Spring is a great time to get started – here’s what you need to know
Are you joining us for the Windsor Half Marathon in September? Now is a great time to get started with your training – daylight hours are longer, temperatures are starting to climb, and the outside world looks altogether more inviting!
Here’s how to get started with springtime running so you make it to the start line happy, healthy, and injury-free. See you in September!
#1 Indoor prep work
If you’ve been running on a treadmill over the Winter, you’ll need to do some transition work to the great outdoors. Running outside (especially on varied terrain) puts a lot more demand through your muscles and stabilisers. On a treadmill, you don’t have a headwind, hills, or any corners to turn. Do transition work on the treadmill by increasing the incline and playing around with speed work like sprints and HIIT. You should also do some basic strength work on your hips and calves to prepare for the extra work of outdoor running (calf raises, glute bridges, and bodyweight squats are a good idea).
#2 Solo or running buddies?
Running indoors is usually done alone, but what about your outdoor training? Will you be running alone, or with a training partner – or even in a group or club? Start thinking about that now. If you plan to run solo, seek out safe routes. If you fancy joining a club, starting looking around now to find one which caters for your needs. The benefits of running with a club include coaching, advice, and organised runs (so you don’t need to think up a route!) But of course running solo, or with a like-minded training partner, gives you more flexibility.
#3 Get a training plan
Whether you’re joining us in September, or doing another race earlier in the year, you’ll need a training plan. Make sure your training plan lasts at least 12 weeks and includes a period of base work to build fitness. The bulk of the plan should include long runs, recovery runs, and speed work.
#4 Build up the miles
You need to build up the miles gradually throughout your training plan. This goes both for your weekly long runs, and your total weekly mileage. Building up slowly will guard against injury, allowing your muscles and connective tissue to strengthen with the increased distance. Increase your total weekly mileage by no more than 10% a week.
#5 Dress for the weather
This time of year can be unpredictable. Chilly weather, rain, wind, and warm days make it difficult to plan your running gear. Make sure you have base layers, long sleeves and long leggings, gloves, and thin hats to see you through the spring weather.
#6 Need new shoes?
If you’ve been running indoors for months, or if you’re new to running outdoors, then you should go shoe shopping. Outdoor running needs proper running shoes. That means shoes that are suitable to the kind of terrain you’ll be running on (pavements, trails, grass?) and that give you the support and cushioning you need. If you can, buy two pairs so you can rotate them. You’ll need to change your shoes every 350-500 miles.
#7 Plan your routes
One of the main pleasures of running outside is the variety of routes. Make the most of your local area, designing routes that take in different terrains, environments, and views. Try to run on traffic-free routes if you can (the fresh air and lack of pollution is great for your health). Use hills and inclines to boost your running strength and fitness. Flatter terrain can be used to train for speed.