Running into Spring

Winter is finally ending and while we're sad to see it go, we're excited to have all of the great activity that the summer will bring. However, for a lot of people, it can be difficult to "get going" when the snow starts to melt. This can be for a couple of reasons. Firstly, it's easy to get a little out of shape in the winter. While there's plenty to do outside, cold temperatures and short days can keep you inside more often than you'd like leading to worse health. Second, late winter/ early spring weather isn't always the nicest. The ground is covered in mud and melting snow and the temperature can vary greatly. What's needed to combat these two problems is a nice easy activity that can be done in most weathers but isn't too hard on the body.

This brings us to jogging.

While it may seem obvious, running outside is a fun and easy exercise that's great for your heart and will get you back into summer shape in no time. Nonetheless, many people have tried and failed to start or maintain a consistent jogging routine. This is because, although it's a relatively simple activity, there are many aspects to running that people don't think about to improve their running experience. With this in mind, here are some great jogging tips to get you off the couch and running into summer.

1) Walk/Run Approach

When joggers first start out, they often feel like if they don't run the entire time that they have failed in some way. This should not be the case! When starting out do alternate between walking and running throughout your trip. As you get more comfortable you can try to extend your jogging time. Just be patient and keep in mind what your body is capable of.

2) Remember to Rest

Running (or any type of workout) is a strain on your body so you need to give your body time to recover. Especially in the beginning, your body needs time to get used to the new type of activity that you are doing. When you are starting out a good rule of thumb is always have one full day of rest in between runs.

3) Find the Right Music

For many people music helps make their runs more fun. However, it can be a bummer when you are running the last mile trying to best your time only to have a sappy break-up song whine through your earphones. Take some time before your run and create your own playlist with music that you like. The time you spend on your music will keep you entertained and motivated for the hours of running in the future.

4) Fuel Up

It's important to keep proper nutrition all the time, but especially when you take up running. Remember to stay hydrated before and after your run. Timing your food intake will also help with your running. Try not to eat 1.5 hours before your run to avoid side cramps. Conversely, try to eat something 30-45 minutes after your run to refuel your body. Low fat chocolate milk is great for refueling as it has the perfect carbs to protein ratio your body needs for repair.

5) Stay Motivated

The number one reason runners stop running is a lack of motivation. You need to plan out a way to stay motivated enough to continue past the first couple of weeks. This could take the form of a progress journal, support from a loved one, or keeping your mind on all of the benefits of jogging. One easy way to keep motivated is making your run part of your routine. If you plan out certain times to run, rather than running whenever you feel like it, it'll take less motivation to go out since you've already set aside time to do it.

Jogging can be a great form of activity for this time of year. Use these tips to get yourself back in shape and ready for the warmer weather. Soon you'll be all set for any other activity you feel like trying once the summer gets going.

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(Centre Wellington),

Ontario, Canada