Spring is a good time to get your motivation back after the winter months. Running in spring allows you to make the most of the extra sunshine. So lace up your shoes, and head outside to run.
Running in the spring has many health benefits. As the weather gets warmer and there is more sunshine, running outside can boost your body’s levels of vitamin D. Running also allows your body to release powerful hormones that improve your mood and combat depression. A 2011 study shows that exercise with moderate sunlight exposure, which includes running, can combat depression.
After months of layering up and slipping around in the snow on your winter runs, you can take advantage of your winter training to set mileage goals for spring. Use the warm weather and extra hours of sunshine to keep you motivated to achieve your running goals, such as by setting a new after-work running habit. The scenery is constantly changing in spring, so this season is a great time to try new trails, or rediscover your favourite park.
1. Set a Goal
Spring is one of the best times to work towards running goals. Since the weather is less hot and the days are longer, you can use this time to build your endurance. Try adding more hills into your runs as a way to help build your endurance and challenge yourself.
Set a particular distance that you want to work towards, such as a 5k or 10k. Setting a distance goal will help to keep you motivated, as the goal is measurable and you will be able to feel yourself improving as you reach your goal distance. Always remember to work towards a running goal that is realistic. Signing up for a race is another great goal to set, as this gives you a distance and date to work towards.
2. Take Advantage of the Extra Daylight
Running in spring means that you can take advantage of the extra daylight by running earlier in the mornings, or later in the evenings. There are major benefits to working out in the morning, so if part of you has always wanted to be an early morning runner, have a go at waking up earlier to head out on your run. You can also use the longer days to increase your mileage. Running further from home will give you the opportunity to discover new running routes, or run longer trails.
3. Update Your Spring Running Wardrobe
The warmer weather and extra sunshine that spring brings means you can break out of the layers you wear when running in the winter, and move into some lighter clothes. Clothing essentials for running in spring include:
- Moisture-wicking socks, to help prevent blisters
- Shorts, made from lightweight, water-resistant material to keep you cool
- Tank tops, made from thin, ultra-wicking fabric
- A running headband, to absorb sweat and sunscreen, preventing it from running into your eyes
- A lightweight running belt, to hold your phone, keys, etc. (for example Flipbelt, available on Amazon**).
When you are shopping for your spring running wardrobe, shop for clothes made from sustainable fabrics, like Modal fabric, buy lightly used, second hand clothing, or re-use old t-shirts for running. This helps reduce your carbon footprint while enjoying nature.
4. Include a Warm Up and Cool Down in Your Spring Running Routine
Add a warm up and cool down to your runs to spend more time outdoors in the fresh air. The warmer temperatures of spring mean you no longer have to minimise the time you spend outside in the freezing cold like you do in the winter months. Having an effective warm up and cool down routine to stretch your muscles before and after your run will help to improve your mobility, while decreasing the risk of injury.
Pair your running session with strength training to support the key running muscles. This will train your body to run at the same pace while using slightly less energy. Some ideas of strength training exercises to incorporate into your running sessions include squats, planks and sit ups.
5. Fuelling for Longer Runs in Spring
Fuel your spring runs by making packable homemade treats, such as granola bars. When buying ingredients for your snacks, shop sustainably by using local and in-season ingredients. Making your own homemade granola bars will save you money and time, and they are healthier for you than shop bought bars as they contain natural sugars from the dried fruits, compared to shop bought bars that contain processed sugar.
Try making these healthy 3 ingredient energy bars, to give you lots of energy on your runs. Made from dry fruits and nuts, you can experiment with the ingredients you add based on what is available to you locally, and what fruits are in season.
6. Wear Sunscreen to Protect Your Skin Whilst Running in Spring
Face sunscreen should be worn all year round, but it is particularly important to remember to wear it when you are running in the spring as you can often be in direct sunlight and the suns rays are stronger. Also, make sure to put on some SPF lip balm before you head out on your run too.
Sustainable sunscreens are available to buy on Amazon**. When shopping for sunscreen, it is important to make sure that it is biodegradable and reef-safe. Look for a sunscreen that uses non-toxic ingredients such as zinc oxide and titanium dioxide that don’t linger in the ocean and harm marine life.
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