While running is a sport that you can do anywhere, at any time, many runners limit their running only to the time of year when the weather is warm and pleasant. Considering the radically changing weather patterns of today’s world, this may present only a small window of opportunity for you to get outside for a run. That being said, even without long spells of nasty weather where you live, limiting running only to the days with perfect weather is, well – limiting! With the arrival of summer in the northern hemisphere, now is a great time to reboot your running.
The first thing you need to do to reboot your running is consistency. If you have only been hitting the treadmill once or twice a week during the winter and spring, then your running fitness level is most likely not what it needs to be to truly be ready for those 5K and 10K races that take place almost every weekend. By setting the goal and following through with getting outside - or on the treadmill, if necessary - at least four to five times each week, you should see improvement in a relatively short time.
One of the biggest problems that may happen once you increase the number of days per week that you run, is muscle soreness. This is more likely to happen to runners in their mid-twenties up to 40 years old who were once athletes in high school or college who thought nothing of going out for a hard six-mile run or session of heavy weight lifting in the gym. Now that it has been a number of years since those glory days, however, your body may not be as fine-tuned and ready for a hard effort of running – at least not right away. The key here is to slowly and progressively build your body’s running fitness back up to the level you would like.
There are a couple things you can do to successfully accomplish your summer time reboot:
- While running at its most basic is a natural solo effort, it helps to find others to run with. Literally, almost every city in North America, if not the entire world, has some form of running club. For instance, there’s the Steel City Road Runners in the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania area. When you join your local running club, not only do you receive coaching and a training plan, but there are usually experienced runners whose knowledge you can tap into to learn how to train and run better.
An added bonus of joining your local running club is that you make many new friends, many of which turn into life-long running buddies. Also, knowing that there is a set weekly time when the group meets adds a sense of accountability on your part, knowing that you need to show up to get your miles in with the group.
The best part about joining your local running club is that it’s fun! I cannot tell you the number of times over the years I have heard a newbie runner say, “I really don’t like to run, but I know I have to stay in shape.” However, once they start running on a regular basis with other people, that same person who didn’t like to run is now the one who never misses a group run.
- Another key element in rebooting your summer running is finding the right training plan. Again, most running clubs offer you some form of training, but even in the small club I coach in my hometown, many of my runners choose to download a training plan that best suits them and their running goals. The number of running websites that offer training plans is copious, but perhaps one of the best examples is Runner’s World, which offers tons of awesome training plans and workouts.
My all-time favorite reference to find your perfect training plan is Hal Higdon, a long-time contributing writer to Runner’s World and author of 34 books on running. Without exaggerating, Higdon’s half and full marathon training plans just may be the most popular in America. In fact, the training plans that I write for my running club are based off of his plans. You can find Hal Higdon’s training plans online.
- The final element to help with your running reboot, and to keep you running on a regular basis, is to set a goal race, preferably a half marathon or full marathon. Actually, make that two goal races – one in the spring and one in the fall - to keep you focused throughout the year. This happens because, not only did you shell out the money for the registration fee, but you now understand that you are simply not going to see the finish line of your goal races unless you train consistently.
Take these running reboot suggestions of mine to heart. Buy some running gear that will get you through those zero degree days in January AND the 85 degree days in July. As you’ve heard them say in those old war movies, “Damn the torpedoes! Full speed ahead!” Now you can re-phrase it and say, “Damn the weather! Full speed ahead!”