Happy Spring!!! This Tuesday brings the first day of spring and really I couldn’t be happier. We had a mild winter which made marathon training a dream but that doesn’t mean I love spring any less this year. I love ballet flats, cute dresses, trench coats, sunny days and cool nights, the first meals of the season on the grill, the spring flowers…all of it really! And check out this week’s forecast for Boston…
Can we say awesome?! With the onset of spring and the longer, warmer days I have certainly taken note of all the runners out. Just a few weeks ago I was the only one on the running path in the cold and dark but now it’s packed with people. Maybe your goal is to just run 3 days a week or to PR your next 5K or to run the Boston Marathon. Here are some tips to help you accomplish your spring running goals…
Set Realistic Goals.
I love goals! I set them monthly so I stay focused on the things that matter most to me. If you are new to running set a goal to get out and run twice a week. Set another goal to run your first 5K in June or July. If you’re a seasoned runner your goal maybe be to do one track workout or a tempo workout per week. You may aim to run your first marathon or half-marathon in the early fall so set goals to build your mileage until then.
Get a Plan.
There are tons of plans out on the web. Runner’s World has the Smart Coach system where you are able to set goals, and it maps it out for you. If you get sick or miss a few days you can mark those days as missed and the plan will automatically adjust for you! For the new runner look for a couch to 5K plan. Lots of runners have had great success with that. For the more advanced runner there are specific plans on Runner’s World to help you meet your time goal. Hal Higdon has plans for free on his website, but I tend to think they have too many miles each week. With your plan look at the structure so that even when your race is over you can keep running and improve. Each week you should try to have a longer run on Saturday or Sunday, a shorter recovery run early in the week and a speed or tempo workout on Wednesday or Thursday. Be sure to take rest days! They are vital for your success!
Track Your Progress.
I use the Garmin 405 to track my runs and upload the data to Daily Mile and Garmin Connect. I manually add in my yoga classes, gym workouts and strength workouts. I’m able to run reports to see how my average mile pace is increasing from month to month or track my total miles. I love this watch! The reports encourage me to keep working hard as I see improvement.
Set Run Dates!
Run dates with a friend are great for two reasons. They keep you accountable and they make it FUN! I met one of my friends at the gym, we like to meet up after our workout to go get a healthy meal and catch up. This way we get to the gym, sweat and eat a healthy meal. Another one of my favorites is to meet a friend for a run. You get outside, you get your run in, you get to catch up and you save calories by skipping the meal or drink at a restaurant which is also great for your budget! Running with a partner can challenge you as well, you may run harder or longer than you normally would which in turn can help you accomplish all sorts of running goals!
Find a Running Group!
Michael and I regularly go to a running group on Monday nights. It allows us to kick our week off right, gives us something to look forward to on Monday and we have made some friends that we look forward to seeing each week. Now is a great time to join a group since there will be many new runners! And since we often run with people who are faster than us it really helps build our speed! Most of all, it’s fun!
Run for a Cause!
You all know I’m running the Boston Marathon in April with The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. While you raise money for a great cause, you are given the opportunity to meet some incredible runners and you have constant motivation to keep running. With Team in Training we are given a training plan and every Saturday morning we meet for a distance run. There are volunteers who set up aid stations and encourage you along the way. On Tuesdays we meet and do a track workout at the local high school. You are never running alone and there is lots of motivation! And plenty of accountability!
Run Holiday and Themed Races and Fun Runs!
While you were out for St. Patrick’s Day you probably saw some road races where everyone was dressed in green. In July there are 4th of July Runs where people wear red, white and blue running shorts! For Halloween you see people all dressed up for the race. Sign up for a few of these with some friends, and have fun planning your outfits out and since you know you’ll be racing you’ll be sure to hit the pavement before race day!
As a runner I’m often intrigued by the latest and greatest running gear. The new running shoes, the fancy new tights, the newest Garmin watch, a pretty new shirt at Lululemon are just a few items I lust after. I replace my shoes every 350 miles, so if I really want a new pair I tend to hit the pavement more so I hit the 350-mile mark sooner! I often reward myself with a new race outfit for my upcoming marathon or race as well. However you want to reward yourself, you should! It will keep you motivated and it is an investment in yourself and your health!
These are just a few ways to get you going and running this spring! I honestly love seeing all the runners come out in the spring and it makes me happy to know that I’m part of such a great community of runners!