map out a route near your home that covers the same or more miles. You will be stronger and running faster in no time!
We hope these tips help you feel more prepared to get back to outdoor running. There really is nothing like it for those of us who enjoy it, so make the most of our warm months with smart training and plenty of recovery time!