It’s still cold outside but spring will be here before we know it. With spring comes warmer and longer days which allows us to get outside and be more active.
But once spring hits, will you be ready for an increase in activity? Right now, your workout might include running, strength training and biking indoors. But does your routine change during the warmer months? Do you do those activities more often or go for a longer duration when it’s nice outside?
A common thing I see with runners is that they go a little overboard on the first warm spring day. It’s easy to get excited about running outside in just shorts and a t-shirt after five or six months of bundling up. The cardinal mistake is going farther and faster than what you’ve been running. The body can typically handle a bit of overload but will start to let you know about it after a few days. The same can be said about cycling and yard work. We all have a story of someone who got five yards of mulch in their driveway and moved it all in one weekend – but then couldn’t move come Monday.
To be prepared for more physical activity when spring arrives, you need to start getting ready for it now. If you are a walker, runner or cyclist, have an idea of what type of shape you would like to be in once the days are warmer and longer. Then create a plan that slowly progresses your current fitness level to your outdoor level. The same can be said for outdoor chores like moving mulch, planting a garden or pruning trees. These are not necessarily movements that can be replicated in the weight room but improving your strength will help you with these activities. It may be helpful to think about additional work you did the past few springs. Knowing this info will help you create a plan now to get to where you need to be later.
The key is constant progression, moderation and listening to your body. Right now, take care of progressing your exercises and strength training so you are prepared to do more once spring arrives. When spring hits and you’re doing more, remember that it’s okay to take a little break from your work or workout and resume once you feel recovered. Lastly, always listen to your body when it is talking to you so that you don’t eventually have it screaming at you.
Following these simple tips will help you be more prepared for spring. When in doubt, talk to a professional that can offer sound advice on training and progressions.
Running Coach, CSCS, CES
Nate is a running coach and strength coach at Bellin Health and specializes in running assessments, strength training and personalized running programs. For more information contact Nathan.Vandervest@bellin.org