Your Complete Guide to Spring Running Season
By RACHEL GRICE
Spring has sprung, so it's time to break out the running shoes and head outside. The last of the winter frost is melting away (thank goodness!), and running in the warmer spring days is the perfect solution to your cabin fever.
But if you’ve been in hibernation for most of the colder months (we get it, the fireplace is so much more inviting than the snow), you may need a little help getting back on track (or treadmill or trail). Enter: The LIVESTRONG.COM Spring Running Guide.
Step 1: Get Motivated!
Don't think you like running? Here are 10 reasons to give it a try. Or maybe you love running, but you traded in your running shoes for hot cocoa and a good book over the winter. Here are helpful tips to get you running again from Amanda Russell, runner and founder of FitStrongandSexy.com.
Still not convinced? Here's some motivation from professional trainers and coaches, as well as what science has to say about why you should run. Or maybe you’re more inspired by celebrities who run. And OK, we understand getting out there is only half the battle, so we've put together an adrenaline-pumping playlist you should listen to while you're running.
Read more: Motivation: “I Run to Add Life to My Days”
Step 2: Start Strong (and Safe)
If you're a newbie to running, first of all, welcome! Second, you'll want to read through this slideshow on how to get started running. Next, you'll want to figure out a goal that's easy enough not to intimidate you, but will be challenging enough so that you see results.
Our editor-in-chief, Jess Barron, issued a five-minute-a-day challenge based on research that says that's all it takes to increase your life expectancy! Or you can start with this Couch-to-5k Plan. Whatever your plan of attack is, make sure you stay safe while running.
Step 3: Read Up Before You Lace Up
Whether you're new to running or a seasoned veteran, there's still a lot you can learn. Maybe you need to brush up on injury-prevention techniques or remind yourself of the importance of stretching (and which stretches to do before a run).
And you might be surprised by some of these common running myths and the truth behind them. Do you know which is better: running on a treadmill or running outdoors? We have the answer! We also have 12 running mistakes you could be making and advice on running better from Boston marathon finishers.
Read more: 20 Essential Checks to Help You Run Faster
Step 4: Set a Goal Race
Are you the competitive type? Or do you need some more motivation to run consistently? One sure-fire way to help you stick with it is to sign up for a race (or join the LIVESTRONG.COM Running Challenge). Once you have that date on your calendar and the entry fees paid, you're much more likely to go through with it.
But which race to run? You could sign up for a charity race, commit to a crazy endurance challenge, find a unique race in your hometown or go the distance in a full marathon. Or grab a friend or significant other and sign up for a couples’ race. Your friend could even be your faithful canine companion.
Your options are nearly limitless. Just remember these tips for looking your best in race-day photos when the big day comes.
Read more: How to Train for Your First Big Race
Step 5: Don't Forget Strength and Sprint Training
Running is a great way to promote cardiovascular health and aerobic endurance, but don't stop there. Strength training in addition to your running workouts reduces your risk of injury and builds the muscles that help you run faster and longer.
Try out these five moves from trainer Shay Kostabi or this full-length workout from trainer Jessica Smith. You can also try incorporating sprinting into your routine. There are a number of benefits to sprint training, and we've put together a six-week training plan for you.
Readers — Why do you run? Where's your favorite place to run? Do you have any favorite running gear? How do you stretch and strength train? Share your running stories, comments, suggestions and questions in the comments below!
Read more: 26 of the Best Places to Run in the World
Rachel Grice is an editor for Livestrong.com and certified yoga instructor who loves running on the beach, watching USC Trojan football and drinking red wine. Previously, she worked for Men's Health, FitPregnancy and People. Read more about her running adventures at thesoleofarunner.com.