It’s one thing to set a New Year’s resolution to run more or get in shape for a spring half marathon, for example. But it’s quite another to follow through. After all, after just one week your chances of follow-through drop nearly 25 percent. By a month out from New Year’s Day, you’re looking at a little over a 50 percent success rate. It makes sense; Winter is cold, the days are short, and the nights are long and dark. Who wouldn’t get tired of snot icicles and headlamps at 5 p.m.? We get it; it’s fine.
So, if you made a New Year’s goal to run more, and you’ve fallen off your ambitious regiment, it’s OK because spring is here. And spring is the very best time to start a new running program. Here’s why:
Daylight Savings Time kicked in a couple of weeks ago (the second Sunday in March … unless you live in Arizona). So by now—the official first day of Spring—you’ve had a couple of weeks to adjust to longer daylight hours. While the mornings are still relatively dark this early in the season, your post-work run time has stretched dramatically. It’s now possible to head out for an hour at 6 p.m. and not get stuck in the dark.
That’s because culturally (and historically), spring—and particularly the spring equinox—represents new beginnings. And the energy is contagious. If you’re feeling a “spring” in your step, running might be the perfect way to channel it.
As the weather warms and more people opt outside, it’s easier to find a running partner or a group. This is good news for motivation, too. That’s because people who work together in groups tend to stick to challenging tasks for longer periods of time. Dreading the Saturday long run on your schedule? Running with others will not only make the miles fly by, but you’ll also probably run them better, too.
Maybe you’re aiming to run your first half marathon—or even full marathon—this fall. Lacing up for some base miles this spring is the perfect kick-start to a well-rounded training program that’ll have you in your best shape come September when your favorite half and full marathons take off.
Spring is a beautiful season through which to run. Like fall, spring is brimming with a rainbow of colors and intoxicating smells to motivate you through even the toughest workout (er, unless you have unmanageable allergies. Then, well, you’re out of luck).
During the winter months, the sun sits at such an angle in many parts of the northern hemisphere, that it’s hard to actually absorb Vitamin D at all (and in some places impossible). As the days grow longer and the sun has more time high in the sky, your ability to absorb Vitamin D increases. (Warning: be sure to still wear sunscreen for skin cancer protection).
It’s not just reserved for youngsters and speedsters anymore; there are a handful of open and club meets—or even weekly speed sessions—to attend in the spring. Unlike road races, though, track events are often hard to find. If you’re interested in busting some rust around the oval, check with your local Fleet Feet for a calendar of events.
Oppressive summer humidity often makes it hard for your body to cool off because there’s too much moisture in the air for your sweat to evaporate. So, it just stays put (oh, think about all the summer running we have to look forward to!). That’s why you often run your best in fall and spring when moisture in the air is often lower. Plus, spring’s mild temps serve as a good transition into the dog days of summer. And trust us, you’re going to want a solid training base before summer hits. It’ll make the heat much easier to bear.
A 2013 Japanese study revealed that exercising in the rain often led exercisers to work harder and feel cleaner. Interesting combo, but hey. Spring showers help the world grow flowers … and maybe your weekly mileage. Plus, we guarantee you that you’ll feel a resounding sense of accomplishment after enduring any number of sloppy, rain-soaked miles.
Comfort food and dreary winter days go hand in hand and often make it harder to consume light, whole-food meals that pack nutrition without the weight. The spring growing season on the other hand sprouts lighter fare—salad and grilled salmon, anyone?—that’s guaranteed to support your new running routine.