Birds chirping, temperatures warming, flowers poking their heads above the soil: for the average person, those are all signals that spring is here and summer is right behind it. But to an event professional that runs, they’re also signals that the event season is slowing and it’s time to stretch the legs, up the mileage, and get back into warm weather running shape! Here are a few tips on how to get ready for, and make the best use of that burst of summer energy:
CHECK YOUR GEAR
Most running shoes lose their shock absorption — that is, the ability to protect your feet after 300 to 500 miles of use. Remember, it’s much cheaper to replace your shoes than fix injured feet. Therefore, if you’re not sure that last year’s shoes are still up to the job, go ahead and buy new ones. And if you weren’t keeping a mileage log last year, now’s the perfect time to start.
REBUILD YOUR RUNNING HABIT
Like all healthy habits, running is best for you when you’re consistent. Seize the chance to map out a plan of action for May through September with your running buddy: What days and what times will you run? You can dive down into sprint days, drill days and long days later, but for at least the first three weeks you should focus on rebuilding your base with relaxed runs; start with whatever mileage you’re comfortable with now, then increase your miles no more than 5 to 10 percent each week.
FUEL YOUR BODY
If you really want to get the most out of your running miles, it’s time to start eating like an athlete again. Stock your refrigerator and pantry with nutritious ‘grab and go’ foods like apples with nut butter, pre-sliced veggies with hummus, lean proteins and healthy fats. You and your running partner can also encourage each other to stay hydrated and lock into a regular sleep schedule. All three practices will help your body be at its strongest and most efficient when you run.
MAKE A PLAN
Here’s one last tip that’ll help you and your running partner stay on track all season long: Set a specific goal, then break it down into measurable intermediate goals! Some examples include training for a marathon or half-marathon, working up to a trail run on a tantalizing mountain peak, or beating your own personal record for speed or distance.