Running in the Spring? Pay attention to these 5 TIPS!
The flowers are blooming, birds singing, the weather is warming up... and to runners: the best time of the year to run again. If you're an avid runner, you may have been running all throughout winter (kudos to you!). No matter, there's no denying that Spring brings about a more positive mood, thus improving our runs.
However, Spring running also varies from person to person, and there are some obstacles you may need to take into consideration. That's why today we want to share with you some pointers for Spring running;
1. Best time for running in the Spring: 4-5pm
Spring is the connecting season from winter to summer, which is why there's generally a large temperature difference between morning and evening. If you run too early in the morning, the cooler weather may result in catching a cold. In addition to this, the air contains higher levels of pollutants in the early mornings vs afternoon/evening. Therefore if you live in the city, and want to go run in the mornings, try avoiding very early mornings.
The most optimal time to run in the spring is between 4-5pm. At this time, the air quality & oxygen levels are ideal, you've had a chance for proper fuel via breakfast and lunch, and normally by this time, your muscles have been activated sufficiently. All this translates to ideal circumstances for running.
Of course, if you prefer morning runs, then stick to what works for you. Optimally, you should eat a light snack 30 minutes before your run to help with digestion and replenish your energy. We would avoid running on an empty stomach (unless you've been doing this for a while now).
Other runners, on the other hand, have a habit of running in the evening. If you're only able to run in the evenings, try sticking to between 7-8pm. Once you've gotten accustomed to your running intensity, running in the evenings can actually help with sleeping better at night. Ideally, you should finish your run at least 2 hours before going to sleep.
2. Prepare for changes in weather & pollen allergies
Although the climate is slowly getting warmer, you may experience sudden drops in temperature. That's why it's important to pay attention to what time you go run, and layer up if needed. Also be prepared for the occasional spring shower mid-run.
With the warmth and sunshine, flowers start blooming and with this, comes pollen. Pollen allergies can cause nasal congestion, a runny nose, eye discomfort, and other symptoms, which are uncomfortable on their own, let alone during running. If you are a runner with pollen allergies, try avoiding outdoor running during the peak pollen season, or avoid running outside in the morning and noon when the pollen is the strongest. Similarly, dry and windy weather is not ideal for runners with hay fever.
3. Maintain a moderate running intensity
If you're waking up from your winter (running) hibernation, make sure to slowly adjust your intensity and mileage. A sudden increase in the amount of exercise can cause injuries to the hamstrings, ankles and more.
Normally, the running frequency is 2-4 times a week. For runners who haven't been running regularly throughout the winter, it's recommended to start with a lower intensity. It is best to start with 30 minute slow runs to give the body some time for adjusting. Once you've been running for a few times, you can gradually extend your running time to about 40 minutes. As long as your physical condition and physical strength can adapt to the actual running time, you won't have any major problems. Gradually extend the running time and increase the running speed.
If you're running outdoors, make sure to also pay attention to your breathing. At the warmup stage, the body's demand for oxygen is fairly minimal, so you can easily fulfill the oxygen needs by breathing through your nose. With distance and increase intensity, the body's demand for oxygen will greatly increase. At this stage, breathing only through your nose won't meet the needs of oxygen intake, and this may cause respiratory muscle fatigue. Therefore, be mindful of breathing through your nose and mouth to increase the supply of oxygen and relieve the tension of the respiratory muscles.
4. Stretch & Replenish
Before running, you should do a dynamic stretching routine to warm up your joints and muscles. This will help to avoid sports injuries, and improve running performance. You also need to stretch post-run, as your muscles are prone to soreness. Stretching after a run can effectively reduce this soreness.
In spring, the climate is normally drier, so you'll quickly notice feeling thirsty. During running, you sweat more and lose water quickly. That's why it's crucial to stay hydrated by drinking enough water, and sugar, salt or electrolytes where needed.
As a rule of thumb, if you're running a short run of under 30 minutes, you won’t need to carry water with you, just make sure to drink water post-run. If you're running over 40 minutes or so, it’s best to bring water with you, so you can stay hydrated throughout your run. If you don't hydrate your body through a long run, you expose yourself to the risk of dehydration.
5. Choose warm & breathable gear
The weather and temperate is very tempting at this time of the year. It still feels cooler during the mornings and evenings, but after running for a while, you'll warm up and even sweat.
In terms of choosing what to wear, try choosing clothes that promote warmth and are windproof. We recommend wearing a t-shirt, with a light long-sleeved jacket, paired with light pants or compression pants. Choose breathable, sweat-wicking and quick-drying functional materials. Once you start getting warmer, you can easily tie your jacket around your waist. You can then wear it again at any time you start feeling chilly; to avoid catching a cold.
Is Spring your favorite season to run? Comment below!